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Confessions, Book 1, Chap. 13

But why did I hate the Greek language so much, which I studied as a boy?  I do not yet fully know the answer.  For I loved the Latin; not what my first masters taught me, but what the so-called grammarians teach.  For those first lessons, reading, writing, and arithmetic, I thought as great a burden and punishment as any Greek studies.  And yet where did all this come from, too, but from the sin and vanity of this life, because I was but flesh and a breath that passes away and does not come again.  For those primary lessons were better, certainly, because they were more certain.  By them I obtained and still retain the ability to read what I find written, and the ability to write what I will.  On the other hand, I was forced to learn the wanderings of one Aeneas, forgetful of my own, and to weep for Dido, dead because she killed herself for love; while at the same time with dry eyes, I brooked my wretched self dying among these things, far from You, O God of my life.

What is more wretched than a wretch who does not pity himself, weeping over the death of Dido for her love of Aeneas, but shedding no tears over his own death in not loving You, O God, Light of my heart, Bread of my inmost soul, Power that weds my mind with my inmost thought?  I did not love you, and I committed fornication against You, and all those around me who were doing the same, echoed, “Well done!  Well done!” for the friendship of this world is fornication against You, and, “Well done!  Well done!” echoes on till one is ashamed not to be such a man.  And for all this I did not weep, though I wept for Dido, slain as she sought death by the point of a sword, myself seeking the extremest and lowest level of Your creatures, having forsaken You, earth sinking to earth.  And if I were forbidden to read all this, I grieved that I was not allowed to read what grieved me.  Madness like this is considered more honorable and more fruitful learning than that by which I learned to read and write.

But now, my God, shout aloud in my soul and let Your truth tell me, “It is not so!  Far better was that first study!”  For I would rather forget the wanderings of Aeneas and all such things than how to read and write.  Over the entrance of the Grammar School a veil is hung, it is true, but this is not so much a sign of honor of the mysteries taught in them as a covering for error.  Let not those whom I no longer fear cry out against me while I confess whatever my soul desires to You, my God, and let them agree in the condemnation of my evil ways, that I may love Your good ways.  Let neither buyers nor sellers of grammar education cry out against me.  For if I question them as to whether Aeneas came once to Carthage, as the poet tells, the less learned will reply that they do not know; the more learned, that he never did.  But if I ask with what letters the name “Aeneas” is written, everyone who has learned this will answer me rightly, in accordance with the conventional understanding men have settled on as to these signs.  If, again, I ask which might be forgotten with the least detriment to the concerns of life – reading and writing, or these poetic fictions, who does not foresee what all must answer who have not wholly forgotten themselves?  I erred then, when as a boy I preferred those vain studies to the more profitable ones, or rather loved the one and hated the other.  “One and one are two; two and two are four.”  This to me was a hateful sing-song; but such vanities as the wooden horse full of armed men and the burning of Troy and the “spectral image” Creusa were a most pleasant but vain spectacle.

Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve realized that I need to be very careful about what I watch and read.  All too often I’d find myself engrossed in a book so much that I could barely put it down during the day – and then would dream about it at night besides.  Or I’d get started on a TV show or two, and before I knew it, my whole weekly plan was made around being home to watch those shows.  And at night, there I was again, laying in bed, thinking about the characters, reviewing the plot in my head, imagining what I’d do if I were them.  Augustine too seems to have struggled with this as he tells of his weeping for Dido, the tragic character in the Aeneid, who falls in love with Aeneas but, upon his leaving for Italy, kills herself on his sword.

When this happened to me, I was generally reading good books and watching good tv shows.  There was nothing immoral or “bad” about them, but they were taking up hours of my life, not to mention the emotional and psychological involvement.  In the same way, the Aeneid is a great and classic piece of literature that is considered required reading in most schools (or at least, it used to be).  The trouble, as Augustine so clearly tells us, is that he allowed himself to become emotionally vested in a fictional story while, at the same time, neglecting his spiritual growth.

See, the problem for me wasn’t the books or the tv shows, any more than, for Augustine, it was the Aeneid.  Reading is a great thing to do, and there’s nothing wrong with watching a little tv, but when we find ourselves so involved with the characters that they start to live in our heads and we have emotional reactions to them, it might be time to re-evaluate their importance in our lives.

