|St Augustine & St Monica, Ary Scheffer|
On this feast day of St. Augustine of Hippo, I thought I'd simply quote some lines from the first few pages of book I of the Confessions, in which Augustine asks the question, "What are you, then, my God?" and then answers the question with a poetic cataloging of God's attributes which is, I think, particularly stunning in the Latin and showcases the rhetorical gifts Augustine possessed:
You are most high, excellent, most powerful, omnipotent, supremely merciful and supremely just, most hidden yet intimately present, infinitely beautiful and infinitely strong, steadfast yet elusive, unchanging yourself though you control the change in all things, never new, never old, renewing all things yet wearing down the proud though they know it not; ever active, ever at rest, gathering while knowing no need, supporting and filling and guarding, creating and nurturing and perfecting, seeking although you lack nothing (15-16 of Boulding's translation).
summe, optime, potentissime, omnipotentissime, misericordissime et iustissime, secretissime et praesentissime, pulcherrime et fortissime, stabilis et incomprehensibilis, immutabilis mutans omnia, numquam novus numquam vetus, innovans omnia et in vetustatem perducens superbos et nesciunt. semper agens semper quietus, conligens et non egens, portans et implens et protegens, creans et nutriens et perficiens, quaerens cum nihil desit tibi.Image from Wikimedia Commons.