Saint Augustine - Confessions - Hearing voices
Type of Spiritual Experience
The dilemma describe in the section on Saint Augustine produced both heart problems but also angst of a truly appalling nature.
So appalling was his suffering that he wanted to die – not take his life - but die.
So his heart was not good and the emotions were extreme and he had a spiritual experience and one that helped him – his composer came to his rescue
A description of the experience
Saint Augustine - Confessions
From a hidden depth a profound self-examination had dredged up a heap of all my misery and set it 'in the sight of my heart'. That precipitated a vast storm bearing a massive downpour of tears.
To pour it all out with the accompanying groans, I got up from beside Alypius (solitude seemed to me more appropriate for the business of weeping), and I moved further away to ensure that even his presence put no inhibition upon me. He sensed that this was my condition at that moment. I think I may have said something which made it clear that the sound of my voice was already choking with tears. So I stood up while in profound astonishment he remained where we were sitting.
I threw myself down somehow under a certain fig tree, and let my tears flow freely. Rivers streamed from my eyes, ……… and (though not in these words, yet in this sense) I repeatedly said to you:
'How long, O Lord? How long, Lord, will you be angry to the uttermost? Do not be mindful of our old iniquities.' For I felt my past to have a grip on me.
It uttered wretched cries: 'How long, how long is it to be?'
'Why not now? Why not an end to my impure life in this very hour?'
As I was saying this and weeping in the bitter agony of my heart, suddenly I heard a voice from the nearby house chanting as if it might be a boy or a girl (I do not know which), saying and repeating over and over again
'Pick up and read, pick up and read.'
At once my countenance changed, and I began to think intently whether there might be some sort of children's game in which such a chant is used. But I could not remember having heard of one. I checked the flood of tears and stood up. I interpreted it solely as a divine command to me to open the book and read the first chapter I might find. For I had heard how Antony happened to be present at the gospel reading, and took it as an admonition addressed to himself when the words were read: 'Go, sell all you have, give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me'
By such an inspired utterance he was immediately 'converted to you' . So I hurried back to the place where Alpius was sitting. There I had put down the book of the apostle when I got up. I seized it, opened it and in silence read the first passage on which my eyes lit:
'Not in riots and drunken parties, not in eroticism and indecencies, not in strife and rivalry, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in its lusts'
I neither wished nor needed to read further. At once, with the last words of this sentence, it was as if a light of relief from all anxiety flooded into my heart. All the shadows of doubt were dispelled.