Also, when I talk to my kids about this,  I tell them that it’s fine to watch a little tv or spend a little time on the computer, but how much is too much?  They could be watching really good and wholesome, even educational, programs, or they could be playing good games that teach good decision making skills – all really good things – but what aren’t they doing?  If they are spending 3, 4, or 5 hours in front of the tv or computer, or even engrossed in a book, they aren’t outside playing, they aren’t using their imagination to come up with their own stories, they aren’t being creative and building things.

In the same way, if I spend my day (and subsequently, my night) wrapped in the plot of some novel, or if I am so consumed by a character that I find myself rewriting the story in my mind and spending hours analyzing their motives, what am I not doing with that time?  Would my time be better spent with a book about the Saints?  At the very least, do I spend an equal amount of time in prayer or in contemplating God and His wonderful blessings in my life?  What if, instead of planning my week around which tv shows I was going to watch, I would have planned it around times to volunteer with my church at a soup kitchen or around a devotional meeting?

Augustine hits on a common plight in the human condition.  We are all wired with this empty spot inside of us.  All or lives we seek to fill it.  All too often, it gets filled with the wrong things.  For most of us it’s tv shows, books, computer games, but for some it’s shopping, gambling, alcohol, or drugs.  Augustine slipped into a life or promiscuity.  All of these things seem like the answer, and all of them seem like they will fit, giving us a momentary thrill, a stirring in our heart, but none of them do, none of them last.  Nothing will ever fill that hole except for the One it was designed for; nothing will bring us happiness until we look outside of the pleasures of this world and, instead, seek the God Who loves us and cares for us.  Then, and only then, can we be completely happy.

Deo Juvante, Jen

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2014 in Confessions

 

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Confessions, Book 1, Chap. 12

Confessions, Book 1, Chap. 12

In my childhood, which was less dangerous for me than my adolescence, I had no love of leaning and hated to be forced to it.  Yet I was forced to it, and this was good for me, though I did not do well.  For I would not have learned unless I was compelled.  But no one does well against his will, even though what he does may be well.  Yet they who forced me did not do well either, but the good that came to me was from You, my God.  For they were totally uncaring of how I should use what they forced me to learn, except to satisfy the inordinate desire of a rich beggary and a shameful glory.  But You, by whom the very hairs of our head are numbered, used for my good the error of all those who urged me to learn; and my own error in my unwillingness to learn, You used for my punishment – a fit penalty for one, so small a boy and so great a sinner.  So by the instruments of those who did not do well, You did well for me; and by my own sin You justly punished me.  For You have appointed and it is so, that every inordinate affection should be its own punishment.

So like us all, was St. Augustine.  Do any of us want to do what we are forced to do?  We resist and drag our heels, and sometimes openly complain.  We all like to be independent and feel like we are free to do what we please.  The speed limit says 45, so I’m going to go 50!  Someone pushes, we shove back. Sometimes we might even find ourselves in an argument over something that has almost no meaning, just for the sake of rebellion.

But what becomes of us after all that rebellion?  Are we any better for it?  Augustine states that “every inordinate affection should be its own punishment,” so, we speed, and we get a speeding ticket.  We lie to save face, and we break trust with someone we love.  We pridefully and covetously make a big purchase because we tell ourselves that we “deserve it”, and a week later it gets broken.  It’s tempting to only look at the “big sins” – lust, adultery, theft, addictions – because those consequences are easier to see.  But those little things that we do on a day to day basis that we know we shouldn’t are often the bigger downfalls for most of us.  Something as simple as coloring our hair.  Why are we doing it?  Is it vanity?  Pride?  Rebelling against the natural process of aging?  Maybe fear?  I’m not saying that you can’t ever dye your hair or insinuating that it’s sinful, because it certainly isn’t, but what is the reason?  What attitude do you have about it?

In Augustine’s case, he knows in hindsight that he purposefully rebelled against learning.  He also sees that his teachers and elders weren’t teaching for the sake of making him a better person but rather to make themselves look better.  And yet, God made use of all these things both in Augustine’s life and in the lives of everyone who has been touched by his story – even us, reading it today!  He acknowledges that any and all good in his life came from God who, “numbers the very hairs of our heads.”  So we ask ourselves, do we rebel against God and the way he wishes us to walk in our lives or do we bend our heads and give ourselves over to Him?  Do we push back against the rules, fighting against what we know we should do, or do we invite God’s wisdom into our lives, doing our best to learn from every situation He presents to us, both the good and the bad?

