Fr. Lamb on Autobiography

The first essay in Fr Lamb’s book is entitled “Resurrection and Christian Identity as Conversatio Dei.” He has a very interesting comparison of the different modes of according to modern and Christian accounts of the person. The moderns reduce nature to space and time; the Christians see nature as creation and distinguish person from nature.

As a consequence, in modern autobiography “we share our stories neither to share in communion with our brothers or sisters nor to praise the reality of a gracious and compassionate God, but to engage in the competitive self-grounding or self-assertion characteristic of modern secularist contractions of consciousness” to space and time. Resumes, timelines, degrees, achievements —

In Christian autobiography sin and forgiveness are important. But most of all, “the great doctrinal distinction between nature and person indicates how all persons are called into communion and solidarity that far transcends the narrow confines of monadic individualism. For no one can answer the question, “who am I?,” except by narrating all the other persons from whom they were born, with whom they have lived and are living. No one can narrate who he or she is without reference to others whose being and friendship is integral to his or her own personhood. Every autobiography is ipso facto a heterobiography.” (pp 11-12) This is certainly true of the Confessions of St Augustine; I think about how important it is to learn about Monica, Ambrose, Alypius, Victorinus, et al, as we learn the story of the saint..

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