The Counsel of Trent

writing is thinking

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Augustine on Time

Skiing was great, Lack Placid was very nice. I look forward to spending more time in the Adirondacks.

This coming weekend I'm going to a Lectio at U.Mass on the Confessions. Part of what makes this a truly Great Book is that every time you read it you notice yet another Great Idea.

I'm responsible for a famous passage in Book Eleven. When I was translating it there was a certain passage that, though difficult and perplexing, was rewarding. Here's how I finally put it:

“But I was divided amid times the order of which I know not. And my thoughts, deep in my gut, are torn to pieces in divers confusions until I flow together in you, purified and molten by the fire of your love.”

As Augustine’s consciousness jumps about past, present, and future he cannot perceive his place on the ordered number-line of time.. I worry about the future lest I should make the same mistake as I did in the past, wait! What’s that up ahead just now, have I seen that before, alas, will it derail my plans for the future? Anxiety bats us around the time line like a ping pong ball.

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