Book Review: The Confessions Of St. Augustine
I’ve always wanted to read The Confessions of St. Augustine, but found a myriad of reasons for not doing so. My main reason for avoiding this spiritual classic was a fear of not being able to understand one of the greatest theologians in the history of the Church. However, when the Tiber River Reviewer Program presented an opportunity to review this book, I decided to accept the challenge and I’m glad I did!
St. Augustine’s reflection on his battle to reject the attractions of the world and embrace the Catholic faith provides valuable insight for those of us who struggle with this on a daily basis. Using numerous Scriptural references and detailed recollections, Augustine recounts the story of his personal struggle to accept the Catholic faith and reject his hedonistic desires.
While for the most part his writing is rather dry, St. Augustine’s humor shows through from time to time. His classic prayer of “Grant me chastity and continence, but please not yet” humorously illustrates a struggle familiar to many. One of my personal favorites is his tongue-in-cheek response to those who question what God was doing before He made heaven and earth – “He was preparing hell for people who ask questions too deep for them.”
Overall, this book is the story of a man searching for the inner peace that only God can provide. After exploring many kinds of earthly pleasures, he finally accepts the Lord into his life and ultimately ends up being ordained and becoming a bishop. Augustine’s story reminds us that God often chooses unlikely individuals to accomplish His work. While I would not recommend this book for beginners, I would urge all to read it at some point in your spiritual journey. We are struggle with balancing the desires of the flesh and the desires of the spirit and this great Doctor of the Church provides some wise and timeless advice for all!