Probably one of the things he was known for is saying “Lord make me pure but not yet.” What does this mean exactly? Is this like, to excuse him for making certain unsavory choices before he turns wholly to God? If we prayed that today, would it have a different meaning? Is this even something we could pray? Sorry if I’m not phrasing my question correctly, I had it thought out but now I can’t remember -__- I’m an old lady in this body, what can I say! /_\
Anyway, thanks for your (name removed by moderator)ut!
I think this is the reluctance of a sinner to give up his favorite sin, even when s/he knows it’s the right thing to do. It’s like the alcoholic who is determined to give up the drink “tomorrow” (but not today).
“But I, miserable young man, supremely miserable even in the very outset of my youth, had entreated chastity of You, and said, Grant me chastity and continency, but not yet. For I was afraid lest You should hear me soon, and soon deliver me from the disease of concupiscence, which I desired to have satisfied rather than extinguished.”
I would say, speaking from personal experience (very close to Augustine’s), that it is more a struggle with the flesh than a putting off of ceasing to sin. I believe it was the grip of sin that caused him to say “For I was afraid lest You should hear me soon, and soon deliver me from the disease of concupiscence, which I desired to have satisfied rather than extinguished.” It is difficult for someone with an “obsession” or “a strong tendency” to let go of it. It’s like a love-hate relationship. It seems he was struggling in his youth with what he knew he had to do, but did not want to let go of it at the same time. I believe “Grant me chastity and continency, but not yet” is a poetic form of explaining his situation.
Anyway, the point is that this is the sort of thing he was thinking when he was still messing up. This wasn’t a saintly prayer! So no, you’re not supposed to pray that way. You’re supposed to pay attention to what you’re thinking, to make sure that you’re not praying insincerely like that.
St. Augustine is a great one for saying funny things about what he’s thinking, or what other people are thinking. This kind of stuff shows up in his homilies, and it’s both amusing and sharp.
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