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Home > Free Essays & Book Reports > Philosophy > Augustine's Confessions Essay

Augustine's Confessions Essay

In the Confessions, by Saint Augustine, Augustine addressed himself articulately and passionately to the persistent questions that stirred the minds and hearts of men since time began. The Confessions tells a story in the form of a long conversion with God. Through this conversion to Catholic Christianity, Augustine encounters many aspects of love. These forms of love help guide him towards an ultimate relationship with God. His restless heart finally finds peace and rest in God at the end of The Confessions. Augustine finds many ways in which he can find peace in God. He is genuinely sorry for having turned away from God, the source of peace and happiness. Augustine is extremely thankful for having been given the opportunity to live with God. Augustine uses love as his gate to Gods grace. Throughout The Confessions, love and wisdom, the desire to love and be loved, and his love for his concubine, are all driving forces for Augustines desire to find peace in God. The death of his friend upsets him deeply, but also allows him to pursue God to become a faithful Christian. Augustine often experiences darkness, blindness, and confusion while attempting to find rest in God, but he knows that when he eventually finds him his restless heart will be saved. Augustine started out in childhood with a restless heart because he had to live in two different worlds. These worlds consisted of that of his mothers religious faith, and the world of everything else. These two worlds confused and disturbed Augustine as a child. In his mothers world, talk consisted of Christ the Savior and about the mighty god who helps us especially to go to heaven. In the other world, talk was about achieving. It seems as if Augustine felt that if he were to live in both of these worlds, his life would turn out to be nothing. He believed he would not accomplish anything he would be remembered for. He became unhappy with the idea of his life amounting to nothing. This is why Augustine turned to love. He felt that love might help him have a direct purpose in life and would help him through his conversion. Love should not be that of evil. Saint Augustine searched for the answer of a question that asked if love reaches out hopelessly and harmfully, how can it turn around to be productive and wholesome to the human soul? Love became a necessity for all people. For Augustine, the answer to this question was love. The first love must be for the love of God in Augustines mind. It must come before all other forms of love. Augustine states that, The thought of you stirs him so deeply that he cannot be content unless he praises you, because you made us for yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in you (I, 1). Augustine talks of many different forms of love. Another form that he talks about and demonstrates many times in The Confessions is the desire to love and to be loved. Augustines relation to his mistress focuses on the problem of restless loves, while showing that Augustine had the desire to love and the desire to be loved. For one thing, he went to Carthage wanting to be in love. He evidently was not in Carthage long before he found his mistress. Many young men stayed with a woman until the time came to marry them back then. This is what Augustine did. He states that, In those days I lived with a woman, not my lawful wedded wife but a mistress whom I had chosen for no special reason but that my restless passions had alighted on her. But she was the only one and I was faithful to her (IV, 4). Wisdom itself meant that the one true order of the world is what makes everything stick together. Augustine later recognized this as Gods truth and word, by which God had made all things. This wisdom came into the world as Christ. Augustines conversion is clear in outline and was greatly influenced by different variations of love. From childhood he had loved the name of Christ and associated with his mother about this and about her love for him. Also, when he read Cicero it summoned him to embrace the truth and love the wisdom of knowing the truth. He later experienced renewed love for the church and for Catholic things from Ambrose. Once God had come to him in compelling love, his surrender to a new life simply replaced, if it did not completely abolish, the old tormented division. The death of a very close friend of Augustines made him realize that all love should be rooted in God. All our love starts with Gods seed, and over time, new branches of love will grow and flourish. Augustines friend became critically ill with a fever. While he lay unconscious, his friend was baptized a Christian. Eventually, Augustines friend passed away and Augustine felt extreme remorse and grief. Augustine reflected that all human love is destined to perish unless this love is grounded in the eternal God who never changes. While love exists for those individual souls who please us, this love should always have an origin from God. All these themes of love helped and guided Augustine to his conversion. His conversion was the discovery of a new self and the discovery of the new world he found through this conversion. The conversion taught him truth. Augustine discovered the redirection of his scattered loves first by waking to an overwhelming desire to find the truth, especially about his personal situation. His desire to know wisdom, which was activated by Cicero, brought about a new love for Christ, the Word or truth of God. Full engagement with the love of Christ was still yet to come for Augustine. His mind was still not at peace or satisfied with any one direction. Probably the most important and influential form of love that Augustine had was love for God and love for Christ. Augustine started to realize the important roles that Christ and God played in his life. Augustine saw a whole new realm and he opened his life up to God more and more each day by talking to him and letting him now that he loved him very much. Augustine states, Then, O Lord, you laid your most gentle, most merciful finger on my heart and set my thoughts in order, for I began to realize that I believed countless things which I had never seen or which I had taken place when I was not there to see (VI, 5). Adhering to God as loves priority proved a more extended way than he had imagined. It helped to shape his life, his mind and his beliefs. He never realized until now what a huge difference it makes in ones life when it is opened up to love and love of Christ. The answer lies in Gods grace for Augustine. These answers are to his utmost difficult questions on life and faith. The subtle and cunning loves of the heart had defined Augustines journey from the first. At no time in his life had he been without love, but he had loved in scattered, hidden, and conflicting ways. He had loved Monica. He had loved the image and name of Christ, he even at one point loved evil, which scared him. Augustine felt the need to redirect his love and this redirection would lead him in the way and light of God. Augustine seems to be dissatisfied with himself and his need for God. Through The Confessions he leaves himself and his past to praising God and loving him. Augustine hopes to teach others about that love which God placed in him that led him to an eternal relationship with God. All of Augustines loves in turn became love of Christ. Although Augustine might not have realized this, it is obviously true. At first he was redirecting his loves directly to Christ, but finally he realized all his love was for Christ. Augustine found a place in God that he had never imagined could happen. His guilty restless heart finally found rest in God. The Confessions is the story of a conversion. This conversion took place in the garden; a conversion that took place from the time he read Cicero at age eighteen; a conversion that took place across his whole life. The story was not just of having arrived at a certain point, but also of the long way around to get there. Love played a significant role in this conversion. The old restless heart that Augustine once had finally found peace and rest in God. It helped guide him towards God and Christ in a positive way that it influenced the rest of his life. In the Confessions, by Saint Augustine, Augustine addressed himself articulately and passionately to the persistent questions that stirred the minds and hearts of men since time began. The Confessions tells a story in the form of a long conversion with God. Through this conversion to Catholic Christianity, Augustine encounters many aspects of love. These forms of love help guide him towards an ultimate relationship with God. His restless heart finally finds peace and rest in God at the end of The Confessions. Augustine finds many ways in which he can find peace in God. He is genuinely sorry for having turned away from God, the source of peace and happiness. Augustine is extremely thankful for having been given the opportunity to live with God. Augustine uses love as his gate to Gods grace. Throughout The Confessions, love and wisdom, the desire to love and be loved, and his love for his concubine, are all driving forces for Augustines desire to find peace in God. The death of his friend upsets him deeply, but also allows him to pursue God to become a faithful Christian. Augustine often experiences darkness, blindness, and confusion while attempting to find rest in God, but he knows that when he eventually finds him his restless heart will be saved. Augustine started out in childhood with a restless heart because he had to live in two different worlds. These worlds consisted of that of his mothers religious faith, and the world of everything else. These two worlds confused and disturbed Augustine as a child. In his mothers world, talk consisted of Christ the Savior and about the mighty god who helps us especially to go to heaven. In the other world, talk was about achieving. It seems as if Augustine felt that if he were to live in both of these worlds, his life would turn out to be nothing. He believed he would not accomplish anything he would be remembered for. He became unhappy with the idea of his life amounting to nothing. This is why Augustine turned to love. He felt that love might help him have a direct purpose in life and would help him through his conversion. Love should not be that of evil. Saint Augustine searched for the answer of a question that asked if love reaches out hopelessly and harmfully, how can it turn around to be productive and wholesome to the human soul? Love became a necessity for all people. For Augustine, the answer to this question was love. The first love must be for the love of God in Augustines mind. It must come before all other forms of love. Augustine states that, The thought of you stirs him so deeply that he cannot be content unless he praises you, because you made us for yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in you (I, 1). Augustine talks of many different forms of love. Another form that he talks about and demonstrates many times in The Confessions is the desire to love and to be loved.

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