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Saint Augustine - Confessions - I entered into my innermost citadel



Type of spiritual experience


If you read the descriptions of Saint Augustine’s life, he had few true spiritual experiences.  Those that he did are put down to the activity of contemplation and detachment.  But I think it was also his heart condition, the angst brought on by the decision he was making and the sheer emotional overload that caused this vision. 

A description of the experience

Saint Augustine - Confessions

By the Platonic books I was admonished to return into myself. 

With you as my guide I entered into my innermost citadel, and was given power to do so  because you had become my helper.

I entered,  and with my soul's eye, such as it was, saw above that same eye of my soul the immutable light higher than my mind - not the light of every day, obvious to anyone, nor a larger version of the same kind which would, as it were, have given out a much brighter light and filled everything with its magnitude. It was not that light, but a different thing, utterly different from all our kinds of light. It transcended my mind, not in the way that oil floats on water, nor as heaven is above earth. It was superior because it made me, and I was inferior because I was made by it.

The person who knows the truth knows it, and he who knows it knows eternity. Love knows it. 

Eternal truth and true love and beloved eternity: you are my God. To you I sigh 'day and night'

When I first came to know you, you raised me up to make me see that what I saw is Being, and that I who saw am not yet Being. And you gave a shock to the weakness of my sight by the strong radiance of your rays, and I trembled with love and awe.

And I found myself far from you 'in the region of dissimilarity'.

The source of the experience

Saint Augustine

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image