Quote

A Conversion Story

“Why Not Now?”Confessions (World's Classics)

I probed the hidden depths of my soul and wrung its pitiful secrets from it, and when I mustered them all before the eyes of my heart, a great storm broke within me. Somehow I flung myself down beneath a fig tree and gave way to the tears which now streamed from my eyes. For I felt that I was still the captive of my sins, and in misery I kept crying, “How long shall I go on saying, ‘Tomorrow, tomorrow’? Why not now? Why not make an end of my ugly sins at this moment?”

I was asking myself these questions, weeping all the while with the most bitter sorrow in my heart, when all at once I heard the singing of a child in a nearby house. Whether it was the voice of a boy or a girl I cannot say, but again and again it repeated the refrain, “Take it and read, take it and read.”

…I stemmed my flood of tears and stood up, telling myself that this could only be a divine command to open my book of Scripture and read…so I hurried back to the place where I had put down the book containing Paul’s epistles. I seized it and opened it, and in silence I read…“Not in revelling and drunkenness, not in lust and wantonness, not in quarrels and rivalries. Rather, arm yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ; spend no more thought on nature and nature’s appetites” (Rom 13:13-14).

…In an instant, as I came to the end of the sentence, it was as though the light of confidence flooded into my heart and all the darkness of doubt was dispelled…You converted me to Yourself, so that I no longer placed any hope in this world but stood firmly upon the rule of faith.

~ from Confessions, by St. Augustine of Hippo,

in Devotional Classics: Selected Readings,

ed. Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith

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