Friday, March 11, 2011

God, the supreme and ultimate point of all human longing (From the "Confessions" of Saint Augustine)

What exactly do I love when I love? What is it that I seek? I asked the earth and it said, “It isn’t I”. I asked all that is in it, but they simply made the same confession. I asked the sea, the deep, the living creatures that creep, yet all of them responded:

“We are not what you love; look beyond us”.

I asked the breeze which blows the entire air with its inhabitants, and it too responded: “It isn’t I”. I asked the heavens, the sun, moon and stars, yet from them too came the reply: “We are not what you love; we are not what you seek”.

And I said to all those things around me: “Tell me then, what is it that I seek?” And they all replied with one voice: “It is the one who made us”. My question was the attention I paid them, and their response to me was their beauty, that which drew me towards them all.

Then I turned inwards, toward my very self, and I asked: “Who are you?” And the reply came back: “I am but a man, look beyond me, go to that which lies even deeper”.

All the beautiful things of the earth, and even that which is most intimate to me, they say but one thing: “It isn’t us that you seek, look deeper, look beyond”. And so I did, and found what it is that I truly love when I love the external things of the earth, and the innermost part of me; and as I inquired, I found the reply: “It isn’t I, but the one who made me”.

What do I love when I love? What is it that I seek? He who is higher than my highest, the one deeper than my deepest, the one more intimate to me than my most intimate thought, God who made me.

- From Augustine's "Confessions", X.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is a condition of the heart." (Friedrich Nietzsche)