St Augustine of Hippo: Have You Rejected Your Own Will & Desired God's?

Feast of St Alypius the Stylite of Adrianopolis

Augustine_Square.jpg“O LORD I am your servant, I am your servant and the son of your handmaid. You have snapped my chains. I will sacrifice to you the offering of praise” (Ps. 115.16-17). Let my heart praise you and my tongue, and “let all my bones say, ‘Lord who is like you?’” (Ps. 34.10). Let them speak, answer me, and say to my soul “I am your salvation” (Ps. 34.3).

Who am I and what am I? What was not evil in my deeds or, if not deeds, in my words or, if not words, in my intention? But you, Lord, “are good and merciful” (Ps. 102.8). Your right hand had regard to the depth of my dead condition, and from the bottom of my heart had drawn out a trough of corruption. The nub of the problem was to reject my own will and to desire yours. But where through so many years was my freedom of will? From what deep and hidden recess was it called out in a moment? Thereby I submitted my neck to your easy yoke and my shoulders to your light burden (Mt. 11.30), O Christ Jesus “my helper and redeemer” (Ps. 18.15). Suddenly it had become sweet to me to be without the sweet of folly. What I once feared to lose was now a delight to dismiss. You turned them out and entered to take their place, pleasanter than any pleasure but not to flesh and blood, brighter than all light yet more inward than any secret recess, higher than any honor but not to those who think themselves sublime. Already my mind was free of “the biting cares of place-seeking, of desire for gain, of wallowing in self-indulgence, of scratching the itch of lust. And I was now talking with you, Lord my God, my radiance, my wealth, and my salvation.

—St Augustine of Hippo, Confessions

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