……you have made us, and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is unquiet until it rests in you. St. Augustine; Confessions
The truth of that is astounding.
Our souls–for, I believe, that is a much accurate word than heart–our souls are so very often unquiet. They churn–they are not still; they do not settle well.
They are very often, very noisy places. Filled with so many thoughts that, if we allow them to, become much larger than the God who created our ability to think in the first place. And, so often, our thinking is so wrong.
I have read Augustine’s Confessions before, but somehow I missed this passage. It may be highlighted in my copy on my shelf, but I’m too wired to stop writing and go find it. I want to sit down with Augustine and tell him that he has captured perfectly, here in Lib 1,1-2, 2.5,5: CSEL 33, 1-5, what I wish I could have said myself.
And so, tonight I borrow from Augustine, and pray:
Oh! that I might rest on Thee! Oh! that Thou wouldest enter into my heart,
and inebriate it, that I may forget my ills, and embrace Thee, my only good. Augustine
Our God–my God–you are my only good. My only good. There is no good in me, and there is no good around me. There is good in my life; that is so very true. But there is also much not-good. And, what good there is, is only there because you are my only good. The good that I am graced with–my children, a job to provide with, a home to live in, the sky, music, sleep when it comes, laughter–all these things are good because they are graces from you, my only good.
That I might rest on Thee! That you would be what inebriates my soul, what a word God! What a word, that Augustine chose. And, not only chose, but recognized the power in that word to produce forgetfulness of ills. But this is not forgetfulness that returns in a matter of hours, once sobering comes. No, this is a forgetfulness that recognizes that though the ills still remain, they are colored by grace. And, changed, even, to some degree, in the light of your sovereignty. Enter my soul, o God. Enter our souls, because that is the only–the only–avenue to quiet our unquiet hearts.
And, tonight, my heart is so very unquiet.
….and you will be exalted.
Oh, have mercy on me and tell me,
0 Lord my God, what You are to me. Augustine
So often my mind turns to your grace, God, and I am grateful for that. Your grace is a ribboned theme through my life. But I also need your mercy. We, each, need your mercy.
We need to know what You are to us.
You do tell us, the nouns of who You are, in your scripture. You are the way. You are the truth. You are the life. You are the resurrection. You are the shepherd. You are I AM. That all-encompassing, incomprehensible I AM. And yet, sometimes we need you to still have mercy on us, and tell us again. To settle our souls. Sometimes we need you to have mercy on us, and remind us who You are.
And, sometimes, we just need you to have mercy on us.
Mercy, please God.
Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”
Say it loudly enough that I may hear. Augustine
Speak to our unsettled, restless, unquiet souls, O God, and speak loudly. Loud enough that your voice becomes a whisper that says “Shhh” to our minds and souls, and that that whisper is so quiet and yet so loud that it drowns out the cacophony of noise in our souls–that drowns out the grief and anxiety and irrationality and illogical and fear. Oh God, especially the fear. The fear can be so loud. We need You to say to our souls “I am your salvation” loud enough that we might hear. Salvation from our sins. Salvation unto you. And salvation from our unquietness.
Hide not Your face from me. Let me die, so that I will not only die.
Only let me see Your face. Augustine
Hide not, our God. Help us to sense your presence, when so often our souls are too loud to be able to. Help us to sense that you are real, that you are near. That you have not abandoned. That you will not abandon. And then, someday, home.
You are our only good.