Several Christian authors have described unforgettable life-changing moments, but no one but St. Augustine has described his whole life in depth and detail― from an infant suckling at his mother’s breast, to an old man on his deathbed, weeping in meditation. With unparalleled frankness, he revealed his actions and ideas, his perplexities and struggles― intellectual, spiritual, and physical―to his contemporaries and readers.

I have studied Augustine for over fifty years, finding in this passionate and thoughtful man a lifelong companion from my youth (impetuous, longing, seeking, “dragged by my own desires” [“cum et me cupiditatibus raperes” Confessions (conf.) 5.8]) to old age, in which I am learning from his practice of discerning, in meditation, the inside of the apparently random and chaotic events and circumstances of life, a rich and impeccable design he called God’s leading. I am “walking along the road. . .”

“. . . one is not only instructed so as to see you [God]. . .but also so as to grow strong enough to hold you, and the one who cannot see you for the distance, may yet walk along the road by which he will arrive and see you and hold you”

(“non solum admoneatur ut uideat, sed etiam sanetur ut teneat, et qui de longinquo uidere non potent, uiam tamen ambulet, qua ueniat et teneat” conf. 7.21).