For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God — 1 Thessalonians 4.3–5

By Augustine of Hippo (354-430 C.E.)

What delighted me more, except to love and be loved? But, the moderate relation of mind to mind was not maintained according to the bright bond of friendship. Rather, the mists of slimy lust of the flesh and of the bubbling froth of puberty rose like hot breath clouding and darkening my heart. It is thus not possible to distinguish the serenity of love from the dark mist of lust.

[Lord,] I moved farther from you and you permitted it. Through my sexual sins, I was scattered and poured out, and my happiness was dissipated; and you kept silent. O how late came my joy! You were silent then, and I still wandered far from you, through more and more sterile seeds of sorrow; proud in my debasement; disturbed in my weariness.

Your hand can blunt the thorns which have no place in your paradise. For your omnipotence is never far from us, even when we are far removed from you. Or I might have listened more carefully to your voice thundering from the clouds; I might have more happily awaited your embraces.

But miserable person that I was, I boiled over and left you, following the violence of my flooding passions. I broke the bonds of your lawful restrictions yet did not escape your punishments. What mortal can?

You were ever present, mercifully angry and befouling all my illicit pleasures with most bitter aversions, so that I might seek to enjoy inoffensive pleasure. Where could I have found this? Certainly not in anything outside of you, O Lord, not outside of you. 

To whom am I telling these things? Not to you O my God; rather, I tell them before you to my own kind, to the human race, no matter how few men may chance upon these pages. For what reason? So that I, and whoever reads this, may realize out of what depths one must cry to you. What is closer to your ears than a heart that is penitent and a life founded on faith?

O God, you are the one, true, and good Lord of your field, which is my heart.

Today’s Reading
Proverbs 25 (Listen – 2:56)
1 Thessalonians 4 (Listen – 2:24)