Yesterday was a quiet day for me. I don’t mean that it was slow or less hectic than usual.

I mean it was designated–Quiet Day.

Within that time, I read my first ever passage of Augustine. Yes, that’s SAINT Augustine, and I now know what the big deal is about. I only read three pages… and a powerful three they were.

Here’s a snippet…

“My inner self was a house divided against itself. Why does this strange phenomenon occur? The mind gives an order to the body and is at once obeyed, but when it gives an order to itself, it is resisted. What causes it? The mind commands the hand to move and is so readily obeyed that the order can scarcely be distinguished from its execution. Yet the mind is mind and the hand is part of the body. But when the mind commands the mind to make an act of will, these two are one and the same and yet the order is not obeyed.”

Anyone having flashbacks to Paul’s words (“What I want to do, I cannot do; what I don’t want to do, I do”)?

Anyone relating yet?

More Augustine…

“It is therefore no strange (as in unfamiliar) phenomenon partly to will to do something and partly not to will to do it. It is a disease of the mind which does not wholly rise to the heights where it is lifted by the truth, because it is weighed down by habit.”

And one more piece about the inner battle that we’ve all experienced…

“It is the same soul that wills both, but it wills neither of them with the full force of the will. So it is wrenched in two and suffers great trials because while truth teaches it to prefer one course, habit prevents it from relinquishing the other.”

I love those parts about truth and habit.

Truth–what is beautiful, healthy, noble, good, life-giving… it calls us upward to “higher ground”. It’s those moments where clarity defeats confusion, and the light comes on crystal clear. We KNOW what we need to do, and there is no sliver of doubt about what is right. And we would ascend to new heights, for the desire to do so is very real…

But we are weighed down by habit. Truth works to set us free, but old ways of thought and action hold us firmly where we’ve always been.

In the midst of his struggle towards faith, Augustine concluded that habit was too strong for him to overcome, though he desperately DID desire to follow after truth…

“Habit was too strong for me when it asked, ‘Do you think you can live without these things?'”

But Habit’s voice faded as the voice of Continence (Self-Discipline) came nearer.

“She stretched out loving hands to welcome and embrace me, holding up a host of good examples to my sight. She smiled at me to give me courage, as though she were saying, ‘Can you not do what these men and women do? Do you think they find the strength to do it in themselves and not in the Lord their God? It was the Lord their God who gave me to them. Why do you try to stand in your own strength and fail? Cast yourself upon God and have no fear. He will not shrink away and let you fall. Cast yourself upon him without fear, for he will welcome you and cure you of your ills.”

Looking back upon the powerful moment of breaking and conversion that followed, Augustine prayed…

You converted me to Yourself, so that I no longer place any hope in this world but stood firmly upon the rule of faith.”

You converted me to Yourself… I love that.

I need that.

To be converted not by any man, not by any line of reasoning…

Converted by God himself to God himself.


Is anyone else loving the simple purity and beauty of how that sounds?

Great stuff, Auggie!

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