Too late loved I thee, O Thou beauty of ancient days, yet ever new! Too late I loved Thee! And behold, Thou wert within and I abroad, and there I searched for Thee, deformed I, plunging amid those fair forms which Thou hadst made. Thou were with me but I was not with Thee. Things held me far from Thee which, unless they were in Thee, were not at all. Thou calledst and shoutedst, and burstedst my deafness. Thou flashedst, shonest, and scattered my blindness. Though breathedst odors, and I drew I n breath and pant for Thee. I tasted, and hunger hunger and thirst. Thou touchedst me and I burned for Thy peace. When I shall with my whole soul cleave to Thee, I shall nowhere have sorrow or labor, and my life shall live as wholly full of Thee.
This beautiful prayer of St. Augustine is merely the long version of “my soul followeth hard after thee, O Lord” from the Psalmist. I’ve always had this longing in my heart and, though it was definitely a learned emphasis…my role in my family and community was to be a “man of the cloth”…I think it also revealed a sensitivity in my soul that has not dissipated after six decades. Yes, there are many ways of looking at it, including neurology and certainly neurosis! Perhaps there is that “god spot” in some of our brains that was merely over heated with St. Augustine and with the rest of us who “pine” after the Ultimate. I can’t help but speculate about whether or not we’d ever have heard of St. Augustine if he’d have been prozac’d!
As has been said, “it takes call kinds” and we “piners’ are therefore part of the picture that is being painted. St. Augustine and his ilk were highly attuned to the mystery that lies at the heart of life. This mystery can be overwhelming and so God has kindly offered fig leaves to hide those intense feelings for most people.
Here is wisdom from Ranier Rilke re this mystery, shared with us this morning on the blog by Blue Eyed Ennis on WP:
And yet, Though We Strain
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~
And yet though we strain
against the deadening grip
of daily necessity,
I sense there is this mystery:
All life is being lived.
Who is living it then?
Is it the things themselves,
or something waiting inside them,
like an unplayed melody in a flute?
Is it the winds blowing over the waters?
Is it the branches that signal to each other?
Is it flowers
interweaving their fragrances
or streets, as they wind through time?