Confessions: Restless Heart
"But still a mortal, a given portion of your creation, longs to extol you. In yourself you rouse us, giving delight in glorifying you, because you made us with yourself as our goal, and our heart is restless until it rests in you. Grant me, Master, to know and understand whether a person ought first to call on you or to praise you; and which of the following is first, to know you or to call on you? But who invokes you without knowing you? In his ignorance, he might call on the wrong thing. Or instead, are you invoked in order to be known? But how will people invoke a being in whom they don’t believe already? And how will they believe without a preacher?
But those who search for God will praise him, since by seeking him they will find him, and by finding him they will praise him. Let me search for you, Master, even while calling on you, and while believing in you, let me call on you. The faith you gave me—which you breathed into me through your son’s human life and through the service your preacher performed—calls on you, Master." —Saint Augustine, Confessions 1.1
The ancient poet wrote, “All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” (Ps 66:4). Though we are mere mortals, we are a given portion of God’s creation, thus we too long to praise God. Prone to wonder, we praise all the wrong things. So “our heart is restless until it rests in [God].”
What then are we to do first if our heart is to rest in God? Will God answer the one who has the audacity to call first? or the one who has the humility to praise first? or the one who has the wisdom to know first? None of those. Rather, God will respond to the seeker who believes there is something to be found. For if we call out to God from our seeking and believing, God will be found. (Matt 7:7-8; Lk 11:8; Jer 29:13). My restless heart seeks for you God, to finally find its rest in you.
Note: These are my daily reflections as I go through Saint Agustine's Confessions. Unless otherwise noted, I am using Sarah Ruden's translation of the original text, and the NIV.