St. Augustine: Beauty Ever Ancient, Ever New

by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

This passage, one of the most well-known and loved Saint Augustine's Confessions (public library), encourages questions concerning how beauty may lead us to God, as well as how beauty, when misunderstood and misdirected, may lead us far from Him:

Late it was that I loved you, beauty so ancient and so new, late I loved you!  And, look, you were within me and I was outside, and there I sought for you and in my ugliness I plunged into the beauties that you have made.  You were with me, and I was not with you. Those outer beauties kept me far from you, yet if they had not been in you, they would not have existed at all.  You called, you cried out, you shattered my deafness: you flashed, you shone, you scattered my blindness: you breathed perfume, and I drew my breath and I pant for you: I tasted, and I am hungry and thirsty: you touched me, and I burned for your peace (235).