What Augustine Means by “Confession.”

Augustine, in his autobiography entitled Confessions, praises God for taking him from a dark and sinful state, to the light of faith in Jesus Christ. He boldly admits his sinful past, and asks God to “come into me.” Confession, then, to Augustine, is both a prayer of thanks for God’s great glory and an acknowledgement of his sins and his human weakness.

Augustine describes his wayward past (for example, thinking lustful thoughts during mass, which he attended as a young man with his mother). He also describes his true conversion to the Christian faith, and his regret for having violated God’s moral laws for much of his life.

Although Augustine came from a good family, he stole things and socialized with bad, young people. He confesses that he believed in a false belief system and engaged in illicit sexual activity. When one of his friends dies, he is overwhelmed with emptiness. Because of the great influence of St. Ambrose, as Augustine enters his 30s, he begins to understand the true, Christian God.

Confessions is both a prayer thanking God and a testament to God’s glory for taking Augustine away from a sinful life obsessed with material pleasures and sin, to one of great joy and fulfillment—founded on the truth of what his mother, St. Monica, had always tried to teach him as a youth.

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