“It isn’t with a wavering but with a sure awareness that I love You, Master. You struck my heart to the core with Your Word, and I fell in love with You.
But the sky, too, and the earth, and everything that’s in them–look, from all directions everything is telling me to love You, and never stops telling all people, so that they have no excuse.
But deeper is the mercy You will grant to whomever You grant Your mercy, and the tenderheartedness You will show anyone to whom You’re tenderhearted. Otherwise, the sky and the earth could speak Your praises, but we would be deaf.
But what do I love, in loving You? It’s not the beauty of material things, or any attractiveness of this time-bound world, not the pale gleam of the light, this light here which is so friendly to these physical eyes of mine.
And it’s not the sweet melodies of every sort, and not the agreeable aromas of flowers and perfumes and spices, and not manna or honey on the tongue, and not a body welcome in a physical embrace.
I don’t love these things in loving my God.
But I do love a certain light, and a certain voice, and a certain fragrance, and a certain food, and a certain embrace in loving my God: this is the light, the voice, the fragrance, the food, the embrace of the person I am within, where something that space does not contain radiates, and something sounds that time doesn’t snatch away, and something sheds a fragrance that the wind doesn’t scatter, and something has a flavor that gluttony doesn’t diminish, and something clings that the full indulgence of desire doesn’t sunder.
This is what I love in loving my God.”
–Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, trans. Sarah Ruden (New York: Modern Library, 2017), 281-282.