11 quotes from ‘The Confessions’ of Saint Augustine Essential for Our Christian Life (2022)

The Confessions is the book through which I encountered a great saint. It is the book I recommend the most when it comes to conversion and the spiritual fight. In addition to being a beautiful dialogue between Saint Augustine and God, this autobiography shows that the saints were also sinners just like you and me. Among his iconic lines, many of us have found our own stories and failings reflected. It has served and will continue to serve as inspiration and breath for the conversions of many.

Celebrating Saint Augustine on this day, I leave you with a reflection as a gallery about The Confessions. May these words keep inspiring us as much today as yesterday in our search for the truth, which is nothing other than the search for God.

11 Essential Quotes From St. Augustine’s “Confessions

1. The times of conversion are the times of God.

How many of us born in a Catholic home failed to truly meet God until adulthood? It’s never too late to turn to Him; God is always with us. We are the ones who were not with Him.

“Late have I loved you,beauty so ancient and so new,late have I loved you!And see, you were within,and I was in the external world and sought you there,and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely thingswhich you made.You were with me, and I was not with you.The lovely things kept me far from you, though if they did not have their existence in youthey had no existence at all.You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness.You were radiant and resplendent, you put to flight my blindness.You were fragrant,and I drew my breath and now pant after you.I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you.You touched me,and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours.”

(Video) Study Guide for The Confessions by Saint Augustine of Hippo

2. It is God who always calls us, who always looks for us, who always takes care of each one of us personally.

How many times do we fail to understand what’s happening in our lives. How many failures, how many pains. Even when it looks like we are alone in the middle of the uncertainty, God is always there. God speaks to us, comforts us and forms us carefully in the midst of the pain.

“O Lord, little by little with most tender and most merciful hand, touching and composing my heart, didst persuade me…”

3. To call out to God also means being ready to listen and to receive what He gives to us. God is never wrong.

How many times we have raised our eyes to the sky asking for something from God? We have entrusted Him with our wishes, our dreams. We have asked Him to lighten our load. Sometimes it seems like He doesn’t listen. But He always does and gives us precisely what is best for each one of us in that moment.

“Your best servant is the person who does not attend so much to hearing what he himself wants as to willing what he has heard from you.”

4. God knows the deepest places of our being, it is He who has shaped it with His very hands.

(Video) What Were St. Augustine's Confessions? And Why Did He Convert To Christianity? (Christian History)

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It’s hard to believe that we are truly child of God, each and every one of us. Even those who do not believe in Him. God knows every corner of our being, every thought, every dream, every desire, every fall, every fight. He is there because his own hands are the ones that shaped our existence.

Who can map out the various forces at play in one soul? Man is a great depth, O Lord. The hairs of his head are easier by far to count than his feeling, the movements of his heart.

5. God shapes us through others: The responsibility of conditional love.

We moms know how much it costs to raise a son. Our hope in God is necessary to form them in freedom and truth. Saint Monica, Saint Augustines mother, teaches us that every pain and fear suffered while raising our kids bear fruit when given to God. We are all called to be saints and every mother is called to raise saintly children up to God.

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.

6. God is our only comfort before death.

(Video) The Life of Saint Augustine explainED

Losing someone we love is so painful that you even wish your own death. Without God we are lost, alone. But He understands that pain and promises us a future encounter without separations in the eternal life. That promise has to fill us with hope and has to restore the joy lost by the physical absence of those who have left.

“But [life] is only as it is related to [God] that it is good and sweet. Otherwise it will justly become bitter; for all that comes from him is unjustly loved if he has been abandoned … Seek for what you seek, but it is not where you are looking for it. You seek the happy life in the region of death; it is not there. How can there be a happy life where there is not even life?”

7. The mercy of God is infinite. We must never get tired of asking forgiveness.

There are days when we want to give up. It is a fight that seems to be lost over and over, and we grow tired of falling and asking for forgiveness for the same old mistakes. God never gets tired of forgiving us, it is we who think we are no longer worthy of His forgiveness. His mercy is infinite.

“Though I am but dust and ashes, suffer me to utter my plea to Thy mercy; suffer me to speak, since it is to God’s mercy that I speak and not to man’s scorn. From Thee too I might have scorn, but Thou wilt return and have compassion on me. … I only know that the gifts Thy mercy had provided sustained me from the first moment. … All my hope is naught save in Thy great mercy. Grant what Thou dost command, and command what Thou wilt”

8. God can only be found by the humble, the meek and the small.

In a world where the highest value is placed on the appearances and possessions, Saint Augustine reminds us that it’s the humble whom God looks upon with joy.

(Video) 05. St. Augustine's Confessions

And many of us friends, consulting on and abhorring the turbulent vexations of human life, had considered and now almost determined upon living at ease and separate from the turmoil of men. And this was to be obtained in this way; we were to bring whatever we could severally procure, and make a common household, so that, through the sincerity of our friendship, nothing should belong more to one than the other; but the whole, being derived from all, should as a whole belong to each, and the whole unto all.”

