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Augustine’s Moment of Conversion (I) [Awakening Faith]

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How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?  (Psalm 13:1-2)

A profound reflection formed in the secret depths of my soul, bringing all my misery before the sight of my heart, and a storm arose in my mind, accompanied by a mighty shower of tears. To let my tears fall as they wanted I ran away from Alypius [friend of Augustine], because it seemed more appropriate to weep in solitude. So I went far enough away that I could not even sense his presence.

That is how it happened, and he knew something was wrong, because I must have choked on my tears when I spoke to him, just before I ran off. He remained where we had been sitting, completely astonished.

I flung myself down under a fig tree, gave myself over to my tears, and the streams of my eyes gushed out, an acceptable sacrifice to you (1 Pet. 2:5). And there I spoke to you, not in these very words but to this effect, for I spoke much: “But you, Lord, how long? How long, Lord? Will you be angry forever? Oh, do not hold our past iniquities against us!” For I felt that I was enslaved by them. I sent up these sorrowful cries: “How long, how long? Tomorrow, or the next day? Why not now? Why does my uncleanness not end at this very moment?” [Continued in next entry . . .]

--Augustine

 

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