Exercising with Augustine

By Open Eyes

Recently we had a reading at Lauds from a Commentary of Augustine. His words: “The entire life of a good Christian is in fact an exercise of holy desire. You do not yet see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you, so that when he comes, you may see and be utterly satisfied…. Simply by making us wait, he increases our desire, which in turn enlarges the capacity of our soul, making it able to receive what is to be given to us.”

I found the word “desire” running around in my head for a while after hearing this reading. What is it I desire in my life, and how can I increase my desire for a deep relationship with my God? Returning to Augustine’s words I heard the word “exercise” in a different light. Learning to desire God in every part of my life requires training, repeated exercise, gaining strength with each choice I make to put him first in my life, in the things I pay most attention to.

Physical training and exercise require stretching. Augustine talks about the spiritual stretching of “the sack” or “wineskin” to increase our capacity. Life often feels like a “stretching” that I don’t always appreciate. Perhaps though the stretching is what increases my desire for more of God.

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About Open Eyes

I moved to the Community of Jesus in 1977 with my wife and three middle-school children. Now I am 72 and my children are middle aged. I am grateful for my two grandchildren living next door. My PhD in physics led to a career in aviation safety that continues to the present, although at a reduced level of involvement. Surrounded by computers in my home office, I am also part of the team that supports the Community's computer network. I enjoy gardening, both in my yard and in the Community's vineyard. I love to see God's hand in everything around me. I teach high school chemistry for home school and am continually astounded at what God has created from less than 100 elements--the chemist's view (and only three elementary particles--the physicist's view). Although I am slowing down physically, I find God continually providing me with new challenges.

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