This evening I am going to meet with a group of people who will be discussing Books 6-8 of St. Augustine's Confessions, and today I am trying to read Books 6-8 of said book. Actually, I think I read all of 6 last night. I know you will think me a mere Philistine when I say this, but it shows the depths of my affection for these people that I am willing to persevere in this effort just so that I can spend the evening with them.
The group has met twice before, but both times I had some conflict that kept me from being able to be there, so of course, I used that as an excuse for not keeping up with the reading. I tried yesterday to begin at Book 1. I have probably tried to begin at Book 1 at least ten times in the past several years. Once, I even signed up for an online class on Confessions but I didn't get past the first group discussion. Since I really desire to have read this book, I hoped that the current group, made up as it is of intelligent, perceptive, witty and well-educated people, would spur me on to excellence, but so far it has failed in it's purpose.
|I hope I don't offend anyone, but this is|
the absolute worst picture of Augustine (and
Monica) ever. If I saw these people on a train,
I would move to the next car.
As I said, yesterday I tried to get started. I read and read and read and read and after quite a while, I realized that he was still a babe at the breast, and I probably wasn't going to get through all eight chapters in two days. Also, I had a translation that was filled with thees and thous, and while I generally like them well enough, and like them very well in prayers, they were definitely impeding my ability to progress. And again, I hate to have to say this, but sometimes I think that Augustine might have profited from an English Comp I class on unity and clarity, although I think the problem lies in this particular work, as I never have had any trouble reading anything else he wrote.
So here I sit (Yes, I did learn in English Comp I that I shouldn't start a paragraph with so but I am rebelling.), having read Books 6 & 7 in a different translation. It's going well, and it's much more interesting than the part where he was still in utero. It is seriously difficult for me, though, to read through Augustine's tortured thought processes about God, because it's the exact kind of thinking that kept me awake with the horrors from the time I was about 8 until I was in high school, and left all that to think about clothes and boys. I didn't have any doubts about the existence of God or the teachings of the Church, so far as I knew them, but I was almost paralyzed by the implications of infinity and eternity. I mean, where does it all end?
Well, it's time to move on to chapter 8. See you tomorrow.