Deo Juvante, Jen

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Confessions

 

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Confessions, Book 1, Chap. 11

Confessions, Book 1, Chap. 11

As we read today’s passage from Confessions, we realize that Augustine was not baptized as a child.  That seems startling to us, especially since He believed in God and Christ’s dying to save us from our sins.  In the fourth century, however, the people were more afraid of sinning after baptism than they were of dying without it and so, it was common practice to postpone baptism until immediately before death.

Augustine laments the decision to postpone his baptism, recognizing that baptism would have cleansed him and, perhaps, kept him from suffering the many temptations that plagued him in his youth.  It is clear that Augustine deeply regretted the sinful life he lead in the years before his conversion.  I think, however, that this speaks again of what I wrote previously – God takes even our worst moments in life and uses them for the advancement of His glory.

Did God want Augustine to sin?  Did God purposely cause Augustine to sin in order to use him as an example?  No, but God did know that Augustine was going to fall into sin.  Augustine had free will and willingly made the choice to sin throughout his youth.  God does not interfere with our choices to sin, but He allows it to happen and then brings good out of it.  In the case of Augustine, when he finally converted and repented of his sin, God gave him the grace and ability to bring others to repentance not in spite of his sin, but because of it.  Here we are today, almost 2000 years later, learning how to be a good follower of Christ, because this man defied his elders and lived a life of rampant sin.  Imagine what could have happened if he had never strayed, never led that wild life of sin and promiscuity.  Augustine may have lived in obscurity and died quietly in his bed of old age, never to be thought of again beyond his immediate family!

In our own lives, we are going to make mistakes; we have probably already made quite a few!  But if we look with the eyes of faith, and ask God to show us, we should be able to see many examples of places we are now and good things that have happened to us, because of sinful decisions from our past.  Maybe it is knowledge or wisdom that we gained, maybe it is a chance encounter that ended up having lasting effects, maybe it is something that became a milestone moment that affected the entire course of our lives.  Whatever it is, we have to be thankful for those occasions of sin, those moments of temptation.  We are what we are today, not in spite of those times, but because of them and to change them, could change our entire life.

As a boy, then, I had heard of eternal life promised us through the humility of the Lord our God stooping to our pride.  Even from the womb of my mother, who greatly hoped in you, I was signed with the mark of His cross and seasoned with His salt.  You saw, Lord, how at one time while yet a boy I was suddenly seized with pains in the stomach and was near death.  You saw, my God, for You were my Keeper, with what eagerness of mind and with what faith I besought the baptism of Your Christ, my God and Lord, from the piety of my own mother and of Your Church, the mother of us all.  At this time, my mother was very anxious, since she labored more lovingly in travail from my salvation than in my natural birth.  She would have provided for my cleansing initiation by Your health-giving sacraments, confessing You, Lord Jesus for the remission of sins, if I had not suddenly recovered.  And so, as if I must needs be further polluted if I should live, my cleansing was deferred because the defilements of sin would bring greater and more perilous guilt after that washing.  I already believed at that time, with my mother and the whole household except  my father.  Yet he did not overcome the power of my mother’s piety in me so as to prevent my believing in Christ.  The fact that he did not yet believe did not make me think that I should not.  For it was her earnest concern that You, my God, should be my Father rather than he.  In this You enabled her to overcome her husband to whom, though the better of the two, she yielded obedience because in this she obeyed Your commandment as well.

I beseech You, my God, for I would like to know if it is Your will, for what purpose was my baptism then deferred?  Was it for my good that the reins were loosed on me, as it were, for me to sin? Or were they not slackened at all?  If not, why does it still echo in my ears on all sides, “Let him alone, let him do as he will, for he is not yet baptized”?  But as to bodily health, no one says, “Let him be wounded even more seriously, for he is not yet healed.”  How much better then, would it have been for me to have been healed at once and then, by my friends’ diligence and my own, my soul’s recovered health had then been kept safe in Your keeping who gave it!  Better truly.  But how many great waves of temptation seemed to hang over me after my childhood!  My mother foresaw these and preferred to expose the unformed [unrengenerate] clay to them rather than to the very image itself after it was made.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Confessions, Book 1, Chap. 10

Confessions, Book 1, Chap. 10

In this chapter, Augustine is repenting of his childhood folly.  With the eyes of an adult, he sees clearly that his parents and teachers really wanted what was best for him and he knows now that he should have listened.

