Addendum 3, Augustine

Augustine’s Double Knowledge that Leads to Repentance
We cannot know ourselves without knowing God. So Augustine can pray: “Let me know You, that I may know myself.” These are notes I developed from Amor Dei, a study of the religion of St. Augustine. The Hulsean lectures for 1938, bu John Burnaby, London: Hodder & Stoughton. The primary drive of all humans is happiness. But we often accept a false image of the real, so as not to face the full Light of God’s glory. And the happy life is this,-to rejoice unto Thee, in Thee, and for Thee; this it is, and there is no other. But those who think there is another follow after another joy, and that not the true one. Their will, however, is not turned away from some shadow of joy. (Confessions, Chapter 2, …) Sin corrupts but God does not abandon Augustine in his sin. "But Thou, O Lord, shall endure for ever," yet not for ever art Thou angry with us, because Thou dost commiserate our dust and lt ashes; and it was pleasing in Thy sight to reform my deformity, and by inward stings didst Thou disturb me, that I should be dissatisfied until Thou wert made sure to my inward sight. And by the secret hand of Thy remedy was my swelling lessened, and the disordered and darkened eyesight of my mind, by the sharp anointings of healthful sorrows, was from day to day made whole. (Confessions, Book 7, Chapter 8) In his search for Truth, God leads him to his Unsearchable Light. In beholding God, he beholds his own wickeness. And Thou didst beat back the infirmity of my sight, pouring forth upon me most strongly Thy beams of light, and I trembled with love and fear; and I found myself to be far off from Thee, in the region of dissimilarity, as if I heard this voice of Thine from on high: "I am the food of strong men; grow, and thou shalt feed upon me; nor shall thou convert me, like the food of thy flesh, into thee, but thou shall be converted into me." And I learned that Thou for iniquity dost correct man, and Thou dost make my soul to consume away like a spider. (Confessions, Book 7, Chapter 10) Augustine realize that sin has corrupted us. To be corrupted means that we once were good. For if there is not goodness, there could be no corruption. We were created in the image of God—the Supreme Goodness who dwells in Unchangeable Light. We are subject to change and yearn for goodness but do not contain Supreme Goodness within. This yearning for Supreme Goodness is a yearning for happiness. Even as he beheld the Supreme Goodness of God, he realized the weight of his own sin which pulled him back down to earth. Even in the midst of the vision, Augustine falls away. God’s beauty brought him closer, but his sin pulled him down.

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Addendum 3, Augustine 23. And I marvelled that I now loved Thee, and no phantasm instead of Thee. And yet I did not merit to enjoy my God, but was transported to Thee by Thy beauty, and presently torn away from Thee by mine own weight, sinking with grief into these inferior things. (Confessions, Book 7, Chapter ..) Yet, by God’s grace he retains God’s glory in his memory. Which creates a yearning to return. And then I saw Thy invisible things understood by the things that are made. But I was not able to fix my gaze thereon; and my infirmity being beaten back, I was thrown again on my accustomed habits, carrying along with me naught but a loving memory thereof, and an appetite for what I had, as it were, smelt the odour of, but was not yet able to eat. Augustine’s encounter does not blur the distinction between God and man but accentuates it. The excess of light was blinding and in his blindness Augustine saw his sin. The light of Glory is painful therefore men turn to lesser lights that really pull us further into darkness. Augustine spends many passages discussing the nature of memory. He talks about memory and how we can bring to mind objects and emotions that are not currently present. We can remember animals and houses and stars and skies. We can also remember feelings of joy even though we are currently sad and we can remember feelings of sadness even when we are not sad. Then he talks about our longing for happiness (see above) and asks how can we remember God, when we have not known God? Where does this memory come from? It comes from outside us. God speaking to us drawing us to Himself. He remembers and reflects on his first encounter with TRUTH and it bring joy as well as sorrow. He remembers how God penetrated his blindness, his ignorance, his deception and stirred a passion and a hunger inside of him. The vision of the TRUTH reveals his own darkness which brings convction and repentence. Augustine focuses upon his memory of the encounter with Lord to meditate upon the Lord and seek him. Behold how I have enlarged in my memory seeking Thee, O Lord; and out of it have I not found Thee. Nor have I found aught concerning Thee, but what I have retained in memory from the time I learned Thee. For from the time I learned Thee have I never forgotten Thee. For where I found truth, there found I my God, who is the Truth itself, which from the time I learned it have I not forgotten. And thus since the time I learned Thee, Thou abidest in my memory; and there do I find Thee whensoever I call Thee to remembrance, and delight in
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Addendum 3, Augustine Thee. These are my holy delights, which Thou hast bestowed upon me in Thy mercy, having respect unto my poverty. (Confessions, Book 7, Chapter 24) Augustine realizes that God has not become part of his mind but His presence still moves Augustine’s memory and he can focus upon the Lord and behold Him afresh. For as Thou art not a bodily image, nor the affection of a living creature, as when we rejoice, condole, desire, fear, remember, forget, or aught of the kind; so neither art Thou the mind itself, because Thou art the Lord God of the mind; and all these things are changed, but Thou remainest unchangeable over all, yet vouchsafest to dwell in my memory, from the time I learned Thee. But why do I now seek in what part of it Thou dwellest, as if truly there were places in it? Thou dost dwell in it assuredly, since I have remembered Thee from the time I learned Thee, and I find Thee in it when I call Thee to mind. (Confessions, Book 7, Chapter 25) God in his mercy, penetrated Augustine’s blindness with His love and now Augustine’s burns with hunger and thirst for the Lord. Too late did I love Thee, O Fairness, so ancient, and yet so new! Too late did I love Thee For behold, Thou wert within, and I without, and there did I seek Thee; I, unlovely, rushed heedlessly among the things of beauty Thou madest. Thou wert with me, but I was not with Thee. Those things kept me far from Thee, which, unless they were in Thee, were not. Thou calledst, and criedst aloud, and forcedst open my deafness. Thou didst gleam and shine, and chase away my blindness. Thou didst exhale odours, and I drew in my breath and do pant after Thee. I tasted, and do hunger and thirst. Thou didst touch me, and I burned for Thy peace. (Confessions, Book 10, Chapter 27) Augustine method of contemplation: • Just start. God guides the soul into contemplation. • Contemplation focuses upon the Lord and upon the Truth of the Church. • Contemplation is not separate from our relationship to the body but should lead us deeper into relationship.

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