Our core problem, says St. Augustine, is that the human heart, ignoring God, turns in on itself, tries to lift itself, wants to please itself, and ends up debasing itself. The person who reaches towards God and wants to please God gets, so to speak, stretched by this move, and ennobled by the transcendence of its object. But the person who curves in on himself, who wants God’s gifts without God, who wants to satisfy the desires of a divided heart, ends up sagging and contracting into a little wad. His desires are provincial. “There is something in humanity which, strangely enough, exalts the heart, and something in pride which debases it.”
To do its worst, evil must look its best.
Nothing hides the face of our fellowman more than morality, and nothing hides the face of God more than religion.