Update: 20 Nov 2016
Book 3, #8
“So it is by the path of meekness and devotion that we must return to you. You rid us of our evil habits and forgive our sins when we confess to you. You listen to the groans of the prisoners and free us from the chains which we have forged for ourselves.”
Book 3, #9
“None can doubt that the command must be obeyed, even though, for the time being, you may conceal the reason for it and it may conflict with the established rule of custom in some forms of society; for no society is right and good unless it obeys you.
But happy are they who know that the commandment was yours. For all that your servant do is done as an example of what is needed for the present or as a sign if what is yet to come.”
Book 3, #11
“But you sent down your help from above, and rescued my soul from the depths of this darkness because my mother, your faithful servant, wept to you fot me… you listened to the prayer of her heart… For your goodness is almighty; you take good care of each of us as if you had no others in your care, and you look after all as you look after each….
…the joy for which this devout woman had still so long to wait was foretold so long before to comfort her in the time of her distress. For nearly nine years were yet to come during which I wallowed deep in the mire and the darkness of delusion… Yet all this time this chaste, devout, and prudent woman, a widow such as is close to your heart, never ceased to pray at all hours and to offer you the tears she shed for me.”
Update: 15 Nov 2016
Book 1, #20
“But they were all gifts from God… His gifts are good and the sum of them all is my own self…all the good in me is his. I thank him and praise him for all the good in my life… My God, in whom is my delight, my glory, and my trust, I thank you for your gifts and beg you to preserve and keep them for me. Keep me, too, and so your gifts will grow and reach perfection and I shall be with you myself, for I should not even exist if it were not by your gift.”
This line really struck me: “His gifts are good and the sum of them all is my own self.” I never really thought of myself in that way – as a sum of gifts from God, as a sum of God’s goodness. It made me smile. It shifted my perception of self from focusing on what I am not good at, to embracing the goodness God has given me and made me to be. I keep using the words “in awe”, but are there other words to possibly describe what I am feeling? I am in awe of how good God is. That He gifted me with goodness and created me in His likeness.
I have to hold on to this reminder that God is good and God is with me. Perhaps then I will remember that everyday is a gift to give freely to others as I have been given freely: love, joy and encouragement for each new day.
Update: 14 Nov 2016
As I continue reading more and more of St Augustine’s writings, I am awestruck by his honest and intuitive self-reflection. He writes to God quite plainly yet with beautiful description, not to hide the truth under flair but as an eloquent mind would, keen to know everything yet humbly discovers he knows nothing, finding himself rambling like a wide-eyed child before the One whom He has been searching for – God the Father.
And the more I read, my heart aches… because I have not yet grasped courage to completely let go control of my life to God as St Augustine did.
Today I read the following passage on the prodigal son. This is how great and good our God is! That He loves us even when we walk away, and loves us still more when we come home with nothing.
Book 1, #18
“This very day you are ready to rescue from this fearsome abyss any soul that searches for you, any man who says from the depths of his heart, I have eyes only for you; I long, Lord, for your presence; for the soul that is blinded by wicked passions is far from you and cannot see your face.”
Book 1, #15
13 Nov 2016
“Grant my prayer, O Lord, and do not allow my soul to wilt under the discipline which you prescribe. Let me not tire of thanking you for your mercy in rescuing me from all my wicked ways, so that you may be sweeter to me than all the joys which used to tempt me; so that I may love you most intently and clasp your hand with all the power of my devotion; so that you may save me from all temptation until the end of my days.
You, O Lord, are my King and my God, and in your service I want to use whatever good I learned, …I can speak and write, read and count, and I want these things to be used to serve you…”