The Confession of Saint Augustine | Book I | Contemporary English Translation

Mika Oka
26 min readMar 9, 2023

St. Paulinus, the governor of Campania in southern Italy, relinquished his privileged position in the Roman Empire to lead a life of prayer alongside his wife Therasia. During this time, he conversed with notable bishops such as St. Jerome and St. Augustine, whom he got acquainted with through correspondence with St. Alypius, Augustine’s lifelong friend and bishop at Thagaste.

Paulinus requested Alypius to provide autobiographical information, but Alypius, torn between humility and love, forwarded the request to Augustine. In response, Augustine took up the task and weaved his own experiences and conversion into Alypius’ story, creating something beyond expectation. The resulting work, which was intended to be a biography of St. Alypius, grew and expanded into one of the first and greatest autobiographical works ever written — Augustine’s Confessions.

It is thanks to St. Paulinus’ request for a sketch of Alypius’ history that we have been gifted with this profound work, which forever impacted Western civilization. Upon reading Augustine’s writings, Paulinus wrote back expressing how much closer he felt to Augustine than before, reviving an old affection. Therefore, St. Paulinus inadvertently contributed to the literary world by bringing forth one of the most significant works of Christian literature, the Confessions of St. Augustine.


BOOK I (Translated by Britt H.)

You are great, O Lord, and worthy of great praise. Your power and wisdom are infinite. Even though we are just a small part of your creation and carry the weight of mortality and sin, we still praise you. You awaken our hearts to delight in your praise, for you made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in you.

Grant me, Lord, the knowledge to understand whether it is better to call on you or praise you first. Should I seek to know you first, or call on you first? For how can we call on you if we do not know you? And how can we believe in you without a preacher? Those who seek you will praise you, for those who seek will find and those who find will praise. I will seek you by calling on you and will call on you by believing in you, for you have been preached to me. My faith will call on you, the faith which you have given me through the Incarnation of your Son and the ministry of the Preacher.

But how can I call upon you, my God and Lord, when in doing so, I am calling you to myself? Is there room within me where my God can enter? Can God, who made heaven and earth, enter me? Is there anything within me that can contain you? Do heaven and earth, which you have made and in which you have made me, contain you? Or does everything that exists contain you, since nothing can exist without you? If I exist, why do I seek for you to enter me, when you were already in me before I even existed?

I cannot go beyond heaven and earth to find you, for you fill the heaven and the earth. Do heaven and earth contain you since you fill them? Or do you fill them and overflow, since they cannot contain you? When heaven and earth are filled, where do you pour out the remainder of yourself? Or do you not need anything to contain you, since you contain all things? The vessels you fill do not uphold you, for even if they were broken, you would not be poured out. When you pour yourself out on us, you do not diminish, but rather you uplift us and gather us.

Do you fill all things with your whole self, or do all things contain just a part of you? If it is just a part, is it the same part in all things, or does each contain its own part, with the greater containing more and the smaller containing less? Is one part of you greater than another, or are you wholly present everywhere, with nothing containing you wholly?

Who are You, my God? You are the Lord God. For who else is the Lord but You? Who else is God except our God? You are the Most High, the Most Good, the Most Powerful, the Most Omnipotent; the Most Merciful, yet the Most Just; the Most Hidden, yet the Most Present; the Most Beautiful, yet the Most Strong; Stable, yet Incomprehensible; Unchangeable, yet All-Changing; Never New, Never Old; All-Renewing, and bringing age upon the proud, who do not realize it; Ever-Working, Ever-at-Rest; Still Gathering, Yet Nothing Lacking; Supporting, Filling, and Overspreading; Creating, Nourishing, and Maturing; Seeking, Yet Having All Things.

You love without passion, are jealous without anxiety, repent, yet do not grieve; are angry, yet serene; change your works, but your purpose is unchanged; you receive again what you find, yet you never lost it; you are never in need, yet you rejoice in gains; you are never covetous, yet you exact usury. You receive more than you give, so that you may owe; and who has anything that is not Yours? You pay debts, owing nothing; you forgive debts, losing nothing.

