1. (1) Numquid, domine, cum tua sit aeternitas, ignoras quae tibi dico, aut ad tempus vides quod fit in tempore? cur ergo tibi tot rerum narrationes digero? non utique ut per me noveris ea, sed affectum meum excito in te, et eorum qui haec legunt, ut dicamus omnes, “magnus dominus et laudabilis valde.” iam dixi et dicam, “amore amoris tui facio istuc.” nam et oramus, et tamen veritas ait, “novit pater vester quid vobis opus sit, priusquam petatis ab eo.” affectum ergo nostrum patefacimus in te confitendo tibi miserias nostras et misericordias tuas super nos, ut liberes nos omnino, quoniam coepisti, ut desinamus esse miseri in nobis et beatificemur in te, quoniam vocasti nos, ut simus pauperes spiritu et mites et lugentes et esurientes ac sitientes iustitiam et misericordes et mundicordes et pacifici. ecce narravi tibi multa, quae potui et quae volui, quoniam tu prior voluisti ut confiterer tibi, domino deo meo, quoniam bonus es, quoniam in saeculum misericordia tua.
1. (1) Because eternity is yours, Lord, can you be unaware of what I am telling you? Can you be within time when you see what happens in time? So why am I regaling you in this way with so many stories about what happened? It is certainly not so that I can make you aware of these events. On the contrary, I stimulate my own feelings, and those of my readers, toward you, so that we can all declare, Pss 48:1, 96:4, 145:3“great is the Lord and surpassingly worthy of praise.”1 I have said this already, and I shall go on saying it: “I do this because of my love for your love.”2 After all, in the same way we pray, even though Truth tells us, Mt 6:8“Your Father knows what you need, before you ask it of him.” So we reveal our feelings toward you by confessing to you our pitiable condition, and Ps 33:22your mercies bestowed upon us, so that you complete in us the deliverance you have begun. Thus we shall cease to be pitiable in ourselves, and will become blessed in you, for you have called us Mt 5:3-9to be poor in spirit, and gentle, and sorrowing, and hungry and thirsty for righteousness, and merciful, and pure in heart, and peacemakers. Look! What a lot of things I have told you—what I was capable of and what I wanted—because even before that you wanted me to make my confession to you, Lord my God, because you are good, because Ps 118:1your mercy is eternal.
- 1Recapitulation of Conf. 1.1.1. At Retr. 2.6 A. states that Conf. was intended to arouse the human mind and feelings (confessionum mearum libri tredecim . . . in eum [sc. deum] excitant humanum intellectum et affectum); the aim is noted at Conf. 1.1.1. (excitas) and reprised at Conf. 5.1.1 (excitasti) as well as here, “stimulate” (excito).
- 2See Conf. 2.1.1 (amore amoris tui facio istuc).