9. Death is not the end. The true life is next to God.

Eager to be immortal, the human being struggles to avoid death, to prolong youth, and despises everything that reminds him that life is temporary, that the body deteriorates and ends. Saint Augustine reminds us that our true home is Heaven.

Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.

10. Rest and peace will only be satiated in God.

That infinite desire that the human being has in his heart is nothing other than an expression of a nostalgia for God, of that, calling to the eternal. We will only satiate that desire, that hunger, in God.

“Our good is life with you forever, and because we turned away from that, we became twisted. Let us return to you that we may not be overturned. Our good is life with you and suffers no deficiency (Ps. 101:28); for you yourself are that good. We have no fear that there is no home to which we may return because we fell from it. During our absence, our house suffers no ruin; it is your eternity”

11. Rest and peace will only be satiated in God.

The infinite desire that the human being has in his heart is nothing other than an expression of nostalgia for God, of that, calling to the eternal. We will only satiate that desire, that hunger, in God.

(Video) PHILOSOPHY - Augustine

“Man, a little piece of your creation, desires to praise you, a human being ‘bearing his mortality with him’, carrying with him the witness of his sin and the witness that you ‘resist the proud’. Nevertheless, to praise you is the desire of man, a little piece of your creation. You stir man to take pleasure in praising you, because you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

11 quotes from ‘The Confessions’ of Saint Augustine Essential for Our Christian Life (12)

FAQs

What is the message of St Augustine quotation? ›

For love is the beauty of the soul. It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels. Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.

What is Augustine's famous line from the first paragraph of the Confessions? ›

The opening paragraph contains one of Augustine's most famous statements about humanity's relationship with God: "You stir us to take pleasure in praising you, because you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you" (translation, Chadwyck).

How do you quote Augustine Confessions? ›

Citation Data
  1. MLA. Augustine, of Hippo, Saint, 354-430. The Confessions of Saint Augustine. Mount Vernon :Peter Pauper Press, 19401949.
  2. APA. Augustine, of Hippo, Saint, 354-430. ( 19401949). The confessions of Saint Augustine. ...
  3. Chicago. Augustine, of Hippo, Saint, 354-430. The Confessions of Saint Augustine.

What is CS Lewis most famous quote? ›

1. "There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” 2.

Why did Augustine write confessions? ›

One purpose of the Confessions, then, was to defend himself against this kind of criticism, by explaining how he had arrived at his Christian faith and demonstrating that his beliefs were truly Christian.

What is the most famous line in the confessions? ›

Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

What are the major themes in Augustine's Confessions? ›

Themes
  • Sin.
  • Suffering.
  • Language and Communication.
  • Truth.
  • Wisdom and Knowledge.
  • Weakness.
  • Lust.
  • Pride.

What does Augustine say about friendship? ›

My greatest comfort and relief is in the consolation of friends,” Augustine wrote. “Friendship has joys that captivate my heart—the charms of talking and laughing together and kindly giving way to each other's wishes, reading elegantly written books together, sharing jokes and delighting to honor one another.

How do I cite the City of God? ›

How to cite “City of God” (movie)
  1. APA. Lund, K., & Meirelles, F. (2002). City of God. Miramax.
  2. Chicago. Lund, Kã¡tia, and Fernando Meirelles. 2002. City of God. United States: Miramax.
  3. MLA. Lund, Kã¡tia, and Fernando Meirelles. City of God. Miramax, 2002.

What does CS Lewis say in Mere Christianity? ›

“As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on thing and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.” “Nothing you have not given away will ever really be yours.”

What does CS Lewis say about faith? ›

Lewis Quotes On Faith. “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” —Is Theology Poetry?

What sins did Augustine commit? ›

As a youth, Augustine once stole pears from an orchard; even though he had no need of the pears, already having his own, and never ate them, he nevertheless enjoyed the sin: 'What an abomination!

Why should we read Confessions? ›

Confessions also includes meditations on the nature of God, nature of humans, memory, time, creation, and more. Reading Confessions may prompt the reader to consider his or her own spiritual journey. Encountering Augustine's story of his dramatic turn to God may be an invitation to prayer and spiritual reflection.

How did Augustine convert to Christianity? ›

In late August of 386, at the age of 31, having heard of Ponticianus's and his friends' first reading of the life of Anthony of the Desert, Augustine converted to Christianity. As Augustine later told it, his conversion was prompted by hearing a child's voice say "take up and read" (Latin: tolle, lege).

How can I impress my crush quotes? ›

I'll be yours forever, just tell me when to start. Sometimes I just can't ignore the way I feel when I see you smile. It's amazing how crazy I feel when my phone vibrates and I'm, begging it to be you. When I see you, I admit I start to lose my grip and all of my cool.

How high a price we pay for the burden of habit I am fitted for life here where I do not want to be I want to live there but am unfit? ›

Preview — Confessions by Augustine of Hippo. “How high a price we pay for the burden of habit! I am fitted for life here where I do not want to be, I want to live there but am unfit for it, and on both counts I am miserable.” “The mind commands the body and is instantly obeyed.

What is the main idea of Confessions? ›

In Confessions, Augustine struggles with the nature and what he calls the "image" of God up until his conversion. The Catholic conception of the limitlessness, omnipotence, and complete benevolence of God was a somewhat novel approach to the Supreme Being at this point in history.

