Based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Growing in Grace is a blog by Pastor Matthew Molesky. His posts explore the Bible, theology, ecclesiology, culture, books, family, and life.

A Divided Heart

 Fra Angelico’s painting,  The Conversion of St. Augustine

Fra Angelico’s painting, The Conversion of St. Augustine

Cast thy burden upon Yahweh, and He shall sustain thee.  (Psalm 55:22)

By now, however, this voice spoke faintly. The place to which God was calling me, where I dreaded to go, revealed to me the virtuous majesty of temperance. It was joyous but not drunkenly so, honourably inviting me to come without doubting, outspreading holy hands to accept and embrace me, overflowing with good examples. I saw many young men and women, indeed people of all ages, sober widows and long-lived virgins, all indwelt by temperance--no barren virtue but a fertile mother of joyful offspring, through You, her Husband, O Lord. Smiling with a teasing welcome, she said, "Can't you do what these youngsters have done? Have they done it in their own strength, and not in the Lord their God? He gave them to me! Why stand in your own strength and fall? Cast yourself on Him. Don't be afraid: He won't let you fall. Cast yourself boldly on Him; He will accept and heal you!"
 
I blushed deeply, still hearing the whispering of those past sins; I hung in suspense. Temperance replied: "Close your ears against your unclean earthly nature, that it may die. It tells you of delights, but not those of the law of God your Lord." My heart was divided, self against self. My friend Alypius, sitting nearby, waited quietly for the outcome of my conflict. When deep thought had, from my soul's secret depths, gathered in a heap all my misery before my heart's eyes, a huge storm burst, with a huge flood of tears. To give natural vent to this, I slipped away from Alypius. Solitude seemed better for weeping. I left him, far enough that his presence couldn't disturb me. He perceived my storm; something I believe I'd said had revealed my sobbing voice when I rose. So he, utterly astounded, stayed where we'd been sitting.

A portion of Augustine's autobiographical account of his conversion, from his Confessions, as quoted in Daily Readings: The Early Church Fathers, for August 2nd.

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