What can I say about You, my God, my life, my holy joy? Or what can anyone say when they speak of You? Yet woe to those who do not speak, for even the most eloquent are mute. Oh, that I could rest in You! Oh, that You would enter into my heart and intoxicate it, so that I may forget my troubles and embrace You, my only good! What are You to me? In Your mercy, teach me to express it. Or what am I to You, that You demand my love, and if I do not give it, You are angry with me and threaten me with great woes? Is it a small matter to not love You? For the sake of Your mercy, tell me, O Lord my God, what You are to me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.” Speak in such a way that I may hear. Look, Lord, my heart is before You; open its ears and say to my soul, “I am your salvation.” After hearing Your voice, let me hasten and grasp You. Do not hide Your face from me. Let me die, lest I die; only let me see Your face.

My soul’s dwelling is narrow; enlarge it so that You may enter. It is in ruins; repair it. It has things within it that must offend Your eyes; I confess and acknowledge it. But who will cleanse it? To whom should I cry, except to You? Lord, cleanse me from my secret faults, and spare Your servant from the power of the enemy. I believe, and therefore I speak. Lord, You know. Have I not confessed my transgressions to You, and You, my God, have forgiven the iniquity of my heart? I do not contend with You in judgment, for You are the truth, and I fear deceiving myself, lest my iniquity lie to itself. Therefore, I do not contend with You in judgment, for if You, Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?

Let me speak to Your mercy, even though I am just dust and ashes. Let me speak, for I am speaking to Your mercy and not to scornful man. Perhaps even You despise me, yet You will have compassion on me. What can I say, O Lord my God, except that I do not know how I came into this dying life (if I can call it that) or living death. But then, the comforts of Your compassion took me up, as I heard (though I do not remember it) from the parents of my flesh, out of whose substance You fashioned me. Thus, I received the comforts of woman’s milk. My mother and nurses did not store their own breasts for me, but You gave me the food of my infancy through them, according to Your ordinance, whereby You distribute Your riches through the hidden springs of all things. You also gave me the desire for no more than what You gave me, and my nurses were willing to give me what You gave them. With a heaven-taught affection, they willingly gave me what they abounded with from You. For their good from me was good for them, though it was not from them but through them. For from You, O God, all good things come, and all my health is from my God. I learned this later on, as You proclaimed Yourself to me through these gifts both within and without me. For then, I only knew how to suck, how to rest in what pleased me, and how to cry at what offended my flesh.

Later, I began to smile, first in my sleep and then when I was awake. I was told this about myself, and I believed it. We see the same behavior in other infants, although I don’t remember it myself. Gradually, I became aware of my surroundings and had a desire to communicate my wishes to those who could fulfill them, but I couldn’t. My wishes were inside me, and they couldn’t enter my mind through any of my senses. So I flailed my limbs and made sounds, trying to express myself. When I wasn’t immediately obeyed (because my wishes were harmful or incomprehensible), I became angry with my elders for not submitting to me and with those who owed me no service for not serving me. I avenged myself on them by crying. I learned that infants behave this way by observing them, and they showed me that I was once like that too, even better than my nurses who knew it.

My infancy has long since passed away, but I live on. However, you, Lord, who live forever and in whom nothing dies, are God and Lord of all that you have created. The first causes of all things that are impermanent are fixed forever in you, and the springs of all things that can change are unchanging in you. The eternal reasons for all things that are unreasonable and temporary live in you. So I ask you, Lord, in your mercy, did my infancy follow another age of mine that died before it? Was it the time I spent inside my mother’s womb? I have heard something about that and have seen pregnant women myself. And what was I before that life, my joyous God? Did I exist anywhere or in any form? I have no one to tell me — neither father nor mother, nor the experience of others, nor my own memory. Do you mock me for asking this and tell me to praise and acknowledge you because I do know some things?

