Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I am sitting here in the Barnes and Noble cafe with a stack of books and my laptop--life couldn't be more delightful. :) Today my selection ranges from a fat book on St Augustine to Mormonism for Dummies (and no, I am not looking into becoming a Mormon, I just want to know how to address them if I ever talk to one! *smile*). As for the book on Augustine, I must say I already share most of his principles (or, at least, the ones I have studied). Here is an excerpt from a book I'm reading called "Augustine of Hippo" by Peter Brown.

"....'delight' itself is no longer a simple matter. It is not a spontaneous reaction, the natural thrill of the refined soul when confronted with beauty. For it is just this vital capacity to engage one's feelings on a course of action, to take 'delight' in it, that escapes our powers of self-determination: the processes that prepare a man's heart to take 'delight' in his God are not only hidden, but actually unconscious and beyond his control: 'The fact that those things that make for successful progress towards God should cause us delight is not acquired by our good intentions, earnestness and the value of our own good will--but is dependent on the inspiration granted us by God... Surely our prayers are, sometimes, so lukewarm, stone-cold, indeed, and hardly prayers at all: they are so distant in our thoughts that we do not even notice this fact with pain--for if we were even to feel the pain, we would be praying again.' 
        Augustine came to view 'delight' as the mainspring of human action; but this 'delight' escaped his self-control. Delight is discontinuous, startlingly erratic: Augustine now moves in a world of 'love at first sight', of chance encounters, and, just as important, of sudden, equally inexpressible patches of deadness: 'Who can embrace wholeheartedly what gives him no delight? But who can determine for himself that what will delight him should come his way, and, when it comes, that it should, in fact, delight him?' In only a few years, Augustine's Confessions will show that a work of art could spring from such a dictum."

I found myself praising my Lord for giving me delight in himself. Indeed, how can a wicked soul delight in something pure and holy? Unless it itself is pure and holy.... I will say no more--Augustine says it all much better than I ever can. :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Dearest.......
I am not sure what Augustine's quote MEANS??
Can you give a bit more context?
Is the author talking about Augustine's definition of 'delight' before his conversion? or after?
When you have time........

Katie said...

I am thinking delight after conversion as there is no way we can delight in God unless we love him, and no way we can love him unless we are Christians. :) The point of the quote is that humans can't decide what will delight them, but delight is an emotion we cannot manufacture.

Joshua Schwisow said...

Great section from the Augustine biography. Augustine always has some profound things to share. He grounds everything in the character and will of God. This is similar to the famous line in the confessions: "You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless till they find rest in you".

Katie said...

Wow Josh, I LOVE that quote! I have read/heard it somewhere before... Thanks for sharing.