Sexual Confessions True Happiness In Saint Augustine's Confessions

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When reading Saint Augustine’s confessions, one might think Augustine derives true happiness from entities such as sexual pleasure and peer pressure with friends. However, if the reader looks deeper into the thoughts of Augustine as he wrote them out, they may see that these actions he performs provide him nothing compared to what God can give him. He states that the action of sinning may provide him with temporary joy, but in the end the action is inferior to delight that God can provide (30). Augustine’s sexual appetite is a recurring theme in his early life, so it is easy to see why one may perceive it as his source of happiness, but it is not what meets the eye. Augustine’s need for sexual pleasure is bad and he knows it, which is why he…show more content…
In his Confessions, Augustine shows that true happiness is achieved only through faith in God, and that other forms of happiness are only temporary.
During the early portion of his life, Augustine loses a dear friend, and it flips his whole world upside-down. He became depressed, moody, and confused. In his confusion, however, Augustine learns and discovers answers to the new questions in his head. The first instance of learning we see is when Augustine is describing the almost incurable pain that plagues him. As he recollects this moment, Augustine states that there was little to nothing he could do to ease the immense emotional pain he is experiencing. However, looking back he knows the solution is God. He states himself, “I should have lifted myself to you, Lord, to find a cure” (60). In other words, Augustine knows God had the answer to his problem, but was too weak
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The death of Augustine’s friend opened his eyes, and allowed him to see what he was missing in life. Prior to death of his friend, Augustine had a gap in his life. However, instead of properly filling this gap with God, he decided to fill it with worldly endeavors and material things. This only worsened his condition in the long run. Not realizing that he needed God just made the gap larger. Upon the death of his friend, he had metaphorically stretched the hole out so much that when it reopened it caused him immense pain. He tried to use material cures to heal himself, but once again “These delights were succeeded not by new sorrows, but by the causes of new sorrows” (60). Looking back, Augustine sees that it takes him an extremely long time to put his faith in God. Even after he states that he should turn to God he turns to the visible world and is once again let down by the results. He even admits, “At the time I did not know this. I loved beautiful things of a lower order, and I was going down to the depths” (64). This is the point he fully acknowledges that the worldly path is leading him astray. Here we see Augustine’s path in life changed for the better. He now can recognize that these failures were a sign to God. These attempts to fill the void in his life didn’t work because they lacked God. The death of his friend was the catalyst that started change in his life.
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