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Mercy and Grace of God (St Augustine.

Final Western Civilization & Human Development Paper) By sister Huma khan

The journey of life can transform a person from inside and out. The experiences in life can make one realize how much God loves him/her, one realizes how God helped, saved and guided one to see the right path. Even if one has put his/her foot in mud (wrong direction), if one has fear of God and has hope that God will show him the right direction, then un-doubtable God will take him/her own of the mud in a miraculous way. God is truly great; ones who want to find the truth, truth will come towards them because God intends it. St Augustine experienced much in life, he came under the wrong influence but look at Gods mercy and grace, God took St Augustine out from the mud and placed him into a valley of lushes flowers; God showed him the light in a manner. Even the bad-est person of all can be shown the right path if only a spec of awareness of God is in him. Everyone faces hard times and everyone goes on the wrong path in their life, but if one has full belief and faith in God and wants to find the truth behind anything then God will help and guide him/her on the right direction. God knows exactly what kind of person you are, how good your inner being is and what good you can do in life. God is the one who has planned out the future for you, it is only the actions, mindset and steps of the human that changes his/her own path. God will give you whatever you want even if it good or bad, God will give the desires that you want, but know this God never will put you on the wrong path it is your own desire to walk on the wrong path and therefore, God lets you walk on it. God grants you whatever you desire for a time, just for you to see what a wrong pathway you chose for yourself. The wrong path that you have chosen and asked God to give you, you will eventually become tired and regret the path which you have chosen for yourself. You will find a way out of that wrong direction but there wont be a way out until you realize what wrong you have done and you ask God to show you the truth and the right way. God will show light to anyone who asks ad calls out to him. Even the one who has sinned the greatest of sins, if he/she calls out to God, God will answer and reveal the truth and right direction to him/her. At the end the path and plan that God intended for you, that only will happen. God is very merciful; his forgiveness can change and reshape the life of anyone. His mercy and grace and show a clear and easy pathway to anyone. On Fordham University website it talks about Augustines Confession, it states, His pilgrimage of grace had led him to a most unexpected outcome. Now he felt a compelling need to retrace the crucial turnings of the way by which he had come. And since he was sure that it

was God's grace that had been his prime mover on that way, it was a spontaneous expression of his heart that cast his self-recollection into the form of a sustained prayer to God. Saint Augustines Confessions is somewhat a glimpse of what Augustine went through in his life and how in a miraculous way his own world and way of thinking changed when God showed him the way. Saint Augustines Confessions are basically an indication of his time, what he experienced, what he saw, the places he lived in, the culture and surrounding that was around him, the people he dealt with and the ideas that were important during those years. Saint Augustine stated in his Confessions that humans can find God anywhere, wherever we look God is there, and everything that surrounds us it is a reflection of God. All the wonders in this world, the nature and everything unique and everything beautiful reflect God. However, where we can most find God, where we can most understand even ourselves is in our soul, in our interior, in our inner self, in our most prate of places, because in our roots, in our soul is God, and God knows us much better than we do ourselves. As Saint Augustine went through plenty of experiences in his life and found the grace and mercy from God, I too went through a major experience in life that changed my life dramatically and it was all due to Gods grace. On Facts and Details website it explains, His father was a wealthy Berber landowner and pagan. His mother, the future St. Monica, was a devout Christian. His father's hedonist ways had a strong influence on Augustine in his early life. He forsook his Christian upbringing at age sixteen to attend school in Carthage, where he dabbled with astrology. St. Augustine was a womanizer, gambler and critic of the virtues. He fathered a son from a mistress before he turned twenty, lived with her for 10 years out of wedlock, and then dumped her so he could marry a socialite. Even after he entered a monastery he used to pray, Give me chastity, but not yet! Despite his hedonistic ways, St. Augustine was drawn to religious cults that preached self denial. After teachings rhetoric for several years in Carthage he moved to Rome, where he converted for a time to Manichaeanism, a sect led by a Persian prophet that viewed spirituality as a struggle within the body and promoted avoiding sex, eating only vegetables and believing that the personal fight between good and evil represented a cosmic battle. Saint Augustine had a very difficult youth, he became drifted from his religious teaches, which lead to confusion and lack of contentment in his life. He knew in a way he was doing wrong but his desires had taken full control of him. Saint Augustine wanted for God