I acknowledge you, Lord of heaven and earth, and thank you for my earliest existence and infancy, which I cannot recall. You have ordained that we must learn much about ourselves from others, especially weak females. Even in infancy, I had life and being, and as I neared the end of that phase, I sought ways to communicate my sensations to others. How could I exist if not from you, Lord? Can anyone create themselves? Is there another source that can provide the essence and life that you give? For you are the supreme Essence and Life. You are unchanging, and your “today” never ends. All things exist within you, and nothing can pass away without your support. Your years never fail, and everything that has happened, is happening, or will happen is contained within your “today.” It doesn’t matter if someone doesn’t understand this; they can still rejoice in it. Let them be content with not discovering you than discovering you and not acknowledging it.

Listen, God. Oh, how sad it is that humans are sinful! We acknowledge our sinfulness, but you still show us mercy because you created us and did not create us to sin. Who can remind me of the sins I committed in infancy? In your eyes, no one is without sin, not even a newborn who only lives for a day on this earth. But who reminds me of my sins? Perhaps every infant, who shows me what I cannot remember about myself. What was my sin back then? Was it crying and clinging to my mother’s breast for food? If I were to do that now, people would rightly laugh at me and scold me for it. But back then, I couldn’t understand their reproach, so custom and reason prevented them from scolding me. We eventually grow out of these childish behaviors and discard them. No one intentionally throws away what is good when pruning. But was it really good for me to cry for something that would harm me if given? Was it right to be angry that people who were free, older and wiser than me, including my own parents, did not cater to my every whim? Was it okay for me to hit and hurt others because they didn’t obey my commands, even though my commands were harmful to me? The innocence of an infant lies in its physical weakness, not its will. I have seen even a baby show envy towards its foster sibling, even though it couldn’t speak. Mothers and nurses try to remedy these behaviors. Is it really innocence for a baby who has an abundant supply of milk to refuse to share it with another baby who needs it for survival? We tolerate these behaviors because we know they will disappear as the child grows older. These behaviors are not acceptable in adults, even though they were tolerated in infancy.

Oh Lord my God, you gave me life as an infant, providing me with senses and limbs, shaping my body and implanting in me vital functions for my well-being and safety. You command me to praise you for these things, to confess to you and sing your name, for you are the Almighty and Good God, the creator of all things, whose unity is the basis for all that exists. You make all things fair and order them according to your law. I have no recollection of my infancy, and must rely on the accounts of others and my observations of other infants to guess what it was like. However, I am reluctant to consider that time as part of my life, for it is hidden from me in the shadows of forgetfulness, just as the time I spent in my mother’s womb. If I was conceived in sin and born in iniquity, when, Lord, was I ever your innocent servant? But I pass over that period and have nothing to do with it since I cannot remember any details of it.

Moving on from infancy, I entered boyhood, or rather boyhood came upon me, replacing infancy. Yet, it did not disappear entirely (for where did it go?) but was no longer present as it once was. I was no longer a speechless infant but a speaking boy. I remember this and have since observed how I learned to speak. It was not that my elders taught me words in any set method (as they did with other learning later on), but rather, I, longing to express my thoughts through cries, broken accents, and various movements of my limbs so that I might have my will, but unable to express all that I willed, or to whom I willed, practiced the sounds in my memory through the understanding which You, my God, gave me. When they named something and turned towards it as they spoke, I saw and remembered that they called it by the name they uttered. It was clear from the motion of their body, the natural language of all nations, expressed by the countenance, glances of the eye, gestures of the limbs, and tones of the voice, indicating the affections of the mind as it pursues, possesses, rejects, or shuns. By constantly hearing words as they occurred in various sentences, I gradually learned what they meant. Having broken in my mouth to these signs, I gave utterance to my will. Thus, I exchanged with those around me these current signs of our wills and launched deeper into the stormy intercourse of human life, yet still depending on parental authority and the beck of elders.

Oh God, my God, what miseries and mockeries did I now experience when obedience to my teachers was proposed to me as proper for a boy, so that I might prosper in this world and excel in tongue-science, which should serve for the “praise of men” and deceitful riches. Next, I was sent to school to acquire knowledge in which, as a poor wretch, I did not understand the purpose, and yet if I was idle in learning, I was beaten. For this was judged right by our forefathers, and many before us had followed the same course, creating for us wearisome paths through which we had to pass, multiplying toil and grief upon the sons of Adam. But Lord, we found that men called upon You, and we learned from them to think of You (according to our abilities) as some great One who, though hidden from our senses, could hear and help us. As a boy, I began to pray to You, my aid and refuge, and broke the fetters of my tongue to call on You, praying that I might not be beaten at school, even though small, yet with no small earnestness. When You did not hear me (not thereby giving me over to folly), my elders, even my own parents who wished me no ill, mocked my stripes, my then great and grievous ill.

