Augustine: You, Lord, Are My Judge

You, Lord, are my judge. For even if ‘no man knows the being of man except the spirit of man which is in him’ (1 Cor. 2: 11), yet there is something of the human person which is unknown even to the ‘spirit of man which is in him.’ But you, Lord, know everything about the human person; for you made humanity.

Although in your sight I despise myself and estimate myself to be dust and ashes (Gen. 18: 27), I nevertheless know something of you which I do not know about myself. Without question ‘we see now through a mirror in an enigma’, not yet ‘face to face’ (1 Cor. 13: 12). For this cause, as long as I am a traveller absent from you (2 Cor. 5: 6), I am more present to myself than to you. Yet I know that you cannot be in any way subjected to violence, whereas I do not know which temptations I can resist and which I cannot.

There is hope because ‘you are faithful and do not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, but with the temptation make also a way of escape so that we can bear it’ (1 Cor. 10: 13). Accordingly, let me confess what I know of myself. Let me confess too what I do not know of myself. For what I know of myself I know because you grant me light, and what I do not know of myself, I do not know until such time as my darkness becomes ‘like noonday’ before your face (Isa. 58: 10).

-Augustine, Confessions, Book X, v (7)

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