Sunday, August 21, 2005

Book VII, Chapters 7-9

“It was pleasing in your site to reform my deformity.”

In a state emotional turmoil, Augustine continues his search for the cause of evil. “What agonies I suffered, what groans, my God came from my heart in its labor?” He goes on, “And you were listening, though I did not know it.” After describing his anguished soul-searching, he says, “Inside me, your good was working on me to make me restless until you should become clear and certain to my inward sight. Through the hidden hand of your healing art my swelling abated and from day to day the troubled and clouded sight of my mind grew better through the stinging ointment of a healthy sorrow.” What I observe in these and subsequent passages is that Augustine was searching for something; yet, God, inwardly was slowly teaching him the things that God wanted him to learn, the things that are important to God, the things that Augustine needed to save his soul.

Firstly, Augustine learns humility. He also expresses comes a deep understanding of the Incarnation, its profound humility, and that Jesus, as the Son of God, beholds our lowliness and trouble, and forgives all our sins.

I think this is an example of how, when we pray for something, the answer we look for is not always the one we get. And look at the results! I think that often, God uses our pain and anguish to teach us more important things. As one who likes to think that God always answers prayer, the lesson is to try hard to find the spiritual truth, or to see how God is shaping us, from whatever painful situation we have experienced. Often, these can be very hard lessons.


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