WHAT DO I LOVE WHEN I LOVE MY GOD?
What is it then that I love
when I love you? Not bodily beauty, and not temporal glory, not the
clear shining light, lovely as it is to our eyes, not the sweet melodies
of many-moded songs, not the soft smell of flowers and ointments and
perfumes, not manna and honey, not limbs made for the body’s embrace,
not these do I love when I love my God.
Yet I do love a certain
light, a certain voice, a certain odor, a certain food, a certain
embrace when I love my God: a light, a voice, an odor, a food, an
embrace for the man within me, where his light, which no embrace can
contain, floods into my soul; where he utters words that time does not
speed away; where he sends forth an aroma that no wind can scatter;
where he provides food that no eating can lessen; where he so clings
that satiety does not sunder us. This is what I love when I love my God.
of Hippo (354-430) from THE CONFESSIONS OF ST. AUGUSTINE, Book 10,
Chapter 6, translated by John K. Ryan. Garden City, New York: Image
Books, 1960, pp. 233-34. Here is the chapter at the Christian Classics
Ethereal Library: www.ccel.org/ccel/augustine/confess.xi.vi.html