Do you sometimes feel as if you’re wandering?
At times, it’s difficult to see the path we’re on. It may be a path not particularly good for us. It may be a path of sin, yet we don’t want to change our direction–even though there’s a restlessness inside us that says we should go another way.
“For Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.”—St. Augustine
Talk about great sinners! St. Augustine was truly one of them—until he became a converted sinner. . . and a saint.
As Augustine later told it in his work, “Confessions,” his conversion was prompted by a childlike voice he heard telling him to “take up and read” which he took as a divine command to open the Bible and read the first thing he saw: Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, called “Transformation of Believers,” consisting of chapters 12 through 15 – wherein Paul outlines how the Gospel transforms believers, and the believers’ resulting behavior. The specific part to which Augustine opened his Bible was Romans chapter 13, verses 13 and 14:
Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof.
Other philosophers, as well as people he lived around, pointed out that Augustine ought to change the path he was on. One who pushed him toward conversion was his own mother, Monica, who harped day and night, for many years, about his strictly human obsessions.
In “Confessions,” St. Augustine writes about how much he regrets having led a sinful and immoral life, shows intense sorrow for his sexual sins, and writes on the importance of sexual morality.
Most of us are like St. Augustine.
We live in the “City of Man,” and ignore the “City of God.”
Augustine writes: Accordingly, two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self.
Nevertheless, St Augustine believed that God intervenes in the life of mankind by direct action—the action of grace– at certain definite points in time and place.
This is what happens to us, too. Our wandering spirits yearning for ‘something else,’ until we encounter the grace of God—maybe because of a situation, or through a person. This encounter with grace causes us to change our ways.
What a gift is this Grace, this ability to change! We can go from a lost and lonely soul, to one who recognizes the love of God, and yearns to be worthy of it.