"You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you." (Confessions 1:1)
The book, Confessions, of Augustine is considered one of the literary masterpieces of the Western world - indeed, one of the classics of Western civilisation.
In it are profound and moving prayers which reveal the passion of Augustine for life, his thirst for God, his compassion on his neighbour, and, above all, his love for humanity in God.
Although at first glance the Confessions might seem to be a fairly straightforward account of the life and conversion of Augustine, the work, in fact, is quite complex.
In this tapestry of a great soul are woven the great concerns of every human soul: the psychological impulses that trap us into being centred on oneself, the ethical conflict between good and evil, the religious quest for the love of God.
The Confessions is not the autobiography of Augustine. It is, instead, a deliberate effort, in the nurture offered by the presence of God, to recall those crucial episodes and events in which he can now see and celebrate the actions of the divine providence and grace (in Latin, gratia).
In preparing his Confessions, Augustine had no models before him, for such earlier writings as the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius and the autobiographical sections in Hilary of Poitiers and Cyprian of Carthage have only to be compared with the Confessions to see how different they are.
According to a plan that was clear in the mind and intention of Augustine, in the Confessions he follows the windings of his memory.
It recalls the upheavals of his youth and the stages of his disorderly quest for wisdom.
Peter Brown, a contemporary author about Augustine, has stated that Augustine is close to us less in what he believed than in what preoccuipied him, especially in the relationship between the inner and outer life of a person.
Brown sees Confessions constructed around this reality. Augustine had a great curiosity about life, e.g., the jealousy in an infant, the nature of time, and why he cried while watching theatre. Augustine found amazement in everything, and in his restlessness and seeking was striving to understand it.
In conclusion, Confessions by Augustine would have to be in the 'top 10' books that every literate Christian should read...