Sunday, August 24, 2008

quote for the week - Augustine on devotion to God

In all things that I contemplate as I am consulting you, I find no secure place for my soul except in you. And in you, I pray that what is scattered in me may be brought together, so that no part of me may be apart from you.

Sometimes when you are working within me, bringing my scattered self to you, you draw me into a state of feeling that is unlike anything I am used to, a kind of sweet delight. I know that if this spiritual state were made permanent in me it would be something not of this world, not of this life.

Confessions 10
Early Will I Seek You: A 40-Day Journey in the Company of Augustine: Devotional Readings Arranged by David Hazard, p. 15


Lanny said...

Have you ever read Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle? Augustine's words remind me of how I often feel and sometimes have thought; that the inner chambers that Teresa says God draws us to are but a fleeting spiritual moment. But I wonder if that is not a damaging idea that we have. Paul talks of a race - and growth. I wonder, if when we take these words of Augustine's to be a state he stayed at (the not staying in the other world), we are not causing spiritual retardation in ourselves. We keep wanting to go forward a bit and then back. Could you imagine a person running a race like that. I so want to stop going to that state that Augustine talks about and then away from there again.

Perhaps we are to continue to let God draw us farther and farther in. Into and permanently into that other world that is not of this life. I'm thinking it is not something to fear or to pine for as if it is not attainable. It is not played out in our lives like the person who it is said about them that "they are too heavenly minded to be any earthly good." Can we really be too heavenly minded? Our minds should be fractured between God and the world? I just don't believe that we know what being in that state looks like, not sure we really recognize when we look at a person who is there.

Uh, this is getting long - sorry Your blog just hit on some thoughts I've been musing over.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for what you say here, and I'll have to think on it further.

I think you make good points, and really don't see at the moment, Augustine contradicting that. It's so true that we can't just get settled in one state here, we must go on.

I didn't look at Augustine's words here as trying to get us entrenched in one state, but as talking of the continued work of grace needed so that we can be devoted to God, not being double-minded, but having a single heart and mind devoted in all things, to God in Christ.

Thanks so much for your comment, which I'll reread again later, and ponder some more. And no, by the way, I've not read that classic work.

Lanny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lanny said...

Oh, I didn't mean to say that Augustine is in contradiction.

It is what we, modern man, do with this statement by Augustine, and others. Moving forward is not easy, it is difficult and most needing of trusting the Lord. Christ, Paul, Peter, John speak of it. I meant to say that I see a danger in seeing that what Augustine is saying is that the best we have is a glimpse, I do not believe he, Augustine,is. The first paragraph proves that out for me. And really the last line need not be taken, for I don't believe it was written as such, as a resignation that it is all too weird, all too other worldly for human earthly existence. It is just that I hear it spoken as such by many in the church.
Oh well, I'm not sure I made my thoughts any clearer. I am struggling with geting my hand patted and being told "its okay, we'll all get there" (sometimes I find myself wanting to cave to that thinking and just sit and wait for heaven). Didn't mean to convey that Augustine nor your blog was of such ilk.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for your good thoughts. I see it as kind of like our abiding in Christ in paragraph one, and some of the experiences of closeness to the Lord which can come with that at times in paragraph two.

Lovely horse in your picture. Wonder if you folks own any, as my wife loves horses. Also interesting blogs!

Lanny said...

Tell Deb that we have four horses now. The one you see next to my profile is my horse that I have had for twenty years. This post will get you, Deb, started on all that goes on with our horses (what I blog about anyway)