What is the major concept of Augustine? ›

According to Augustine, the earth was brought into existence ex nihilo by a perfectly good and just God, who created man. The earth is not eternal; the earth, as well as time, has both a beginning and an end. Man, on the other hand, was brought into existence to endure eternally.

What are two major themes of Confessions Book XI? ›

Confessions
  • By Theme.
  • Time.
  • Inwardness.
  • Wickedness and Evil.

What does Augustine argue are the two things necessary for a happy life? ›

First of all, true happiness requires a perfect knowledge of God, which we cannot yet have in this life. Secondly, blessedness requires an incorruptible and immortal body.

Why does Augustine hold so tightly to his grief over the death of his friend? ›

Augustine is shaken by his friend's conversion but still refuses to see the message God is sending. Augustine's description of his grief is familiar to anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one. But Augustine's excessive grief becomes a sin. He revels in his own misery, weeping inconsolably over his friend.

Who was his dearest friend the person responsible for his conversion? ›

He was a lifelong friend of Augustine of Hippo and joined him in his conversion (in 386; Confessions 8.12.
...
Alypius of Thagaste.
Saint Alypius of Thagaste
Died5th century
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church
Canonized1584 by Pope Gregory XIII
FeastAugust 15
2 more rows

What are the teachings of St Augustine? ›

In his struggle against evil, Augustine believed in a hierarchy of being in which God was the Supreme Being on whom all other beings, that is, all other links in the great chain of being, were totally dependent. All beings were good because they tended back toward their creator who had made them from nothing.

What does St Augustine say about humility? ›

One who is poor in spirit, you see, is humble; and God hears the groans of the humble and doesn't despise their prayers." - Saint Augustine (Sermon 53A). "Certainly, even the impious and unjust seek God, so that after they have found Him they may no more be impious or unjust.

What does Augustine say about friendship? ›

My greatest comfort and relief is in the consolation of friends,” Augustine wrote. “Friendship has joys that captivate my heart—the charms of talking and laughing together and kindly giving way to each other's wishes, reading elegantly written books together, sharing jokes and delighting to honor one another.

Who said there is no saint without a past no sinner without a future? ›

Quote by St. Augustine: “There is no saint without a past, no sinner wit...”

Why is St Augustine important to Christianity? ›

Augustine is perhaps the most significant Christian thinker after St. Paul. He adapted Classical thought to Christian teaching and created a powerful theological system of lasting influence. He also shaped the practice of biblical exegesis and helped lay the foundation for much of medieval and modern Christian thought.

What is self for Augustine in your own words? ›

Augustine's sense of self is his relation to God, both in his recognition of God's love and his response to it—achieved through self-presentation, then self-realization. Augustine believed one could not achieve inner peace without finding God's love.

What are the major themes in Augustine's Confessions? ›

Themes
  • Sin.
  • Suffering.
  • Language and Communication.
  • Truth.
  • Wisdom and Knowledge.
  • Weakness.
  • Lust.
  • Pride.

What is a quote for humility? ›

"The greatest friend of truth is Time, her greatest enemy is Prejudice, and her constant companion is Humility." "Humility is the ability to give up your pride and still retain your dignity." "Humility isn't denying your strengths; it's being honest about your weaknesses." "I always say be humble but be firm.

Who said humility is the mother of all virtues? ›

Humility is the mother of all virtues; purity, charity and obedience. It is in being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent. If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.

What is humility according to the Saints? ›

"Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance." - Saint Augustine. "Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues." - Confucius. "We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility."

What does Augustine argue are the two things necessary for a happy life? ›

First of all, true happiness requires a perfect knowledge of God, which we cannot yet have in this life. Secondly, blessedness requires an incorruptible and immortal body.

Why does Augustine hold so tightly to his grief over the death of his friend? ›

Augustine is shaken by his friend's conversion but still refuses to see the message God is sending. Augustine's description of his grief is familiar to anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one. But Augustine's excessive grief becomes a sin. He revels in his own misery, weeping inconsolably over his friend.

Who was his dearest friend the person responsible for his conversion? ›

He was a lifelong friend of Augustine of Hippo and joined him in his conversion (in 386; Confessions 8.12.
...
Alypius of Thagaste.
Saint Alypius of Thagaste
Died5th century
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church
Canonized1584 by Pope Gregory XIII
FeastAugust 15
2 more rows

What does every saint has a past every sinner has a future mean? ›

This quote is all about the good and bad of humanity, and how, as humans, we can never totally escape either. The past of the saint in the quote is implied to be a bad past, a past marked with sin. Likewise, the future of the sinner is implied to be a good future, filled with redemption.

Who said every saint has a past every sinner has a future? ›

In its order the SC bench quoted Oscar Wilde, saying, “The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future”.

What does no saints without sinners mean? ›

This quote states that everyone who has been declared a Saint was, at one time, something less than saintly. This is a word of encouragement, that every person who has been made a saint was once a normal person like the rest of us, that no one is born into sainthood.

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(Christian Sermons and Audio Books)

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