I recently began reading a modern translation of The Confessions of St. Augustine (affiliate link). This classic work from the 4th century has stirred the hearts of many Christians and provoked much growth towards spiritual maturity throughout the years. I never really knew what it was about, or why it was such a famous and time-tested classic… but after diving in, I’m flabbergasted that I’ve never read it before! It is provoking record of Augustine’s confessions to God, a journal of the pointed, heartfelt questions intermingled with worship and praise to a holy Creator.
I’ve been reading a short excerpt each day, mingling my own prayers with the cries of Augustine, and plan to read through it again many times in the future. It is quickly becoming a favorite! And I wish I could share every single bit I’ve highlighted so far – but instead, I’ll just encourage you to buy your own copy (here), and settle for sharing this short meditation from Chapter 6, “Time Loses No Time” (emphasis mine).
All beautiful things have their moment of newness.
They rise and set. They grow, become perfect,
then decline and shrivel.
Not every earthly thing grows old.
But every earthly thing crumbles.
Earthly things begin and appear to be.
Quickly they grow to their full potential.
More quickly they fade and are unmade.
This is the law of earthly things.
You allot a portion of time and being to each thing,
because it is not the totality of Your Creation.
It is just a bit of it.
Each thing must cease to exist so the next thing in Your plan can take its turn.
All the things You made do not exist all at once.
Each takes its turn, passes away, and is succeeded by the next,
until all the pieces will someday complete
that universe of which each thing is part.
It is the same when we speak.
We send forth a succession of sounds,
each taking its part in forming symbols that will be
understood by someone who is listening.
Unless each word dies, the next cannot be perfected and succeed it and make its sound.
For by Your word each thing is created,
listens to your decree for it, and
follows the way to its end.
You also must listen to the decree, O my soul.
Don’t be so foolish as to make so much noise
that the ear of your heart turns deaf.
The Incarnate Word has been spoken.
It calls the soul back to its place of
peace that cannot be disturbed and
love that will never be disappointed.
Notice what things pass away and are replaced
as this physical universe moves toward
the completion of all its parts.
“But do you see me going anywhere?” asks the Word of God.
So, whatever else you do, my soul,
build your house at this fixed point.
You have worn yourself out on worthless things.
Now trust yourself to Truth.
Know that whatever you take from Truth,
He will not be diminished.
In truth, even what decays shall bloom again.
It will be reformed after all diseases have been healed.
After mortal parts remade.
After their being is bound to Yours.
The final things will not fall away.
They stand fast with You forever.
For God will abide and stand fast forever.
Question: Have you ever read any of Augustine’s Confessions?