The Confessions of Saint Augustine chronicles the life of a man captured by God's great love!
What is it to be human? St. Augustine posed that question within the following frame:
- The whole cosmos is made up of a material, changing world and a spiritual, unchanging world.
- We are basically souls, belonging to the spiritual world.
- But we have ‘fallen’ into this changing, material world.
- And it is only with God’s help in Jesus Christ that we can ‘turn back’ to the true homeland, the place where we really belong—our spiritual home.
Hence for St. Augustine, to be human is to be caught up in the drama of a soul, fallen yet called to beatitude, true and abiding happiness. All the longings, missed opportunities, and looking for love in all the wrong places that characterize our existence, he sees within this framework.
The Confessions of Saint Augustine are, in essence, a hymn to the grace of God, and a confession – not primarily of Augustine’s sins – but of a God who is great in His compassion. Like the Good Samaritan in the Gospel of Luke who stops on his way to help the traveler lying at the side of the road, God pours out the oil of His grace to heal our self-inflicted wounds.
“The word which comes out of the mouth, and the actions known to men, bring with them a most dangerous temptation from the love of praise, which, to establish a certain glory of our own solicits and collects men’s compliments. It tempts, even when I reprove myself for it within myself, on the very ground that it is reproved. Often a man glories even more vainly in his very scorn of praise. And so he is no longer avoiding vainglory when he glories in his scorn of vainglory.”
St. Augustine of Hippo, The Confessions of Saint Augustine
The Confessions of Saint Augustine was written to awaken others to the inner voice of God, insistently calling us to true inner peace and our inheritance as children of God. We who are made for communion with a loving God are called to a life much better than we ever imagined. The life of a Christian is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. So listen to this voice, for as Augustine famously said, “You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”