Monday, August 27, 2012

I have been extremely miserable in adolescence, miserable from its very onset, and as I prayed to you for the gift of chastity I had even pleaded, “Grant me chastity and self-control, but please not yet.”  I was afraid that you might hear me immediately and heal me forth with of the morbid lust which I was more anxious to satisfy then to snuff out.-St. Augustine, Confessions, Book 8, Chapter 7
(St. Augustine and his mother St. Monica.  Augustines feast day is August 28 and Monica's is the 27th)

Oh Lord how insightful this passage is to the human person.  So often we are attached to something that is sinful in our lives and we hate the enslavement or need to satisfy ourselves, having our happiness subject to it.  However, we love to satisfy the desire but once the desire is satisfied we become empty once again and wish to be released into something lasting.   It is this anxiousness to satisfy rather than to snuff out that makes us call out like St. Augustine, “Lord, grant me to be released from my sinfulness, but not yet.”  We wonder-if we are released, where will we find our happiness?  We will find it in the love of God shown to us on the cross.  There is no greater love than this: that a person would lay down his life for the sake of his friends (John 15:13).  It is only when we find this love that we can look back at our sinfulness and see how miserable we really were by knowing how happy we are now, just as Augustine did when he wrote about his adolescence.  If he knew how miserable he was during his adolescence he would not have waited till his thirties before he seeked his happiness in God and said, "Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you!" (St. Augustine, Confessions).  If we completely understood our state of misery, then we would waste no time trying to escape our state of misery.   Augustine shows us that it is never too late or too early to turn to the Lord and ask him to help us love Him as He loves us and receive the  joy and peace of the Lord. 

            The reason why we become so happy when we turn to God for our happiness is because we do what we were made for, a loving and faithful self-giving relationship with God.  It is only when we do what we are supposed to by nature that we receive the peace and joy our nature longs and searches for.  You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you (St. Augustine, Confessions, Book 1, Chapter 1).  St. Augustine and his mother St. Monica, who wept over his soul until he was converted, pray for us.

New movie going out about St. Augustine. To find out how to get it in your hometown click on the following link The Restless Heart.

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