Skimming the Cream of Augustine

St. Augustine’s (whose name is pronounced either a-GUS-tin or AW-gus-teen – in my experience the academy goes with the former) Confessions are on every Great Books list that exists.  And for good reason.  Who am I to review the great saint’s work?  I’d rather offer you portions that will make you hungry for more:

The thought of you [God] stirs him so deeply that he cannot be content unless he praises you, because you made us for yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in you.  p. 21

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.   p. 24

This clearly shows that we learn better in a free spirit of curiosity than under fear and compulsion.  p.35

The brambles of lust grew high above my head and there was no one to root them out, certainly not my father. p. 45

Sloth poses as the love of peace: yet what certain peace is there besides the Lord?  p.50

You follow close behind the fugitive..  p.75

We [friends] could talk and laugh together and exchange small acts of kindness.  We could join in the pleasure that books can give.  We could be grave or gay together.  If we sometimes disagreed, it was without spite, as a man might differ with himself, and the rare occasions of dispute were the very spice to season our usual accord.  Each of us had something to learn from the others and something to teach in return.  If any were away, we missed them with regret and gladly welcomed them when they came home. Such things as these are heartfelt tokens of affection between friends.  They are signs to be read on the face and in the eyes, spoken by the tongue and displayed in countless acts of kindness.  They can kindle a blaze to melt our hearts and weld them into one.  p. 79

opinions, like so many puffs of wind that waft the soul hither and thither and make it veer and turn. p.85

Sins of self-indulgence are committed when the soul fails to govern the impulses from which it derives bodily pleasure.  p.86

…exhausted by the canker of anxiety...   p.158

You saw how deep I was sunk in death, and it was your power that drained dry the well of corruption in the depths of my heart.   p.181

The tears flowed from me when i heard your hymns and canticles, for the sweet singing of your Church moved me deeply.  The music surged in my ears, truth seeped into my heart, and my feelings of devotion overflowed, so taht the tears streamed down.  But they were tears of gladness.  p.190

I posted a few more quotes earlier this week in my post Eating with Augustine

Oh, do read Augustine. He is readable.  He is remarkable.  He is real.


5 thoughts on “Skimming the Cream of Augustine

  1. I am sorry to say (blush) that I have not read Confessions, yet. It has been on my list for a long time. I guess because I’ve been looking for a book sale edition!I may have to…gasp…pay full price.

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