Don’t we all do this?  I think everyone can look back at their childhood (especially our teen years) and be embarrassed or even ashamed by bad decisions, defiant behavior, and those moments of, “What was I thinking?” or “If only I had listened!”

The good news is, no matter what we do, no matter what bad choices we make, no matter how we disappoint, frustrate, or defy our parents and teachers, God can use everything for something greater.  I can look back on the dumb things I did as a teenager – and I had some real doosies! – and I know that I learned something from every single one.  Even though I didn’t know it, and even though God was the last person in the world I wanted to hear about at the time, He was working in my life.  All of those things formed and shaped me into the person I am today.  I regret many of the choices I made as a teenager, but I would never ask to change them or take them back because, without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

I’ve heard people ask, “Why does God allow abortion?”  In response, I’ve pointed out the courageous women who speak out against abortion because they had one.  When a woman uses her abortion experience to encourage others to choose life, God is working through her bad decision to save lives!  When I see one of these women, proudly standing there proclaiming that she is, “Silent no more!” I can’t help but think of the devil just writhing.  When she had the abortion, the devil was clapping his hands and cackling with delight, but the whole time, God just sat there, maybe even grinning a little, saying, “Just wait.  Wait till you see how many babies she saves.”

As parents, we should never forget the mistakes we made and how they helped to form us into the people we are today – flaws and all, and when our kids mess up or start doing dumb things, take heart.   Keep praying for them, guide them as much as they will let you, and never lose hope.  God can take the very worst situations and use them to accomplish His will.  And sometimes, those mistakes, can be the best things that happen to them.

Confessions, Book 1, Chap 10

And yet I sinned in this, O Lord God, Creator and Disposer of all things in Nature (but of sin only the Disposer) O Lord my God, I sinned acting against the commands of my parents and of my teachers.  For what they, with whatever motive, wanted me to learn, I might have put to good use later on.  But I disobeyed, not because I had chosen a better way, but from love of play, loving the honor of victory in my contests, and to have my ears tickled with fables that they might itch for more.  The same curiosity burned in my eyes more and more for the shows and sports of adults.  Those who gave these shows were held in such repute that almost everyone wished the same for their children, and they were very willing that the children be beaten if these very games kept them from their studies by which they wanted them to reach the point of being teachers to others.

Look down with compassion on these things, Lord, and deliver us who call upon You now.  Deliver those, too, who do not call on You, that they may call on You and that You may deliver them.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2014 in Confessions

 

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Confessions, Chap 9

Confessions, Chap 9

O God, my God!  What miseries and mockeries I now experienced, when obedience to my teachers was set before me as proper to my boyhood that I might prosper in this world and excel in the science of speech which would gain the praise of men and deceitful riches.  After that, I was put in school to get learning whose usefulness I could not imagine (useless as I was), and yet if I was idle in my studies, I was flogged!  For our forefathers deemed this the right way, and many, passing the same way before us, had laid out the weary paths through which we were obliged to pass, multiplying labor and grief on the children of Adam.

But, Lord, we found that men prayed to You, and we learned from them to think of You according to our abilities, to be some Great One who, though hidden from our senses, could hear and help us.  So I began, even as a boy, to pray to You, my help and refuge; and I let my tongue freely call on You, praying to You, even though I was small, with no small earnestness, that I might not be beaten at school.  And when You did not hear me (not giving me over to folly thereby), my elders, yes, my own parents who certainly wished me no ill, laughed at my stripes, which were then my great and grievous ill.

Is there anyone, Lord, bound to You with such greatness of soul and with so strong an affection (there is a sort of stupidity that may do that much) – is there anyone who is endowed with so great a courage from clinging devoutly to You that he can think lightly of racks and hooks and other tortures?  For throughout the whole world men pray fervently to be saved from such tortures and can they as bitterly mock those who fear them as our parents mocked the torments which we suffered from our teachers in boyhood?  For we did not fear our torments any less, nor did we pray less to You to escape them.  And yet we sinned in writing, reading, or studying less than was required of us.  For we did not lack memory or ability, Lord, of which, by Your will, we possessed enough for our age.  But we delighted only in play, and for this we were punished by those who were doing the same things themselves.  But older people’s idleness is called business, while boys who do the same are punished by those same elders; and yet no one expresses pity, either boys or men.  For will any one of good sense approve of my being whipped because as a boy I played ball, and so made less progress in studies which I was to learn only so that, as a man, I might play at more shameful games?  And what else was my tutor doing who beat me, who, if defeated in some trifling controversy with his fellow tutor was more embittered and angry than I was when I was beaten in a game of ball by a playmate?

