Saturday, December 26, 2009

Augustine's Vision

I've enjoyed my Christmas and I'm just kicking back and resting for now.   But I thought I'd recycle a quote that I put on my Notes in Facebook here.   It reminds me that God is always there for us to wake up to Him and follow Him.   It also reminds me that many people have to catch sight of God more than once before they become followers and even though we may not think that they have heard our confessions of the truth we know, they may already be on the path to life eternal. :-)

Here's a most intriguing quote from Augustine's _Confessions_:
"I examined my thoughts, why it was that I admired the natural beauty of things in the heavens and on earth. What standard helped me accurately judge the changing things of creation and declare, 'This is reasonable ; that is not'? What was it that made me judge, because I obviously did judge? I had found an unchangeable eteranla truth that existed apart from my changeable mind. By degrees, I passed from my awareness of external bodies through the bodily sense to the soul. What I learned from the senses I analyzed with my inward faculties which can internalize facts about external things. Animals can do that much. The reasoning faculty receives what is learned from the senses and makes judgments. I found reason itself to be in me a variable thing.
But my understanding was able to raise itslef to a higher understanding when it pulled badck from thoughts that originate in habit. Withdrawing from the troops of contradictory chimera thoughts, my mind can seek a clearer light and be enlightened without being filled with doubt. The mind cries that the unchageable is to be preferred over the changeable. It knows that an unchangeable does exist . If it did not know, it would not have been so dissatisfied with the changeable.
And thus with a flash of one trembling glance, my mind arrived at 'That Which Is'. In that moment of clarity, I saw Your invisible htings that that can be discerned from seeing what You have made. I could not yet fix my gaze on those things, for my fallen slef struck back. I fell back into old habits of thought, but from that vision of truth I carried away a memory and longing to see more. I had caught a whiff of truth, but I was not yet able to feed on it."
The Confessions of Saint Augustine: Modern English Version, Baker Book House: Grand Rapids Michigan (2005) 121-122.

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