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It is fitting that on this cloudy day we speak of the gods and goddesses of Rome.

As you may know, the Romans were extremely religious although, many historians argue, they simply sought to keep the gods away in the clouds while they pursued their aims on earth. That may be true, but roman zealousness (studium) was not a blind form of belief. Let us read Seneca, a Stoic philosopher who believed in standing strong (stō + icos)

Sine dīs et deābus in caelō animus nōn potest sānus esse.
Without gods and goddesses in heaven, the soul cannot be whole.
Sin diosas y dioses en el cielo, el alma no puede ser sana.

Seneca, who lived at the turn of our modern era (quite literally, for he and Jesus Christ were alive at the same time – if you conside Jesus a historical figure, of course), was known for his stoicism, not his belief in the gods. However, we must realize that the gods were intrinsically connected to everything, for Romans. Life, death, sleep, walking, standing, could not happen without the favor of the gods. Thus, even to Seneca, who stood strong for himself (the literal meaning of stoicism), the gods were necessary to the enjoyment of a full life.

I am aware that in our modern world the gods may not be such an integral part of life. Often, however, we fail to realize that every human being needs something bigger than himself/herself in order to create meaning for our lives. Whether this space is fulfilled by the gods, a single god, money, love, friendship, or relationships, the power of something bigger than ourselves cannot be denied. Men and women do more when they see more; we look up to our parents, at least in the beginning, because they are bigger than us, we fear and love because those things are greater than we are.

Thus, forget the gods, if you must; but do not forget yourself, reader. We need goals in life, something that, in the end, when things are at their worst, can pull us from the abyss of thought and into the light of action. Be concerned with your version of gods and goddesses, and allow them to work for your own good.

Valete!

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