St. Augustine is describing the great trials he endured as a youth, preferring, like most boys, to play than to apply himself to study – study that he did not see as being worth his time.  The greater message here, to me, is that one of the reasons he saw no point to his studies is because he looked at the adults around him with disdain.  He saw well educated adults being idle, but calling it part of their business.  He saw his tutor get very angry over a disagreement with another tutor, angrier even then he got over a game, yet young Augustine would get punished for such behavior.

For me, this recalls times when I have asked more of my children than I have asked of myself.  How many times have I scolded my children for wasting time or not doing what I asked when I too am guilty of spending too much time on the computer or not doing my duties cheerfully and efficiently.  Sure, we can tell ourselves (and the kids) how they don’t carry the mental responsibilities we do, how they didn’t work all day, how we do so many things that they don’t see.  While this is true to a certain extent, do we really set the best example for our children as often as possible?  And if we really are doing the best we can and we truly are tired or are suffering from something they don’t realize or know about, do we sit down with them and help them understand how valuable they are to us and how much their help means to us?

I’m sure Augustine’s teachers and parents felt like they were doing the best they could – they were treating him as most children of that time were treated.  But they, like many of us, don’t often look at ourselves through our children’s eyes and see how things appear to them.  We can’t always make them understand everything and there is definitely a time and place for telling them they have to do something “just because,” but we should never forget what it’s like to be a child and how we appear to them.

Deo Juvante, Jen

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2014 in Confessions

 

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Confessions, Chap. 8

Confessions, Chap. 8

Passing on from infancy, I came to boyhood, or rather it came to me, succeeding my infancy.  The infancy did not depart (for where did it go?) and yet it was no more.  For I was no longer a speechless infant, but a chattering boy.  This I do remember and have since observed how I learned to speak.

My elders did not teach me words by any particular method (as a little later they taught me other things); but when I was unable to say all I wished and to whomever I desired by whimperings and broken sounds and various gestures which I used to enforce my wishes, I myself began to repeat the sounds in my memory according to the understanding which You, my God, gave me.  When they called anything by name and turned toward it as they spoke, I saw and gathered that the object they were pointing out was called by that name.  And I understood by their gestures that they meant this thing and nothing else, movements that are the natural language as it were of all nations, expressed by the countenance, glances of the eyes, movements of the limbs, and tones of the voice, indicating the feelings of the mind as it seeks, gets, rejects or avoids certain things.  And so by frequently hearing words as they occurred in various sentences, I gradually gathered what they meant.  Having formed my mouth to make these sounds, I could then give voice to my will.  Thus I exchanged with those about me these current expressions of our wants, and so advanced deeper into the stormy fellowship of human life, still subject to parental authority and the bidding of my elders.

The human body is a wonder isn’t it?!  Augustine chose to write about something so natural, so common, that we almost take it for granted, but when we pause to think of it, when we watch our own children begin to grapple with language, when we, as adults, try to learn a new language! – we realize how amazing our gift of speech is.

No one teaches us to speak, and yet we do.  At birth, our mouth and tongue are able to pronounce every sound and phoneme.  It is only as we begin to speak that we adopt the sounds specific to the language we hear around us.

It doesn’t take us long to discover that our ability to speak gives us power.  The piercing shriek of a toddler can stop us in our tracks – and send the child into fits of giggles at our reaction!  Through speech we ask questions, process our thoughts, describe our hopes and dreams.  We profess love, make promises, and give oaths.  We teach, convey wisdom, and whisper solemn good byes.

Unfortunately, our speech can also get us into trouble.  We all know the old rhyme, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me,” but the truth is, we can cut others to shreds and cause immense pain with our speech.  We can also lie, manipulate, and, in seconds, say things that can destroy a relationship.

