I just finished Augustine’s Confessions. It is essentially a book long prayer, a continual conversation between Augustine and God through The Word (Scripture). This has been a tough and rewarding read. It has taken me some time, but Augustine in his writing and structuring of this thirteen book work astounds me. A couple passages stand out to me (plenty more could be mentioned, of course).
After the death of his devout Catholic mother, Monica, Augustine says this at the end of Book IX. He, in reflection of Monica, expounds upon the debt Christ paid by the shedding of his innocent blood:
Who will restore to [Jesus] his innocent blood? Who will restore to him the price which he paid to buy us, so as to take us out of our adversary’s hands? By the chain of faith [Monica] bound her soul to the sacrament of our redemption. Let no one tear her from your protection. Let not the lion and dragon intrude themselves either by force or by subtle tricks. For she will not reply that she has no debts to pay, lest she be refuted and captured by the clever Accuser. Her answer will be that her debts have been forgiven by him to whom no none can repay the price which he, who owed nothing, paid on our behalf.
In the final Book of the work, Book XIII, Augustine speaks to God in an extremely prayer like manner. This is a prayer that I would like to continue to think about or even pray to God myself:
My God, give me yourself, restore yourself to me. See, [that] I love you, and if it is too little, let me love you more strongly. I can conceive no measure by which to know how far my love falls short of that which is enough to make my life run to your embraces, and not to turn away until it lies hidden ‘in the secret place of your presence.’ This alone I know: without you it is evil for me, not only in external things but within my being, and all my abundance which is other than my God is mere indigence.