Finding God With and Within

Shell in light.

I read a quote by St. Augustine this morning that helps illuminate our path to God. He wrote: 

Late have I loved Thee, O Beauty so ancient and so new. Late have I loved Thee. For behold Thou were within me, and I outside; and I sought Thee outside, and in my unloveliness, fell upon those lovely things Thou hast made. Thou wert with me and I was not with Thee. I was kept from Thee by those things, yet had they not been in Thee, they would not have been at all. 

I keep marveling at this sense of being outside ourselves that he mentions — how God can be found when we go interior, inside ourselves, but how we often flee that level of intimacy and knowing and being known by casting about outside ourselves. 

Or the way, too, he mentions God being with us but our not being with God. 

It is so easy to avoid presence, isn’t it? Presence with ourselves and presence with God. So we go outside ourselves.

It’s such a visceral picture to me — this going outside ourselves — as though we are leaving our real habitat, our real encasement, leaving it as an empty shell while we seek something elsewhere. Except as we are seeking that something else, we’re only a half-being because we left ourselves back with God.

Visceral, isn’t it? 

Can you relate? 

What is it like for you to consider finding God by going inward or finding God right there next to you?