Die bekende digter Roger Housden haal in sy boek oor die gedigte van ou geloofsvaders en -moeders ( "For Lovers of God Everywhere") 'n gebed van Kerkvader Augustinus aan. 'n Gebed wat hy gebid het n.a.v. die kosbare tyd wat hy verloor het om homself nie dadelik deur God te laat oorrompel nie.
"I CAME TO LOVE YOU TOO LATE"
I came to love you too late, Oh Beauty, so ancient and so new.
Yes, I came to love you too late.
What did I know?
You were inside me, and I was out of my body and mind looking for you.
I drove like an ugly madman against the beautiful things and beings you made.
You were inside me, but I was not inside you...
You called to me, you cried to me;
you broke the bowl of my deafness;
you uncovered my beams and threw them at me;
you rejected my blindness;
you blew a fragrant wind on my, and I sucked in my breath and wanted you;
I tasted you
and now I want you as I want food and water;
you touched me,
and I have been burning ever since to have your peace.
Oor die lewe van Augustinus was daar vele wenkbroue deur die eeue gelig: 'n man wat laat in sy lewe tot bekering gekom het; 'n man wat homself as 'n hedonis kon beskryf wat elke behoefte van sy impulse bevredig het; wat menige vroue bemin het; ook in sy vroee jeug 'n seun by een van die vroue gehad het. Hieroor het sy ma Monica, ook as 'n heilige deur die kerk verklaar, 'n leeftyd lank gebid. Denise Levertov skryf oor Augustinus se soeke na God en herinner haar lesers dat dit eintlik God is wat Augustinus reeds gevind het, lank voor Augustinus dit besef het (... of soos Pascal dit beskryf het: "You would not seek Me if you did not already possess Me."
FOR THE ASKING (Denise Levertov)
Augustine said his soul was a house so cramped God could barely squeeze in.
Knock down the mean partitions, he prayed, so You may enter!
Raise the oppressive ceilings!
Augustine's soul didn't become a mansion large enough to welcome, along with God, the women he'd loved, except for his mother (though one, perhaps, his son's mother, did remain to inhabit a small dark room). God, therefore, would never have felt fully at home as his guest.
Nevertheless, it's clear desire fulfilled itself in the asking,
revealing prayer's dynamic action,
that scoops out channels like water on stone,
or bulds like layers of grainy sediment steadily forming sandstone.
The walls, with each thought, each feeling, each word he set down, expanded, unnoticed;
the roof rose,
and a skylight opened.