“On the Ruin of Britain” concludes with a description of how good the island of Britain is and how badly its people behave. Much of this is allusive (passing references to Pelagius the heretic, Mount Badon, Aurelius Ambrosianus, etc.). We hear much of the stupidity of King Vortigern (or Gurthtigern) and the guile of the Saxon mercenaries as well. But mostly we hear about how people who live in prosperity and safety tend to forget how their ancestors won it for them.
Yep, it’s a hearty healthy heaping helping of Arthurian primary source goodness and Fatherly admonition, that’s also relevant to today! Enjoy! (Or squirm….)
January 29 was the feastday of St. Gildas the Wise: bishop, early British Christian, and primary source for the days of King Arthur. I don’t think he’s usually counted among the Fathers, but I hereby exercise my power of whim and rampant bias toward Celts by saying he is. So there. Heck, he’s a lot older than that Sassenach Father, the Venerable Bede. (He is too a Father! See Mike Aquilina’s note!)
“On the Ruin of Britain” is the primary source of which we speak. (Though the Lorica Gillas is pretty darned cool also, if I may say so.) Here is part 1, the preface — or as I think of it, the warmup to his epistle of strong criticism of the contemporary British for being lazy, cowardly louts, unlike the men who won at Mount Badon.
The men who won at Mount Badon were the men of Ambrosius Aurelianus and/or King Arthur, which honestly is not all that harsh a criticism, if you think about it…. Especially since it implies they could be that good, if they worked at it.
Against Heresies continues, with more on how Jesus fulfilled and extended the Law, but did not abrogate it. Also, God did not need our obedience; but rather, our obedience to the Law is good for us; and how the Law was changed because people’s hearts were hard and Moses wanted to make it easier for them to keep it.