Today’s prayer comes from Augustine’s Confessions, Book 10, Chapter 27: The Everlasting Love (John K. Ryan’s translation).
As are so many of his “confessions” – they are prayers of passion.
Notice how he addresses this “Beauty so ancient and so new” – revealing insight to the eternal and ageless quality of God. And in so doing, he confesses his late arrival to the awareness of requiting love.
Notice how he speaks about himself as a “deformed creature” who rushed headlong to things of beauty rather than the Beauty creator Himself. Nevertheless Augustine knew that God was with him – calling to him with equal passion.
Notice his use of the senses: shattering deafness, flight bound blindness, fragrant breath, hunger, thirst and burning for peace. No wonder his confessions are among the oldest intact prayers from the 4rd Century.
Too late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient and so new, too late have I loved you! Behold, you were within me, while I was outside; it was there that I sought you, and, a deformed creature, rushed headlong upon these things of beauty which you have made.
You were with me, but I was not with you. They kept me far from you, those fair things which, if they were not in you, would not exist at all.
You have called to me, and have cried out, and have shattered my deafness. You have blazed forth with light, and have shone upon me, and you have put my blindness to flight!
You have sent forth fragrance, and I have drawn in my breath, and I pant after you. I have tasted you, and I hunger and thirst after you. You have touched me, and I have burned for your peace.
May I nudge you to contemplate this Beauty ever ancient and ever new, and consider how He is calling…what is He saying to you?