Friday, October 10, 2014

Confessions by Saint Augustine (354-430 AD)

This devotion is the last (and 8th) one in the first section, "Preparing for the Spiritual Life", of the book Devotional Classics.  Augustine was known in his day for his eloquence, logic and spiritual passion, and he is known as one of the most significant thinkers in the history of the Christian faith.  In this very deep devotion, Augustine tells of his conversion to the Christian faith and the  mental and spiritual battle that conversion entailed.  "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.  He continues later, "...the higher part of our nature aspires after eternal bliss while our lower self is held back by the love of temporal pleasures.  It is the same soul that wills both, but it wills neither of them with the full force of the will."  

In the editors' summary of this lesson, these words: "We try by sheer willpower to seek the good but we fail, always fail, because the will is in conflict with itself and is in need of redemption."

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