Song of Love

st augustine

This song of love (or canticle) is attributed to Saint Augustine,
a 4th century Bishop.

My love of You, God, is not some vague feeling;
it is positive and certain.

Your word struck into my heart
and from that moment I loved You.

Besides this, all about me,
heaven and earth and all that they contain
proclaim that I should love You.

But what do I love when I love You?

Not material beauty of a temporal order;
not the brilliance of earthly light;
not the sweet melody of harmony and song;
not the fragrance of flowers, perfumes and spices
not the manna or honey;
and not limbs the body delights to embrace.

It is not these that I love when I love my God.

And yet when I love Him
it is true that I love a light of a certain kind.
a voice, a perfume, a food, an embrace;
but they are the kind that I love in my inner self
when my soul is bathed in light that is not
bound by space;
when it listens to sound that never dies away;
when it breathes fragrance that is not borne
away on the wind;
when it tastes food that is never consumed
by the eating;
when it clings to an embrace from which
it is not severed by fulfillment of desire.

This is what I love when I love my God.

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