Thursday, January 13, 2011

A confession, The Confessions, and ...a pledge?

Life gets busy, and life away from computers does need attention - and we all take time for that. But - maybe you have encountered this? - I actually hit a wall, a problem I was reading about that was so much bigger than me that it almost got the better of me. I was following up on "The People of the Book", which had plenty of references to persecution of the scattered Jewish people. This was troubling, and I wanted to find out more (without reading a history text!). I was so excited when I found "The Book of Abraham" by Marek Halter, reviewed at my good friend Mirek's blog here, and this is where the going got rough, I think. Mirek captures the essence of the difficulty in his review: "Even though Marek Halter did not write martyrology of Jews, it is hard not to think of the family dole as of martyrdom. Most of the history of Jewish exile is the constant escape." This is what I could not understand. I would have to write a book to describe the searching that I have done as a result, but for now I just wanted to point this out. Mirek reviewed a book that he found helpful to balance the picture - see his post here.

So that's my confession. Next I want to mention a new (but old) favorite, from 398AD, that I will review soon: the Confessions of Saint Augustine. It wasn't until very recently, when a friend sent me a passage from this book that that was so powerful, that I searched out a copy to read again - and only then did I devour this book! Why? I think it is because Augustine writes so personally, engaging deep questions as he tries to reconcile spirituality and religion and truth with the reality of his own heart and life. The passage is here:

Late have I loved you,

Beauty so ancient and so new,

late have I loved you!

Lo, you were within,

but I outside, seeking there for you,

and upon the shapely things you have made I rushed headlong,

I, misshapen.

You were with me, but I was not with you.

They held me back far from you,

those things which would have no being

were they not in you.

You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;

you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;

you lavished your fragrance, I gasped, and now I pant for you;

I tasted you, and I hunger and thirst;

you touched me, and I burned for your peace.

I will say more soon! And that is the essence of the pledge. I'll be posting book reviews and other tidbits that interest me once again, every month or so. And enjoying it again! Thanks so much for reading.


Amila Kanchana said...

I read Mirek's two posts you've mentioned too, and 'd like to read those two books myself. Pleas do post about what you found with your researching. And for the Confessions of Saint Augustine, the passage clearly shows why you devoured the book! Thanks for sharing!

Diane said...

Amila, Thanks! And, because you asked, I will try...
but for sure you can expect to hear more about Augustine, and a few other recent favorites.