There are, according to this website, no less than 100 verses in the Bible about taming our tongues and our speech.  It is certainly a part of the human condition to speak without thinking or to say things that are hurtful to the ones we love.  Often times, sadly, the ones we love get the worst of us – the short temper, the bad day, the tired and stressed out growls – while the clerk at the grocery store gets our biggest smile.  So, knowing that we all fall short on a daily basis and regularly say things we know we shouldn’t, it gives us an opportunity to do something else with our speech – forgive.  Even when the other person doesn’t deserve it, even when they have spoken to us in anger for the umpteenth time, forgive, because, before we know it, we’ll be in need of that forgiveness too.  Life is too short to let our words destroy each other.  Use this beautiful gift of speech to console, heal, love, and most of all, forgive.  God bless!!!

Deo Juvante, Jen

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2014 in Confessions

 

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Confessions – Chapter 7

Confessions – Chapter 7

Here me, O God!  Alas for the sin of mankind!  We speak this way and You have compassion on us, for You made us, but You did not make sin in us.  Who reminds me of the sins of my infancy?  For in Your sight, no one is free from sin, not even the infant whose life is but a day upon the earth.

Who reminds me?  Does not each little infant in whom I see what I do not remember about myself?  What was my sin then?  Is it that I cried for the breast?  For if I should cry that way now for food suitable to my present age, I should be laughed at and rebuked.  What I did then deserved rebuke, but since I could not understand reproof, custom and reason forbade my being rebuked.  For as we grow, we root out and cast away such habits.

No no man, though he prunes, wittingly throws away what is good.  Or was it good then, even for a time, to cry for what, if given, would be hurtful – to bitterly resent that those free persons, elders – even my own parents who gave me birth – did not serve me?  That many others besides, wiser than I, did not obey the beckoning of my good pleasure?  That I did my best to strike and hurt because my commands were not obeyed, which could only have been to my hurt if carried out?  Then in the weakness of infant limbs, not its will, lies its innocence.

I myself have seen and known an infant to be jealous, even though it could not speak.  It turned pale and looked bitterly at its foster-brother.  Who does not know this to be true?  Mothers and nurses tell you that they appease these things by all kinds of remedies.  Is that innocence when the fountain of milk is flowing in rich abundance, not to allow one to share it, though it needs the nourishment to sustain its life?  We look leniently on all this, not because we fail to recognize the presence and degree of the evils, but because they will disappear as age increases.  For although they are allowed in infancy, the very same tempers are utterly intolerable when they appear in an older person.

O Lord my God, who gave life to my infancy, furnishing the body You gave with senses, knitting its limbs together, shaping its proportions and implanting in me all the impulses necessary to the maintenance of the integrity and safety of a living being – You command me to praise you in these things, to give thanks unto the Lord and to sing to Your name, O Most High.  For You are God, almighty and good, even if You had done nothing but these things which no one but You could do.  You alone made all things, O most Fair, and You make all things fair; and by Your law You order all things.

This period of my life, then, Lord, of which I have no remembrance, which I take on others’ word and which I guess from observing other infants – true though the guess may be – I do not care to reckon as a part of my life which I live in this world.  For it is hidden  from me in the shadows of forgetfulness no less than that which I spent in my mother’s womb.  But if I was shaped in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me, where, I pray, O my God, where, Lord, or when, was I, Your servant, innocent?  But I pass that period by.  What do I now have to do with that, the memories of which I cannot recall?

As Augustine is reflecting on his infancy, he seems to be considering all the things that are very normal for children, but would be completely unacceptable later in life.  It reminds me of the passage, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” (1 Cor 13:11)

We all have stories from our childhood – some we remember, some our family is fond of telling us! – in which we wonder what we were thinking or why we would do such things or behave in such a way.  And then we have children and they go through stages and do irrational things.  Like when your two year old wants a muffin.  You break one in half and give it to her, but she begins to cry because she wants it whole.  So, you offer her a new muffin, but she doesn’t want that one; she wants the first one, but she wants it whole again.  She is inconsolable and may even strike out at you with her little fists.  You can try to reason with her and try to explain, but you know it won’t do any good.  Do you punish her?  Of course not.  Even though that behavior would be completely out of line in an adult, or even an older child, for the toddler, her little world has completely fallen apart and you are the cause of it’s destruction.  But we know all too well, soon enough her reasoning ability improves, the tantrums stop, and she grows into a beautiful, sensible person.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor 13:11-13)

Deo Juvante, Jen

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2014 in Confessions

 

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