Grant me to know and understand, Lord, which comes first: to call upon you or to praise you? To know you or to call upon you? Must we know you before we can call upon you? Anyone who invokes what is still unknown may be making a mistake. Or should you be invoked first, so that we may then come to know you? But how can people call upon someone in whom they do yet believe?
St. Augustine of Hippo
Reading St. Augustine’s Confessions have reminded me of all the questions which dart about in my head when it comes to communion with God. I am amazed by how personally applicable the writings of St. Augustine are, as they have been to thousands of others for the past few thousand years. The quote I share here from Book I of the Confessions duly expresses a point of theology which bothers me often. Honestly. Is it possible to draw close to God, when you are still unsure if you believe in Him or not? Can you possibly invoke Him, and call unto Him, if you do not understand Him? When I was little, I was unquestionably strong in my faith. I yearned to be baptized at age 7, because I wanted to be God’s daughter, and my childlike Faith instilled a certainty in His power and authority. I am raised by Christian parents, and I’ve gone to church all my life.
It always annoys me when I see people putting down the beliefs of Conservative Christian teenagers who speak out their Biblical beliefs, because “Christian kids have been brainwashed or cowed into their beliefs”. Something along those lines, is thrown in our faces. It is simply not true. Being a daughter or son of God does not mean brainless, bland belief in Him. Rather, it is very intimate, personal relationship that we must desire. It is a matter of choosing to seek Him, open our Bibles, and start conversing with Him. There is nothing automatically impressed about it. I emphasize this, because it is a common belief in secular circles that the men and women of the church are no more than robots acting upon the will and whims of a Divine being. We must decide if we wish to call upon God, we must choose to pursue Him in order to understand who He is and the truth and glory of His mercy, love, and justice. I mean to discuss this further, but for now I thought that I’d share this quote for you to ponder. I’d love to hear your insights on Augustine’s words. I still struggle with this certain thing, as addressed by St. Augustine here, and I am turning to the scriptures to touch the Truth. It is this wonderful communion and conversation with God which reveals His Grace to us day by day.