How sweet it was all at once to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose and was now glad to reject! You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me, and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure, though not to flesh and blood, you who outshine all light yet are hidden deeper than any secret in our hearts, you who surpass all honour though not in the eyes of men who see all honour in themselves. At last my mind was free from the gnawing anxieties of ambition and gain, from wallowing in filth and scratching the itching of lust. I began to talk to you freely, O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation. (Saint Augustine, Confessions, IX, 1)
"How sweet it was all at once to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose and was now glad to reject!"
What a great quote. God give us the grace to be glad to reject those fruitless joys.
I wish those sinful desires were fully displaced in my heart. Day to day, I don't find my heart "all at once...rid of those fruitless joys" or "my mind...free from...gnawing anxieties." I wish that were the regular case, but it is often not.
I picked up a copy of Augustine's Confessions a while back. I've been intending to read it.
I agree with you in that my sinful desires are not "fully displaced" either. What I love about Augustine's words, though, is the way they capture what Thomas Chalmers called "the expulsive power of a new affection." The only way to overcome the delight of sin is by a superior satisfaction in God. Augustine experienced that in a definitive, once-and-for-all, life changing way. For me it has not been as once-and-for-all, but I have experienced the same power at work. Jesus really is more satisfying than sin. But I do have to keep rediscovering this.
O the struggle to be like Him brings me often to my knees
There I lay, chained to the former wretched man I used to be
Loathing all things he lusts after from the new heart given me
By the Champion of my Maker thru the Cross of Calvary
Thru the Cross of Calvary
O the struggle to be like Him forms His pure love in my breast
Does not let me make my own way but creates the Father’s best
Counting on His gracious working can I see that settled rest
Void of all plans that my old mind would to me in vain suggest
Would to me in vain suggest
O the struggle to be like Him sends me to the darkest night
Brings within its arms the story of the times I’ve failed the fight
At the point I am the lowest, bursts a Ray upon my sight
Visions of my conquering Savior Who will win me thru His might
Who will win me thru His might
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