the confessions of saint augustine

You can listen to the Confessions of Saint Augustine, or you can read the text below.


At the beginning of Augustine’s Confessions is a reference to Pelagius, who shares a belief that is probably common to many even though it is heresy. Namely, Pelagius believed that we were able to achieve our salvation by our own efforts, that we were not wounded by Adam’s sin. On some level it can be seen as a popular image of God holding a scale, our good works on one side of the scale and our evil deeds on the other. Then, whichever weighs more gets us into even. Namely, we earn our salvation because of what we do.

The Christian view of salvation is quite different. We are saved by God’s free and undeserved gift. In no way can we earn our salvation, since the fall and sin of Adam has so damaged us. It is only this free and unmerited gift that enables us to be saved. Even our desire to know God is the result of the free movement of God’s grace that wants us to do so.

And so at the start of the Confessions we read the very famous quote from Augustine: our hearts are restless, O God, until they rest in you. While we have a natural inclination to want to know God, we can only do so because of God’s powerful will and gift of grace that enables us to do so. (For a summary of Pelagius, consider this link from the New Catholic Encyclopedia.)

Questions to Ponder

Where would you describe the restlessness of your heart? What is it you believe causes this restlessness?

If you were to describe the beginning of your life as it pertains to faith, what is it you would say?

Where in your life have you seen God wishing to move your heart to know him?

Previous Chapters of the Confessions of Saint Augustine

The Confessions of Saint Augustine Introduction

Next chapters of Saint Augustine

The Confessions of Saint Augustine Chapter 3-5

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