Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Book I, Additional Comments

Even though I've gone on and read the first half of Book II, I find myself thinking about, ruminating over and re-reading sections of Book I. The Confessions are about the love of God. It is about God's love for Augustine and Augustine's love in return. It is the story of Augustine's relationship with God. His confession of of sin is a lamentation and a repentence for all of the times he failed to love. Remember, one of the catechetical answers to the question, "What is sin?" is that it is a failure to love. When Augustine talks about fornicating against God, it is a very bracing statement. When he uses the term fornication as a metaphor for other sins, it is even more powerful language. How many of us, in examination of conscience or repentence think of ourselves as fornication against God? How many of us, in examination of conscience, feel or think of ouselves as having betrayed God? In Book II, Augustine says of himself when he was 16, "...I was unable to distinguish between the clear calm of love and the swirling mists of lust." By extension, the same applies to all of our drives, impulses, neurotic behavior, anger, rage, greed and so forth.

As difficult as it can be to get one's mind completely around the Confessions intellectually, I find myself drawn into the text.

"When I pray to Him I call Him into myself." (Book I, Chapter 2)

When I prayed this Psalm this morning, it was so full of meaning:

I will praise you. O Lord, will all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonders.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

-Psalm 9.1-2

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