You Will Rest in Us

From Confessions 13.35-38 (400)

O Lord God, grant us peace, for all that we have is your gift. Grant us the peace of repose, the peace of the Sabbath, the peace which has no evening. For this worldly order in all its beauty will pass away. All the things that are very good will come to an end when the limit of their existence is reached. They have been allotted their morning and their evening.

But the seventh day is without evening and the sun shall not set upon it, for you have sanctified it and willed that it shall last forever. Although your eternal repose was unbroken by the act of creation, nevertheless, good, you rested on the seventh day. And in your Book we read this as a forecast that when our work in this life is done, we too shall rest in you in the Sabbath of eternal life, though our works are very good only because you have given us the grace to perform them.

In that eternal Sabbath you will rest in us, just as now you work in us. The rest that we shall enjoy will be yours, just as the work that we now do is your work done through us. But you, O Lord, are eternally at work and eternally at rest. It is not in time that you see or in time that you move or in time that you rest; yet you make what we see in time; you make time itself and the repose which comes when time ceases.

You, who are the one true God, the good God, have never ceased to do good. By the gift of your grace some of the works that we do are good, but they are not everlasting. After them we hope that we shall find rest, when you admit us to the great holiness of your presence. But you are Goodness itself and need no good besides yourself. You are forever at rest, because you are your own repose.

St. Augustine (354-430) was a theologian and philosopher who served as Bishop of Hippo Regius in North Africa. He was a voluminous author, whose writings about God’s grace, the Sacraments, and the Church have been profoundly influential in the development of Western Christianity. Confessions, an account of his conversion and the mystery of sin and redemption, is the first autobiography of Western literature. His feast day is August 26. 


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