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Abraham a Sancta Clara

The preacher and writer (1644-1709) was called Johann Ullrich Megerle by his civil name and in 1662 he joined the Augustinian Order in Maria-Brunn Vienna one. In 1668 he was ordained a priest, and in 1677 he became court preacher to Emperor Leopold I. (1640-1705) and developed into a dreaded pulpit orator with immense popularity. He castigated the sinful enjoyment of life and repeatedly railed from the pulpit against the bad habit of "boozing". About this he wrote the famous epistle "The Drunkard", in which the horrors of drunkenness and alcoholism and the accompanying moral decay are described:

O drunkenness, thou serious addiction, brings many a man to great fornication.
From honour and property, in mockery and disgrace, from wife and child to foreign lands.
From art and wisdom to great folly, from a sound body to great disease.
From joy and gladness into the vale of tears, from food and drink into anguish.
From peace and quiet in fear and need, from long life to death.
From the kingdom of God into eternal suffering, all this comes from drunkenness.
Think of your last hour, so you will not get drunk.
No jester's cuffs are perceived as being performed by the drunken fool,
so that tomorrow the whole parish will discuss it.
That's rare - it's true - my drunken fool!

Abraham a Sancta Clara - Gedenktafel und Bild

As a warning example, he liked to tell the well-known story of a minstrel who, intoxicated, fell into a plague pit. He did not mention a name, but could have meant Augustin dear. The preacher, however, was not fundamentally against the consumption of wine, but only recommended moderation and common sense: "Wine is a medicine, but if it is drunk without a manner, it is a poison. Wine is a refreshment of the heart, but if drunk without a manner, it is a death of the soul.

The preacher liked to drink beer himself. Obviously he was not always satisfied with it, however, because he reprimanded the Augsburg Brewers' Guild with the following biting words: "With some brewers, however, you find such weak beer that the raindrops, if they only take their way over the roof shingles, have a better strength in themselves. There are also some who make such a slovenly potion that it is more harmful than useful, and often does not reside in the human body better than a regiment of hussars in a country.

Picture right: From Wolfgang Sauber - Eig. work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

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