On a seemingly ordinary day in fall 2021, as I walked through the frigid air on my way to class on my city college campus, I made the decision to call my mother. I desired to keep her informed regarding the ongoings of my life. After all, I was experiencing a multitude of immense changes, including being enrolled in my first in-person classes since the emergence of the pandemic and reconnecting with friends I had not seen in over a year. Among these changes, perhaps both the most profound and relevant, was my reversion to Catholicism. I called her and pronounced my reversion to the faith she held so deeply.

Expecting rejoicing, I was surprised when she instead became quiet. Turns out, she was thrilled, yet shocked. After all, reverting to a faith I left in high school did not seem like something I would do. Especially when she considered how this decision was coming from a young Latino leftist and progressive who was no fan of anything institutional or authoritative.

Where did this come from?

I read Augustine’s Confessions and in him found a faith that led me to the Divine. A faith that is both beautiful and true. In other words, I fell in love. It was this that made me desire to receive the sacrament of Confirmation, which I did, only a few months later in December.

I found Augustine to be a friend, who served and acted as guide, open to giving advice and clarity. Looking back retrospectively, although it somewhat seemed an impulsive decision, I was experiencing waves of doubt and apprehension that threatened to drown me.

This same apprehension can be found in Augustine. In Book 6 of the Confessions, Augustine, having essentially convinced himself that Christianity was the only place he could find truth, begins to worry immensely over the issue of sexual abstinence – sex having been Augustine’s primary source of short-term comfort.

“Why then do I delay? Why do I not abandon my worldly hopes and give myself up entirely to the search for God and the life of true happiness…?” (Conf. 6.11.19)

Book 6 ends with Augustine caught in a liminal and somewhat paradoxical state filled with confusion. He is both nearly ready to convert yet nearly ready to marry – and plagued by doubts regarding both. Yet, as we know, Augustine later takes a leap of faith and converts to Christianity. He writes, “There is a world of difference between the joy of hope that comes from faith and the shallow happiness that I was looking for” (6.6.10).

It is only by obeying the will of God that Augustine is able to become himself, and I, too, had to simply trust God and revert in order to get where I am now. “Just do it,” God seems to say. “Just trust me and do it.”

But He does not always tell us why we must do something. Similar to how a parent might say, “you will understand when you’re older,” we might realize why God asks things of us only once we are ready. After all, He is “…there to free us from the misery of error which leads us astray, to set us on [our] own path and to comfort us by saying, ‘Run on, for I shall hold you up. I shall lead you and carry you on to the end’” (6.16.26).

It is only through divine grace that any of us, children of God, are able to be where we are now. For God loves us all the more that He offers His grace much more freely than we are able to imagine, and it is our duty to trust in Him. Trusting in God often means making sacrifices for Him, evident in Augustine giving up prestige and marriage for Christianity. But the sacrifices we make for God are often sacrifices we make for ourselves, for God wills our good.

It does not make trusting in Him any easier, however.

Yet, there is hope.

Just as Saint Monica hoped to see Augustine live the Christian life and was able to, so we should hope that the Lord will grant us both peace and rest.