The Heart at Rest
by St. Augustine
ASK THE BEAUTY of the earth, the beauty of the sky. Question the order of the stars, the sun whose brightness lights the day, the moon whose splendour softens the gloom of night. Ask of the living creatures that move in the waves, that roam the earth, that fly in the heavens.
Question all these and they will answer, "Yes, we are beautiful." Their very loveliness is their confession of God: for who made these lovely mutable things but He who is Himself unchangeable beauty?
Too late have I loved you, O beauty ever ancient, ever new, too late have I loved you.
I sought for you abroad, but you were within me though I was far from you. Then you touched me, and I longed for your peace, and now all my hope is only in your great mercy.
You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless till it rests in you. Who will grant me to rest content in you?
To whom shall I turn for the gift of your coming into my heart so that I may forget all the wrong I have done, and embrace you alone, my only good?
From Confessions, by Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.), (New York: Dorset Press, by arrangement with Penguin Books Ltd., 1961).