In this homily, ever ancient and ever new, Augustine takes up the theme of the desire for ideological or spiritual purity which will never be found in any community There is no safe haven, no pure land uncontaminated by dysfunction or otherness.
Augustine begins with this interpretation from the Song of Songs:
As the lily in the midst of thorns, so is my love in the midst of the daughters” (Song 2:2). It does not say, “in the midst of foreign women,” but “in the midst of the daughters.” O Lord, how do you console, how do you comfort, how do you frighten? What are you saying? “Like a lily”in the midst of what thorns? “So is my love” in the midst of which daughters? Are the ones you call “thorns” the daughters themselves? He replies: “‘Thorns’ because of their habits, ‘daughters’ because of my sacraments.” Would that he were groaning in the midst of foreign women; he would groan less. This is the greater groaning: “If an enemy had reviled me, I would indeed have borne with it. And if he who hated me had spoken great things against me, I would indeed have hidden myself from him. … But you, a man of one mind, my guide and my familiar, who took sweet foods with me” (Ps 54(55):13-15).
Read the rest here: Frauds in the Midst of the Church