Book IX of St. Augustine’s Confessions
Book IX of St - Book IX of St. Augustine’s Confessions introduction. Augustine’s Confessions continue in the autobiographical strain, and it depicts events that follow his conversion to the Catholic faith. His friends Nebridius and Verecundus have also decided to go the Catholic way. Augustine finds it now necessary to end his career as a teacher, but waits until the vacation period to do this, considering that his physical illness would have caused him to have to retire at this time anyway. At this time he continues his prolific reading and writing, adopting a style that hearkens back to the Neo-Platonist version of Christianity to which he adhered. He gets baptised by Ambrose in the presence of Adeodatus and Alypius, and becomes more actively involved in efforts to strengthen the Catholic faith.
Before the death (passing) of Monica (Augustine’s mother), they both share a vision in which each discusses with the other the nature of the afterlife as conceived by the saints. In order to divine the nature of the afterlife, the saints sought to penetrate beyond the natural, physical bodies of the universe and found their destination to be within the self—or within the mind. Augustine and his mother comment on the ephemeral nature of the epiphany that would allow them to touch the afterlife via thought: this would occur only by “total concentration of the heart” (Chadwick, 171). Augustine goes on to posit that this kind of epiphany could continually be achieved if all things were quiet, still and unmoving so that God could communicate with his creation “through himself,” that is, directly. It is in this way, Augustine continues, that eternal life could be achieved, when “the quality of that moment of understanding” (172) becomes the spread throughout all the moments of life. Since this was in effect what Monica had achieved by dying (passing through to eternity to live with God), Augustine refrains from grieving for her but instead prays for her.
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Chadwick, Henry. Saint. Augustine Confessions. Oxford: Oxford, 1991.