Wednesday, September 30

Love Song Without Words - A Meditation on Saint Augustine

I must confess, I've been hard at work on a NEW MUSIC WEBSITE for the past week, hence the trip down memory lane with old writings. But at the same time, I love revisiting old beloved favorites. Here is a beautiful little essay I wrote for an Early Christian Life and Thought class. The assignment? Pick any writing by St. Augustine and analyze. Being that I am a hard-core fan of the Holy Spirit, I chose a small piece that St. Augustine wrote regarding singing in prayer tongues. For any of you readers not familiar with speaking/praying/singing in tongues (one of the MOST AWESOME gifts the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon us), PLEASE feel free to contact me for more information. I'd love to share with you about my experiences and tell you more about His most wonderful gifts. 

This will also be published as a series. I hope by the end of this to have BIG NEWS regarding my music site. Enjoy and please keep me in your prayers!

This is no ordinary love song. Singing in tongues presents a beautiful, language-less love song to the Savior, one that is deeply personal, intimate, unique. It is fitting of Him to whom all praise is due.

Here in the deep recesses of the heart the love song without words is composed. St. Augustine refers to such a song as Jubilation -- Jubilatio. This song of pure, unadulterated praise is that worship most worthy of the King of the Universe, for it is a song for His ears alone. In his discourses on Psalms 32 and 134-135, Augustine reflects on the concept of praise, what it is, and how it ought to be in order to be worthy of God.

 “What reason am I to give you for praising him?” asks Augustine.  The answer is taken from Psalms 135:3: Because He is good. I am to praise God simply because He is Goodness itself. He is goodness self-contained in Himself, needing nothing to perfect Himself or to add to His happiness. He is goodness in His essence, in His being.

As such, He is worthy of all praise, all adoration, and all worship. In His goodness, He chose to create being, create man. What God is in His essence, He imparts a small portion to each person. By grace, He allows humanity to share in His divine goodness by participation. This of itself is a tremendous mercy.

Therefore, I ought to praise Him. I ought to and in fact must praise Him. But how can I, lowly creature that I am, dare approach the throne of the Ancient of Days, hoping to bring something of value to offer Him? I am so radically insufficient, and my praise so hopelessly inadequate of capturing the totality, the majesty, the awesomeness of God.

Yet I still praise, almost uncontrollably. I am so low that I cannot ever hope of myself to rise to His level of praise. But in His great mercy, He descends to those who cannot hope to elevate alone to Him. Far out of the reach of my praise, which is naturally limited by the barriers of my tongue, He loosens my tongue, gives me new tongues, that I may worship without fear of condemnation or inadequacy.   

In His great love and mercy, He does not abandon His child to a state of perpetual helplessness, longing to praise Him as I ought, yet utterly incapable of such supernatural adoration. He sends His Holy Spirit to reside in my heart, giving me the inspiration I need to praise. “He did not wish to remain at a level of praise which could not be reached by those who would praise him.”

How merciful is the Lord, who does not discredit my praise because it of itself is so beneath Him. Rather, He grants His Spirit. This Holy Spirit fills my heart and exults, and I open my mouth and inspired praise comes forth. This praise is born in the Spirit that resides in the temple of my body, wrought in the deep silence of my heart, bringing forth all that is in there that words cannot express. A song of jubilation pours thus forth.

Through Him (the Holy Spirit) I praise God. “But thanks be to him who...has so tempered his praises as to enable both strong and weak to praise him.”  Of myself, I am pitiful, inadequate, and helpless, and all I can do is let the Spirit stir and inspire within me a new song suitable for the ears of my Master. The Spirit of Love thus moves in my heart of hearts, eternally loving the Father and the Son, rejoicing, and I break into jubilation.

To Be Continued... 

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