I had a comforting thought this week.
This week was the Mid-Winter Recess for the school I’m teaching at now. It’s been a time of breathing, of catching up on sleep, finishing online work for my grad class, and getting a chance to drink copious amounts of coffee and just sit and think.
One of the comforting thoughts I’ve had this week, is a thought that’s been tossing around in my brain for a few months. Sometimes these thoughts need time, time to find other ideas, and time to grow through experiences. This thought was like that. A couple months ago, I finished reading The Confessions of St. Augustine. I’m not telling you this to sound spiritual, actually, anyone who gains anything from reading Augustine’s Confessions is anything but spiritual. It’s a literal wade through the desert of the human soul, and the only way you gain anything from that text is if you find it relatable. The only way you find it relatable is if you are also a frail human, crossed with sins and mistakes, and wandering on this road of grace. Some people won’t get anything out of Augustine’s Confessions, because they’ll simply be beyond that point in their faith. As of yet, I haven’t reached that point, and the frailty of my own soul is rather apparent.
Why am I mentioning this? Let me explain. One of the major ideas in Augustine’s Confessions is that the Holy Spirit of God must change our very desires in order for us to follow Christ. I know that whole “transform your minds” thing, but Augustine showed that idea through the story of how Christ changed his own desires. This had to happen for Christ to heal Augustine’s diseases, diseases of self, lust, ambition, pride, shame, and everything else Augustine struggled with.
I found the idea that Christ must transform us in order to heal us rather profound.
This week, I came across another thought which gave Augustine’s idea more weight. I was in my kitchen listening to this folk band called the Oh Hellos. The Oh Hellos are a band of two siblings whose lyrics are often steeped in faith. They have an entire album inspired by a book by C.S. Lewis. They’re cool cats. Anyway, they have this song called “I Have Made Mistakes”. It’s gorgeous. Go listen to it. They understand this struggle of faith, this constant struggle with the sin of ourselves. They sing this line after they’ve mourned the intensity of this struggle, “Because we are not alone in the dark with our demons”.
This was a profound idea to me.
You know how people say God is always with you?
“Because we are not alone in the dark with our demons”
Augustine’s idea is that for Christ to heal our diseases, He must heal our fallen desires. He must change the very core of our beings. He must heal our demons, and yet? We are not abandoned with those demons, as we are being redeemed. That thought radically comforted me, as I look at my own life and its often frail function of faith.
Take courageous heart. Be open to the work to the work of Christ within you. “Because we are not alone in the dark with our demons”.