Augustine’s Ordo Amoris and Mother Pam

Note: Mother Pam, for those who do not know, is the woman from the eleventh chapter of the C. S. Lewis’ book The Great Divorce. Ordo Amoris is how Augustine describes the relation of things to be loved and things to be used. The correct use of things to be used, and the correct enjoyment of things to be loved as an end for its own sake will lead one to possess ordo amoris.

In the following lines I addressed how Augustine’s principle of ordo amoris could be understood while reading Lewis’ book. I would highly recommend the reading of Ordered Loves in De Doctrina Christiana, from Augustine (which I am giving to you for free at the link), and The Great Divorce (if possible, buy it). I assert so thinking in your own spiritual growth, and in all the benefits that I have experienced from both readings.


“Augustine, in De Doctrine Christiana, defines what ordo amoris (1.27.28) is by explaining the distinction between what is meant to be enjoyed (frui) and used (uti). To have ordo amoris is to love that is meant to be loved (i.e. God the Father, God the Son, and God the God the Holy Spirit) for its own sake. Therewithal, ordo amoris must also be present in the “negative” side of one’s loves, meaning that one ought to use things that are to be used, and not love or to delight in them as an end to the thing itself.
The Ghost who could help us understand what ordo amoris does not look like is Mother Pam, who does not “believe in a God who keeps mother and son apart.”She indeed, loved her son in a manner that, as Augustine describes, was not love, and it “should be termed abuse.” Abuse mainly for she abused what was meant to be used. Her son was not to be loved as an end to itself. If she really had loved her son she would had been in heaven as a solid being with him. Her disordered love led her to forget that nothing is her’s by nature, for Nature draws to an end. 
If, however, we are to look to someone who perfectly knew what ordo amoris is, we have only One option. The God-man who stepped on this earth thousands of years ago not only knew what ordo amoris was, but he was the physical representation of ordo amoris himself. Not only as if his loves were ordered, but because order exists necessarily in him and only contingently in us if we apply it in our lives.”




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