Meditațiile împăratului Marcus Aurelius reprezintă o lectură-cheie pentru cei interesați de studierea contextului în care s-a dezvoltat creștinismul primelor secole. Nu am terminat de citit cartea integral, însă am rămas cu impresia că stoicismul se apropie foarte mult de creștinism în privința moralei.

„Adorn thyself with simplicity and modesty and with indifference towards the things which lie between virtue and vice. Love mankind. Follow God.”

Φαίδρυνον σεαυτὸν ἁπλότητι καὶ αἰδοῖ καὶ τῇ πρὸς τὸ ἀνὰ μέσον ἀρετῆς καὶ κακίας ἀδιαφορίᾳ. φίλησον τὸ ἀνθρώπινον γένος. ἀκολούθησον θεῷ. (VII.31).

Ultimul îndemn din paragraf îmi aduce aminte de îndemnul paulin (Γίνεσθε οὖν μιμηταὶ τοῦ θεοῦ) din Efes. 5:1.

Iată câteva citate în care autorul îi condamnă pe cei care urmăresc plăcerile și care fug de nenorociri:

„Repentance is a kind of self-reproof for having neglected something useful; but that which is good must be something useful, and the perfect good man should look after it. But no such man would ever repent of having refused any sensual pleasure. Pleasure then is neither good nor useful”.

Ἡ μετάνοιά ἐστιν ἐπίληψίς τις ἑαυτοῦ ὡς χρήσιμόν τι παρεικότος: τὸ δὲ χρήσιμον ἀγαθόν τι δεῖ εἶναι καὶ ἐπιμελητέον αὐτοῦ τῷ καλῷ καὶ ἀγαθῷ ἀνδρί: οὐδεὶς δ̓ ἂν καλὸς καὶ ἀγαθὸς ἀνὴρ μετανοήσειεν ἐπὶ τῷ ἡδονήν τινα παρεικέναι: οὔτε ἄρα :χρήσιμον οὔτε ἀγαθὸν ἡδονή (VIII.10).

„And indeed he who pursues pleasure as good, and avoids pain as evil, is guilty of impiety.”

καὶ μὴν ὁ τὰς ἡδονὰς ὡς ἀγαθὰ διώκων, τοὺς δὲ πόνους ὡς κακὰ φεύγων ἀσεβεῖ (X.1).

Mi-au reținut în mod deosebit atenția câteva citate despre cum trebuie să răspundem calomniei, un subiect despre care am mai scris pe blog, dat fiind că păcatul capital al blogosferei evanghelice este proferarea de afirmații calomnioase despre adversari. Simpla etichetare este servită pe post de demonstrație.

„Suppose that men kill thee, cut thee in pieces, curse thee. What then can these things do to prevent thy mind from remaining pure, wise, sober, just? For instance, if a man should stand by a limpid pure spring, and curse it, the spring never ceases sending up potable water; and if he should cast clay into it or filth, it will speedily disperse them and wash them out, and will not be at all polluted. How then shalt thou possess a perpetual fountain [and not a mere well]? By forming thyself hourly to freedom conjoined with contentment, simplicity and modesty” (VIII.51).

„When another blames thee or hates thee, or when men say about thee anything injurious, approach their poor souls, penetrate within, and see what kind of men they are. Thou wilt discover that there is no reason to take any trouble that these men may have this or that opinion about thee. However thou must be well-disposed towards them, for by nature they are friends.” (IX.27).