To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.
Once for all, then, a short precept is given thee: Love, and do what thou wilt: whether thou hold thy peace, through love hold thy peace; whether thou cry out, through love cry out; whether thou correct, through love correct; whether thou spare, through love do thou spare: let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good.
Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.
I held my heart back from positively accepting anything, since I was afraid of another fall, and in this condition of suspense I was being all the more killed.
If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don't like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.
It’s not in the book or in the writer that readers discern the truth of what they read; they see it in themselves, if the light of truth has penetrated their minds.
The peace of the celestial city is the perfectly ordered and harmonious enjoyment of God, and of one another in God. (City of God, Book 19)
There can only be two basic loves... the love of God unto the forgetfulness of self, or the love of self unto the forgetfulness and denial of God.
Let the Lord your God be your hope – seek for nothing else from him, but let him himself be your hope. There are people who hope from him riches or perishable and transitory honours, in short they hope to get from God things which are not God himself.
Life is a misery, death an uncertainty. Suppose it steals suddenly upon me, in what state shall I leave this world? When can I learn what I have here neglected to learn? Or is it true that death will cut off and put an end to all care and all feeling? This is something to be inquired into.But no, this cannot be true. It is not for nothing, it is not meaningless that all over the world is displayed the high and towering authority of the Christian faith. Such great and wonderful things would never have been done for us by God, if the life of the soul were to end with the death of the body. Why then do I delay? Why do I not abandon my hopes of this world and devote myself entirely to the search for God and for the happy life?
For you [God] are infinite and never change. In you 'today' never comes to an end: and yet our 'today' does come to an end in you, because time, as well as everything else, exists in you. If it did not, it would have no means of passing. And since your years never come to an end, for you they are simply 'today'...But you yourself are eternally the same. In your 'today' you will make all that is to exist tomorrow and thereafter, and in your 'today' you have made all that existed yesterday and for ever before.
No one should be ashamed to admit that they do not know what they do not know, in case while feigning knowledge, they come to deserve to never know.
Free curiosity has greater power to stimulate learning than rigorous coercion. Nevertheless, the free ranging flux of curiosity is channeled by discipline under Your Law.
I probably felt more resentment for what I personally was to suffer than for the wrong they were doing to anyone and everyone. But at that time I was determined not to put up with badly behaved people more out of my own interest than because I wanted them to become good people.
Time takes no holiday. It does not roll idly by, but through our senses works its own wonders in the mind. Time came and went from one day to the next; in its coming and its passing it brought me other hopes and other memories. [quoted in Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo, p. 54]
What madness, to love a man as something more than human! I lived in a fever, convulsed with tears and sighs that allowed me neither rest nor peace of mind. My soul was a burden, bruised and bleeding. It was tired of the man who carried it, but I found no place to set it down to rest. Neither the charm of the countryside nor the sweet scents of a garden could soothe it. It found no peace in song or laughter, none in the company of friends at table or in the pleasures of love, none even in books or poetry. Everything that was not what my friend had been was dull and distasteful. I had heart only for sighs and tears, for in them alone I found some shred of consolation.
Do they desire to join me in thanksgiving when they hear how, by your gift, I have come close to you, and do they pray for me when they hear how I am held back by my own weight? ...A brotherly mind will love in me what you teach to be lovable, and will regret in me what you teach to be regrettable. This is a mark of a Christian brother's mind, not an outsider's--not that of 'the sons of aliens whose mouth speaks vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of iniquity' (Ps. 143:7 f.). A brotherly person rejoices on my account when he approves me, but when he disapproves, he is loving me. To such people I will reveal myself. They will take heart from my good traits, and sigh with sadness at my bad ones. My good points are instilled by you and are your gifts. My bad points are my faults and your judgements on them. Let them take heart from the one and regret the other. Let both praise and tears ascend in your sight from brotherly hearts, your censers. ...But you Lord...Make perfect my imperfections
it is a higher glory... to stay war itself with a word, than to slay men with the sword, and to procure or maintain peace by peace, not by war.
Augustine taught that true freedom is not choice or lack of constraint, but being what you are meant to be. Humans were created in the image of God. True freedom, then, is not found in moving away from that image but only in living it out.
How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose..! You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place.... O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation.
[Y]ou are not ashamed of your sin [in committing adultery] because so many men commit it. Man's wickedness is now such that men are more ashamed of chastity than of lechery. Murderers, thieves, perjurers, false witnesses, plunderers and fraudsters are detested and hated by people generally, but whoever will sleep with his servant girl in brazen lechery is liked and admired for it, and people make light of the damage to his soul. And if any man has the nerve to say that he is chaste and faithful to his wife and this gets known, he is ashamed to mix with other men, whose behaviour is not like his, for they will mock him and despise him and say he's not a real man; for man's wickedness is now of such proportions that no one is considered a man unless he is overcome by lechery, while one who overcomes lechery and stays chaste is considered unmanly.
Can human folly harbour a more arrogant or ungrateful thought than the notion that whereas God makes man beautiful in body, man makes himself pure in heart?
The good Christian should beware of mathematicians. The danger already exists that mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and confine man in the bonds of Hell.
Oh! that I might repose on Thee! Oh! that Thou wouldest enter into my heart, inebriate it, that I may forget my ills, and embrace Thee, my sole good?
When spirits fall, their darkness is revealed, for they are stripped of the garment of your light. By the misery and restlessness which they then suffer you make clear to us how noble a being is your rational creation, for nothing less than yourself suffices to give it rest and happiness. This means that it cannot find them in itself. For you, O God, will shine on the darkness about us. From you proceeds our garment of light, and our dusk shall be noonday.
But I was immobilized—less by another’s static imposition than by my own static will. For the enemy had in thrall my power to choose, which he had used to make a chain for binding me. From bad choices an urge arises; and the urge, yielded to, becomes a compulsion; and the compulsion, unresisted, becomes a slavery—each link in this process connected with the others, which is why I call it a chain—and that chain had a tyrannical grip around me. The new will I felt stirring in me, a will to 'give you free worship' and enjoy what I yearned for, my God, my only reliable happiness, could not break away from the will made strong by long dominance. Two wills were mine, old and new, of the flesh, of the spirit, each warring on the other, and between their dissonances was my soul disintegrating.
I am no more than a child, but my Father lives for ever and I have a Protector great enough to save me.
Purity both of the body and the soul rests on the steadfastness of the will strengthened by God's grace, and cannot be forcibly taken from an unwilling person.