by John Meunier
Augustine was in despair, thrown to the ground under a fig tree crying. He hung between conversion to Christ and doubt. In the midst of his turmoil, he heard a voice telling him to “pick up and read.” It was a message from God, he was certain. He picked up “the book of the Apostle” that he had been reading earlier and read the first line that his eyes fell upon:
Let’s behave appropriately as people who live in the day, not in partying and getting drunk, not in sleeping around and obscene behavior, not in fighting and obsession. Instead, dress yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and don’t plan to indulge your selfish desires. (Romans 13:13-14, CEB)
In his book The Confessions Augustine writes:
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.