Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book Review: "The Confessions of St. Augustine"

I recently listened to this audio book while commuting to work. 

You can purchase the book HERE.

I loved it.  I look forward to owning a hard copy someday so that I can underline the living crap out of it to my heart's content.  It may be odd and arrogant on multiple levels to consider St. Augustine a kindred spirit, but listening to his confessions, particularly the narrative of his development and God's wooing of him produced in me a great deal of relatability.  Much more than I would anticipate given the amount of time and cultural shift that seperates us.  But I found myself mesmerized by what the cooler kids would call "relevance."  The historic, orthodox doctrine of Christianity is in full display in Augustine's confessions.  I was very comforted in hearing the Gospel proclaimed in the same terminology, gravity, and simplicity as it is even now communicated by those regenerated by the Spirit of truth.

I was greatly comforted not merely in feeling a connection to a monolithic figure like Augustin, but mroe so in the thought and delight that the same Gospel of Jesus Christ that mended back together his religious heart also did the same for me.  We are united.  Not in a way that elevates me to Augustine's level, but in a way that elevates Augustine and myself blameless before the throne of God in Christ.

Here are some highlights I found inspiring:

"I have not hope at all but in thy great mercy. Grant what thou commandest and command what thou wilt."

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

“I was in misery, and misery is the state of every soul overcome by friendship with mortal things and lacerated when they are lost. Then the soul becomes aware of the misery which is its actual condition even before it loses them.”

"It was foul, and I loved it. I loved to perish. I loved my own error— not that for which I erred, but the error itself. Base soul, falling from Your firmament to utter destruction— not seeking anything through the shame but the shame itself!”

“For great are you, Lord, and you look kindly on what is humble, but the lofty-minded you regard from afar. Only to those whose hearts are crushed do you draw close. You will not let yourself be found by the proud, nor even by those who in their inquisitive skill count stars or grains of sand, or measure the expanses of heaven, or trace the paths of the planets.”

“You never go away from us, yet we have difficulty in returning to You. Come, Lord, stir us up and call us back. Kindle and seize us. Be our fire and our sweetness. Let us love. Let us run.”

“O Lord my God, tell me what you are to me. Say to my soul, 'I am your salvation.' Say it so that I can hear it. My heart is listening, Lord; open the ears of my head and say to my soul, 'I am your salvation.' Let me run toward this voice and seize hold of you. Do not hide your face from me: let me die so that I may see it, for not to see it would be death to me indeed.”

“The soul is torn apart in a painful condition as long as it prefers the eternal because of its Truth but does not discard the temporal because of familiarity.”

“You are my Lord, because You have no need of my goodness.”

1 comment:

  1. i'm really excited to read this soon. i'm excited to talk it through together.