Early on in his “Confessions”, St. Augustine writes “For Thou hast formed us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless, till they rest in Thee.” In that one sentence, he sums up mankind’s quest for happiness. It is our search for that elusive “thing”, which will make all the difference in the world to us. Some of us think of it in terms of fame, and popularity, fortune and material goods, that inner urge that we translate into physical gratification, whether sex, drugs or alcohol. Whatever “it” is, we are sure that once obtained, we will truly be happy.

 How confused we then are, when some of “it” is actually possessed, is experienced, and we don’t feel any closer to that elusive goal. Something is wrong. Why do I feel the same way as before, only worse? Maybe I didn’t get enough of it. And so, our quest continues. We begin anew to strive for more of the same, but the result continues to leave us empty and unfulfilled.

 St. Augustine experienced the same plight. For years, he sought happiness through sexual gratification only to feel the hollowness inside, afterwards. Even when his conversion to Catholicism, under St. Ambrose, was well under way, he was still unwilling to let go of the physical gratification which he had become used to. He writes how disturbed he was that he still had not entered into a covenant (agreement) with Christ. When he heard the voice of a boy saying, “Pick it up, read it. Pick it up, read it.” At first he thought it was a game that children were playing, but as the voice continued its incessant plea, he concluded that it was a divine command. He picked up the Bible and read the first thing that he saw: “Not in rioting or drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof.”  (Romans, 13:13) He was 33 when his conversion began.

 In over 1600 years, mankind has not changed its ways. We still look to everything and anything to fulfill our dreams, our desires. We bypass the One who tells us, “I am the Way”. Lord, our hearts ARE restless. We are unhappy and searching for something that will fill us with joy, with meaningfulness, with happiness. Lord Jesus, help me to grow in love with you. Help me to realize that You truly are “The Way”. The Way, I must live and act and grow. Lord Jesus, I trust in you.

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