Chapter 53

How True Comfort is to be Sought in God Alone

THE DISCIPLE. Whatever I can wish or imagine for my consolation, I do not expect now, but hereafter. For if I were to enjoy all the pleasures of the world, and were able to taste all its delights (Matt.16:26) they would surely pass away. Therefore my soul can never find full satisfaction or perfect refreshment save in God alone, who is the comfort of the poor and protector of the humble. Be patient, my soul; await the fulfillment of God's promise, and you shall enjoy the abundance of His goodness in Heaven. But if you hanker inordinately after the good things of this life, you will lose those of heaven and eternity. Therefore make right use of this world's goods, but long only for those that are eternal. This world's good things can never satisfy you, for you are not created for the enjoyment of these alone. (S.Augustine, Sermons, 36:6; City of God, 11:2)

Could you enjoy every good thing in existence, this could not of itself bring you blessing and happiness, for all true joy and blessedness rests in God alone, the Creator of all things. This happiness is not of the kind seen and admired by those who foolishly love this world, but such as is sought by the good and faithful servants of Christ, and of which the spiritual and pure in heart (Phil. 3:20) whose thoughts are on heaven, sometimes enjoy a foretaste. All human comfort is short-lived and empty; but blessed and true is the comfort received inwardly from the Truth. A devout man always bears Jesus his Comforter in his heart, and says to Him, `Lord Jesus, remain with me everywhere and at all times.' Let this, then, be my comfort, to be ready and willing to forego all earthly comfort. And if Your comfort be lacking, may Your holy will and just trial of my life be my highest consolation; for You will not always be angry, nor will You condemn me for ever (Ps. 102:9; Isa.57:16)'

Chapter 52Table of ContentsChapter 54