Saint Augustine’s Confessions is equal parts worship of God, prayer, autobiography, and philosophical rumination, which is to say it’s unlike anything I’ve read.
He’ll go in and out of these four modes book by book or paragraph by paragraph and makes for a more dynamic read than you would expect.Augustine spends a lot of the book praising God in various ways. I thought his deep and profound love of God was beautiful although it could be repetitive and comical.
He often sounded like the opening lines of Lolita if they were extended for paragraphs at a time. (Oh God, you are the light of my life. The fire of my loins!)
But Confessions, written at the end of the fourth century AD, reminds me of how eternal human ailments and aspirations are. I began this book thinking Augustine’s life would be remarkably different than mine given his position and the period in which he lived but was soon proved wrong.Here are some of the quotes that did(Of being a child in school)
“But we enjoyed playing games and were punished by men who played games themselves. However, grown-up games are known as ‘business,’ and even though boys’ games are much the same, they are punished for them by their elders.”“I cared for nothing but to love and be loved.
But my love went beyond the affection of one mind for another, beyond the arc of the bright beam of friendship. Bodily desire, like a morass, and adolescent sex welling up within me exuded mists which clouded over and obscured my heart, so that I could not distinguish the clear light of true love from the murk of lust.”“
Do we love anything unless it is beautiful? What, then, is beauty and in what does it consist? What is that attracts us and wins us over to things we love? Unless there were beauty and grace in them, they would be powerless to win our hearts.”