Confessions by Saint Augustine, Henry Chadwick

By Saint Augustine, Henry Chadwick

The son of a pagan father and a Christian mom, Saint Augustine spent his early years torn among conflicting faiths and global perspectives. His Confessions, written while he was once in his forties, recount how, slowly and painfully, he got here to show clear of his younger rules and licentious way of life, to develop into in its place a staunch suggest of Christianity and one among its so much influential thinkers. A remarkably sincere and revealing religious autobiography, the Confessions also handle primary problems with Christian doctrine, and plenty of of the prayers and meditations it contains are nonetheless a vital part of the perform of Christianity today.

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Have pity on me and help me, O Lord my God. Tell me why you mean so much to me. 1 Speak so that I may hear your words. My heart has ears ready to listen to you, Lord. Open them wide and whisper in my heart, I am here to save you. I shall hear your voice and make haste to clasp you to myself. Do not hide your face away from me, for I would gladly meet my death to see it, since not to see it would be death indeed. My soul is like a house, small for you to enter, but I pray you to enlarge it. It is in ruins, but I ask you to remake it.

I learned to lament the death of Dido, who killed herself for love, while all the time, in the midst of these things, I was dying, separated from you, my God and my Life, and I shed no tears for my own plight. What can be more pitiful than an unhappy wretch unaware of his own sorry state, bewailing the fate of Dido, who died for love of Aeneas, yet shedding no tears for himself as he dies for want of loving you? O God, you are the Light of my heart, the Bread of my inmost soul, and the Power that weds my mind and the thoughts of my heart.

At the same time he began to understand that evil results from man's misuse of free will. This was the beginning of conversion. He listened with greater attention to the sermons of Saint Ambrose, to which he had first been attracted only by professional interest in the preacher's reputation as a fine speaker. He learned how to approach the Scriptures and how to look for the spiritual meaning behind the literal sense. He went on to read Saint Paul's Epistles, where for the first time he heard of God's mercy and grace and learned to think of Christ as the Redeemer and no longer simply as a specially gifted teacher.

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