When I Love My God… (Augustine)

Here’s a great section of Augustine’s Confessions that I hope will be a good devotional thought for our readers today.

I love Thee, O Lord, not with doubtful but with assured awareness. Thou hast pierced my heart with Thy Word and I have loved Thee. The heaven and earth, also, and all things which are in them, see how, on all sides, they tell me to love Thee. Nor do they cease to tell this to all men ‘that they may be without excuse.’ More profoundly, however, ‘wilt Thou have mercy on whom Thou wilt have mercy, and wilt Thou show pity, to whom Thou wilt show pity’; otherwise, heaven and earth speak Thy praises to the deaf.

But, what do I love, when I love Thee? Not the prettiness of a body, not the gracefulness of temporal rhythm, not the brightness of light (that friend of these eyes), not the sweet melodies of songs in every style, not the fragrance of flowers and ointments and spices, not manna and honey, not limbs which can be grasped in fleshly embraces – these I do not love, when I love my God. Yet, I do love something like a light, a voice, an odor, food, an embrace, when I love my God – the light, voice, odor, food, embrace of my inner man, wherein for my soul a light shines, and place does not encompass it, where there is a sound which time does not sweep away, where there is a fragrance which the breeze does not disperse, where there is a flavor which eating does not diminish, and where there is a clinging which satiety does not disentwine. This is what I love, when I love my God.

Augustine of Hippo. Confessions. Edited by Roy Joseph Deferrari. Translated by Vernon J. Bourke. Vol. 21. The Fathers of the Church. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1953.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015