There’s the sweet tenderness of God that we mortals often forget about. See, it is easy to make Christianity a routine and forget about the deep things that really make it what it is; love, mercy, and a relationship with God.
And confronted with our carnality, it is harder to believe that these things are for us.
That’s what St. Augustine did to me. I find it hard to believe that this was written something around the 4th Century. The brilliance and eloquence of St. Augustine are unmistakable. That 1,600 years later, many people still find his words relatable is a testament to that.
And his brutal honesty. You’ll rarely find a modern biography that is as honest as this. St. Augustine was a pervert whose father wanted him to only succeed in his career and whose mother wanted him to be religious. She chased down Augustine, drilled him with religion and she prayed hard for him. He was in the world and very much didn’t want any of her religion, but she won’t let go; she just won’t. By the mercies of God, it was only when she really let him go and found peace in God that Augustine found God himself.
Christian history is incomplete with Augustine and his work. Martin Luther and John Calvin found in him an inexhaustible source that they could draw from. And many Christians are still doing so today.
But in the beginning and throughout his adolescent life, Augustine will never be a model for anything Christ-like. Never. He was just the kind of guy who would either mock Jesus or avoid Jesus.
But like he said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”.
This is a long biographical prayer, rich with wisdom and profound admiration for God. This is a narrative of how a man loves God and how God loves him. It is the story of how one man can think he’s running away from God, not knowing that you can’t. This is a story of God’s chasing.