Today is the feast day of Saint Augustine of Hippo, this theologian from Africa changed the world with his thoughts which continue to provide a back bone of faith. There was a touch of arrogance to his brilliance, he wrote a book correcting his previous works for posterity. However, we remember him because of his love of God and his desire for God.
This prayer calls for a gift of God’s presence in an intimate and transformative way:
Give me yourself, O my God, give yourself to me. Behold I love you, and if my love is too weak a thing, grant me to love you more strongly. I cannot measure my love to know how much it falls short of being sufficient, but let my soul hasten to your embrace and never be turned away until it is hidden in the secret shelter of your presence. This only do I know, that it is not good for me when you are not with me, when you are only outside me. I want you in my very self. All the plenty in the world which is not my God is utter want. Amen.
Augustine loves God with all of his heart, all his mind, and all his body. In his Confessions you have the story of a man encountering God even in the midst of running away from God. While the philosophy of Augustine makes him indispensable, his work reflects a relationship with God that inspires people not only to deeper prayer and reflection but to greater enjoyment of God.
This was a man that taught that the way to interpret scripture was to use the greatest commandment as a guide, interpret scripture in such a way as it encourages people to Love God and Love Neighbor. He taught enjoyment of God and to see and understand and enjoy God in those around us. That’s why he’s remembered, not just for his thought, but for his great love.