The Intellect as a Path to Augustinian Contemplation

This post was adapted from a retreat given by Fr. Allan Fitzgerald, OSA on Augustine's Routes to Contemplation.

Yet another route of contemplation for Augustine – which is not open to everybody – was his intellectual life accompanied by an ardent heart. I’ll close this series of reflections with a prayer he placed on the last page of his De Trinitate:

I have sought you and desired to see intellectually what I have believed, and I have argued much and toiled much. O Lord my God, my one hope, listen to me lest out of weariness I should stop wanting to seek you, but let me seek your face always, and with ardor. Do you yourself give me the strength to seek, having caused yourself to be found and having given me the hope of finding you more and more. Before you lies my strength and my weakness; preserve the one, heal the other. Before you lies my knowledge and my ignorance; where you have opened to me, receive me as I come in; where you have shut to me, open to me as I knock. Let me remember you, let me understand you, let me love you. Increase these things in me until you refashion me entirely. (De Trinitate XV 6, 50)

Saint Augustine (De Trinitate XV, 6, 50)

These are some of the routes to contemplation that we can find in Augustine. They all merit further study, especially in the light of the contemporary interest in contemplative interior prayer.

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