to show him the right way but at that time when he was fully ready for it. As time went by and as he matured into a sensible being understood and followed the way that which God showed him. God answers ones prayers, even if late God exactly knows when one is ready to have what he/she wants, when one is ready to know what is the truth. Saint Augustine became interested in Christianity once again and came into practice of the teachings of Christianity. God showed him the way because he asked for it, God showed him the way because in his heart Augustine knew what he was doing was wrong, God showed him the way because God knew that Augustine was not born to be a bad person who commits wrong deeds, God knew Augustine had potential and goodness in himself and thats why God welcomed Augustine back to religion. I am not Christian, I am Muslim; however, there are few teachings and methods that Islam and Augustines Confessions have in common. On George Town website, James ODonnell interoperates Augustines Confessions, Thus God is great, mankind (though outwardly insignificant) is capable of praising God, but this capacity is no accomplishment of man himself. God preaches his Word to man, which results in faith, which results in invocation, which results in seeking, which results in finding, which results in praise. So the economy of the Christian experience is defined: faith is the beginning, unceasing praise (in heaven) is the end, and human life is a journey from faith to praise, from restlessness to repose. God is the guiding force, drawing men to himself despite their unworthiness. This interpretation is somewhat very similar to what Islam teaches. God is supreme and praiseworthy, he can only change the life of any wrong doer who prays and asks. God shows the correct path and guides the person who prays to God wholeheartedly and wants to know the truth. I think every youth goes through some challenging and difficult experience in life that makes them come much closer to God than they were before. I went through a major stage in my young life, I faced heartache, betrayal, was backstabbed; but I am very thankful to God that he showed me the truth before it was too late. When one is good by heart, by nature and has full faith and belief in God then God helps that person no matter what causalities befall him/her. I kept on praying to God, asking him to show me the right way, to guide, help and make things easier for me. It literally looked like God took me out of a pit hole, the hole that I made for myself; but as I had full faith and belief in

God he saved me. God knows which person has a clean heart and which person has evil intentions, the good of hearts always get saved due to their innocence. God knows that the person made a mistake and made the road hard for him/herself, but God knows that the person had asked God for help and guidance and therefore God takes him/her out of the most difficulty of places. If ones heart is clean, if one wants to know the truth, if one wants to be guided, saved and shown the clear and prays to God from the heart then God will hear his/her prayer and answer. God is very merciful on his creation, those who look for him and those you ask for his help and forgiveness are the ones who God will save and guide. Moving on, my experience made me become much closer to God than I was before, it opened my eyes, I saw and realized how much God listens, how much God is close to us and how much he helps and guides us. This world illuminates humans and makes them run after what they think is best for them, what attracts them; but God only knows what is best for humans. On Grade Saver it states, God was the highest form of being, followed by angels, with humanity near the bottom. When humans sinned, it was because they were attached to the lower things of being, and therefore could commit evil acts. In Augustine's worldview, evil didn't have being in its own right; it existed only as a turning away from God. Evil is within us, every human has a yin and a yang, every human has a good side and bad side; it is only up to the human what side he/she chooses. The bad side is always easy but the good side is always hard because one has to fight his/her inner-self, his/her inner-desires and follow the right way. When one chooses the good side then God comes rushing towards him/her and shows the person Gods mercy and grace. More from the Grade Saver it states, He admitted having attachments to human beings and material things that sometimes were nearer to his heart than God. This human weakness, Augustine thought, led to sin. Near the end of Confessions, Augustine explains that it is not sinful to love God's beautiful creations, but that human beings should not become too attached to the things of this world. Humans have a nature that has a weakness that pulls itself towards its worldly desires; this is very natural and very normal. When a human becomes too much wrapped up in his/her desires then at times he/she forgets God and doesnt realize what sin he/she is committing that will not only damage his/her physical self but his/her soul as well. Humans should know that all the beauty in this world is for their own pleasure and as a luxury for a time being which one should not become drowned in that he/she forgets the one who actually created all the

