CONFESSIONS For a New Millennium

After Augustine

Thou gavest me the great gift of earthly parents who knew Thee and taught me to know Thee, so that I cannot remember a time in which I did not know of Thee.  But when did I first come to glimpse Thee, not as the One of Whom I was told, but as Thine own unimaginable Self?  It was in Thy House with Thy People when I was yet but a small boy, too young to articulate the difference between Thy Call and the manipulation being attempted by Thy well-meaning servants, but knowing it was not because of them that I needed to respond to Thee by going down to the front, since that was what they told me Thou didst desire.  And so I gave myself to Thee, not understanding Thee very well at all, but understanding enough.  Was it Thy will or mine that moved my feet?  Then I did not even know enough to ask the question.  Now I can ask, but am little closer to the answer, being able to say that it was Thou alone, Thou in me, and therefore my truest self.  But what does this mean?  Thou knowest.

portrait-augustine

Since then Thou hast taught me to see Thee in Thy Word, speaking; in Thy world, hiding; in Thy Sacraments, showing; and in Thy servants, loving.  All these are but beams divided by the prism of experience from the glory which shines in the Face of Thy Son, abiding.  Thy servant John Donne taught me how to say what Thou hadst been revealing to me:  “Learn to see God in everything, and thou then needst not take off thine eye from anything.”  Thy servant Thomas Traherne taught me how to say what thou hadst been teaching me:  “You never enjoy the world aright until you see in a [grain of] sand the wisdom and power of God.”  Again and again Thy servants have helped me to grasp firmly by means of their words what I had sensed from Thee but could not say.  As Francis of Assisi:  “Let all creation greet the dawn and praise the Lord who created Brother Sun to open our eyes.  For all of us would be blind if not for the light of our Lord.”

And now Thou hast given me the inestimable privilege of serving Thee by serving Thy people as Thou didst use these others to serve me.  Taught by their words, I have learned to use my own words to speak, by thy grace and under thy Scriptures, not untruly of Thee.  Thy people now call me Teacher, and by Thy grace I am.  Yet I do but wade in the shallows near the shore of the great Sea of Thy beauty in creation, Thy love in the atonement, and Thy wisdom in Scripture, beckoning them to follow, as even all Thy servants have done of old.  For all this I can but thank Thee and praise Thee and worship Thee; and also for the next wave Thou wilt send to these shores.  Even so, come Lord Jesus.

— Donald T. Williams

Check out Dr. Williams’s newest book, Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016).  Order ($16.99 + shipping) from Amazon or the publisher at www.squarehalobooks.com

book-csltheology-cover