Yesterday I spoke of St. Monica, whose steadfast attention and prayer is generally seen as the impetus for the conversion of her son who became St. Augustine. A brilliant character, Augustine did everything with rigor – wild living no less than the intensity of religious fundamentalism after his conversion. One commentator speaks of him this way: “Augustine is still acclaimed and condemned in our day. He is a prophet for today, trumpeting the need to scrap escapisms and stand face-to-face with personal responsibility and dignity.”
Wherever one stands – whether critic or supporter of Augustine’s teaching – it must be acknowledged that in his writings that speak of his relationship with God, his sincerity and love are profound. Here is my favorite:
Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new; late have I loved you! You were within me and I outside…You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and now I burn for your peace.