Reading again through Saint Augustine’s “Confessions”: Day 8 (God, the Immutable One, is the Life of souls and the Life of lives)

Reading again through Saint Augustine’s “Confessions”: Day 8 (God, the Immutable One, is the Life of souls and the Life of lives)

“Truth! Truth! How the very marrow of my soul within me yearned for it as they dinned it in my ears over and over again! To them it was no more than a name to be voiced or a word to be read in their libraries of huge books. But while my hunger was for you, for Truth itself, these were dishes on which they served me up the sun and the moon, beautiful works of yours but still only your works, not you yourself nor even the greatest of your created things. For your spiritual works are greater than these material things, however brightly they may shine in the sky. But my hunger and thirst were not even for the greatest of your works, but for you, my God, because Truth itself with whom there can be no change, no swerving from your course…

But you, O God whom I love and on whom I lean in weakness so that I may be strong, you are not then sun and the moon and the stars, even though we see these bodies in the heavens; nor are you those other bodies which we do not see in the sky, for you created them and, in your reckoning, they are not even among the greatest of your works. How far, then, must you really be from those fantasies of mine, those imaginary material things which do not exist at all! The images we form in our mind’s eye, when we picture things that really do exist, are far better founded than these inventions; and the things themselves are still more certain than the images we form of them. But you are not these things. Neither are you the soul, which is the life of bodies and, since it gives them life, must be better and more certain than they are themselves. But you are the life of souls, the life of lives. You live, O Life of my soul, because you are life itself, immutable.

My God, you had mercy on me even before I had confessed to you; but I now confess that all this was because I tried to find you, not through the understanding of the mind, by which you meant us to be superior to the beasts, but through the senses of the flesh. Yet you were deeper than my inmost understanding and higher than the topmost height that I could reach.”

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