Reading: Mark 12
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’
29 ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”[ 31 The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.’
32 ‘Well said, teacher,’ the man replied. ‘You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.’
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
Augustine blamed himself for two major faults during his time teaching grammar and rhetoric in Thagaste and Carthage: vanity and his association with the Manichean sect. He tried to understand the processes that led him to make such wrong choices and bad decisions.
"Throughout those nine years, from my nineteenth to my twenty-eighth year, I and others like me were seduced and seducers, deceived ourselves and deceivers of others amid a welter of desires: publicly through the ‘liberal’ arts and secretly under the false name of religion. In the one we were arrogant, in the other superstitious, and in both futile; under the auspices of the former we pursued popular acclaim, theatrical plaudits, song-competitions and the contest for wreaths, we watched trashy shows and indulged our lusts."
Everyone needs to feel understood by others, and everyone wants to display the skills, accomplishments, and the proper application of talents with which he or she has been blessed. There is nothing improper about that. Problems arise when the pursuit of acclaim and success becomes the main goal of our actions, and it is even worse when for the sake of success we apply methods contradicting the Great Commandment to love our neighbours as ourselves.
“We beseech you, Lord, to grant us the ability to feel regret over the mistakes of our lives and to listen attentively to your words, so that through our actions we may deserve the wreaths that never wither away. Amen”