Monday, October 19, 2009

a prayer of augustine (paraphrase)

The beginning of Augustine's Confessions ("You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you") is well known; less explored is the conclusion of Book One, a prayer of thanksgiving. My loose paraphrase of this prayer is as follows:

I give thanks to you
Lord God
for you are perfection
and in your goodness
you create and rule over the universe.
Everything that you have made
is wonderful and worthy of praise;
all things are gifts from you, O God,
I did not endow myself with these gifts
but they are from you,
and the sum of them makes me who I am.
You are good
and you are my good, and so
I rejoice and give thanks for all good gifts.
My sin is the seeking of pleasure,
the discernment of reality and truth
not in you,
but in my own judgments
and in the opinions of others.
But I give thanks to you, O God,
for you have preserved the gifts that you have given me,
and watched over me as well.
And so I trust that
what you have given me will,
I pray
grow and reach perfection
and I will be with you;
because this too is your gift to me:
that I exist.

(Book One, concluding prayer)


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