beauty in this world for the human. There is beauty in this world but there is good and bad way of looking at that beauty, if a human looks at the beauty in a good manner then it will bring him/her comfort and he/she will praise God for what God has created but if he/she looks at the beauty in a bad manner then that beauty will become a sinful deed for him/her and raise his/her desires for him/her to not know right from bad. This world is just for a limited time, the wonders and beautiful aspects in this world are only for a limited time; one should not ruin his/her whole spiritual self for limited time worldly objects. As I mentioned, good and bad is in all human beings, any beautiful thing can either be looked at in a good manner or in a sinful manner. Saint Augustine explains the supreme beauty of God, how God gives his creation time in understanding the world, even if his creation made wrong choices along the road; if at a point his creation realizes the mistake that they committed then for sure God will show them the light to his mercy. Every human has to pass their own test in life, which will examine his/her faith and belief in God. This path to finding God is very easy but can be very difficult for some. For few, having full faith/belief and awareness of who God is can be very easy due to their surroundings. However, for few finding God, having faith/belief can be very difficult based on what kind of surrounding they are in and what kind of lifestyle they have chosen. It says in Islam on Stay Blessed blog, Allah (God) says: "Take one step towards me, I will take ten steps towards you. Walk towards me, I will run towards you." Hadith Qudsi. This saying is also mentioned in Christianity in a similar but a different way, on Bible or Not website it states, James 4:8 says Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Or as few Christian people say Take One Step Toward God and He Takes Two Steps Toward You Christian and Islamic teachings are somewhat similar to an extent. God is praiseworthy; he is compassionate, beneficent and very forgiving. If a spec of understanding God comes in ones heart, if a spec of faith and hope comes in ones heart then God will come running towards that person and filling that person will knowledge, faith and hope. The Real Presence website states, On the first level, it is clear that Augustine would never have broken with his sinful past except for the persuasive words and powerful example of his friends. For the rest of his life, Augustine, &qout;The Doctor of Grace," never tired insisting that in God's ordinary providence He uses other human beings as the channels of His grace in our lives. God will bring this blessing on that person who will start to understand what wrong he/she is doing but he/she

still wouldnt come out of his/her sinful desires on his/her own. God will then shower his blessings on the person; God will bring the person close towards those few people who will teach Gods word to that person, God will bring the person close to that group of people who are faithful people, who have belief in God, who commit good deeds; with good company the persons sinful desires and bad aspects will become erased from his mind and heart. With Gods help and his guidance a sinful man can be made into a religious person; only the person has to come a step towards the direction of God. When one has full faith in God that God will help and guide him/her on the right direction then one will eventually end up in the right place. God tests the person and makes the person understand what the truth is; a person can never understand what reality is when he/she doesnt go through different experiences in life to make him/her aware of the truth and to make him/her aware of the power of God. Look at my experience, I had faith in God and I trusted in God that whatever path God will choose for me that path will be best for me, I had belief in God that he will lead me in the right direction and save me from harms way. Even when I was blind I still had faith, even when I stepped in the wrong direction I still had that sixth sense feeling inside of me that made me think twice on what I was getting myself into, right then I prayed to God for guidance and he guided me in the right direction within days. One has to have very strong faith in God to change even the toughest of situations. When one has strong faith and belief in God that he will help and guide then God will smooth the path for that person and lead that person in the right direction. Saint Augustine had many difficulties in his lifetime, he had that same sixth sense feeling that knew what he was doing isnt right, in a manner he wanted guidance for God; God came and guided him. Saint Augustine had good friends that made him realize who God is and only Augustines friends made him realize because God wanted to enlighten Augustine because God had much planned for him in the future. When a person personally sees Gods grace and mercy then one becomes more close to God than before. After I came out of my life changing experience, I felt God very near to me than before. After that experience I became somewhat more religious than before, I started to make plenty of Islamic calligraphy art and I started to recite more Quranic prayers that would uplift me more spiritually and keep me relaxed and at peace. After my experience I asked for Gods help and guidance in everything I did even if it was a small task. After my experience I started

to make goals for myself that I wasnt making before, I became more strong and confident than before because I had God on my side and I knew that whatever will happen and whatever has happened it was for my own betterment. On Christian Research Institution it states, He discovered that the God who has revealed Himself in Scripture is not indescribable. Augustine learned to preach and write of Gods attributes, such as His holy love. He knew that God loved him and forgave his sins. Augustines frequent prayers express his deep affection for the One who was not only transcendent, but knowable, describable, and active in his transformed life. Augustine had an epiphany of sorts that made him realize the beauty and greatness of God. After Augustines realization he made himself closer to God, he gained knowledge and educated himself in religion; he started to understand God. After becoming enlightened, he shared his enlightenment with others, which increased his knowledge and good deeds; teaching others about God and his religion ones bad deeds eventually become erased. In conclusion, everyone goes through plenty of difficult experiences in their lives, those experiences may lead one to more difficulties or may lead one to understanding what is right and what is wrong. One can only pass difficult stages/experiences in life when one has faith and belief in God. God will help and guide those who ask for his help and guidance, those who want to be helped and guided in the right direction that will better their lives. There is a moment in life when one prays in such a way that God changes his/her whole entire life and fills the darkness up with light. That moment came to Saint Augustine and that moment came to me as well, faith and belief in God made the road of life much easier than before; Gods mercy, grace and guidance made everything in the world clear. Who has strong faith, belief and wants to come close to the truth, come close to God then God will show him/her the way and make the path very easy for him/her