Can anyone, Lord, have such a great soul and devotion to You that they can endure torture with ease and even mock the instruments of torture that others fear so deeply? We may call it foolishness, but is there anyone who, by cleaving to You devoutly, has acquired such a spirit? Our parents used to mock the torments that we suffered from our schoolmasters when we were children. We feared those torments just as much as people fear the racks and hooks and other forms of torture that are used against those who call upon You throughout the world. Yet, we still sinned by neglecting our studies, even though we had the memory and capacity to succeed. Our sole delight was in playing, and we were punished for it. But when older people waste time, it is called “business,” while the idleness of children is punished. No one pities either boys or men. Is it wise to beat a boy for playing ball, thereby hindering his studies, only to allow him to behave more unseemly as a man? And what did the person who beat me accomplish? If he lost a minor argument with a colleague, he became more bitter and jealous than I did when I lost a game of ball to a friend.

Lord God, the Creator and Ruler of all natural things, only the Ruler of sin, I sinned by disobeying my parents and teachers. What they wanted me to learn, I could have used for a good purpose later on. However, I disobeyed not out of good judgment but rather out of a love for playing games. I loved the pride of winning in my competitions and listening to false stories that tickled my ears. As I grew older, I became even more curious about the games and spectacles that my elders enjoyed. Yet, those who provided these amusements are so highly regarded that almost everyone wants their children to enjoy them too. However, if these games cause children to neglect their studies, their parents are willing to have them beaten, even though they would like their children to become the providers of these games someday. Lord, have mercy on us and rescue us who call upon You now. Please save those who do not call upon You yet so that they may call upon You, and You may save them.

As a young boy, I had already learned about the promise of eternal life that came from the humility of our Lord God, who lowered Himself to our level despite our pride. Even before I was born, my mother, who greatly believed in You, had marked me with the sign of the cross and the salt of Your teachings. When I fell ill as a boy, my mother and the Church rushed to baptize me, confessing my sins and seeking Your forgiveness, but my father did not yet believe. My mother, who loved me deeply and was committed to my salvation, wanted me to be cleansed by Your sacraments, but my baptism was postponed because she feared that I would fall into sin again after being washed clean.

Despite my father’s disbelief, my mother’s faith and devotion to You were so strong that she was able to persuade him to allow my baptism to be delayed until I was ready to truly repent and turn my life towards You. I often wonder why my baptism was postponed and if it was for my own good, or if it was a mistake that allowed me to sin. It seems that people are more forgiving of physical ailments than they are of spiritual ones, as evidenced by the saying “Let him be, he hasn’t been baptized yet.” It would have been better for me to be baptized as soon as possible, to heal both my body and my soul, and to be kept safe in Your care.

My mother knew that I would face many challenges and temptations as I grew older, and she believed that it was better to expose me to those difficulties as a clay that could be molded, rather than as a finished product that could not be changed.

In my childhood, which was not as feared as my youth, I did not enjoy studying and I hated being forced to do it. However, I was forced, and it was good for me, but I did not do well because I would not have learned if I was not forced. No one does well against their will, even if what they do is good. However, it was good for me that they forced me to learn because it was from You, my God, that it came. They did not care how I used what they forced me to learn except to satisfy my insatiable desires for wealth and shameful glory. But You, who know the number of every hair on our head, used the error of those who forced me to learn for my good, and used my own refusal to learn as punishment. It was a fitting punishment for a small boy who was a great sinner. So, by those who did not act well, You acted well for me, and by my own sin, You justly punished me. For You have commanded that every uncontrolled desire should be its own punishment.

But why did I hate Greek so much when I studied it as a boy? I still do not fully understand. I loved Latin, but not what my first teachers taught me. The so-called grammarians taught me what I loved. I thought those first lessons of reading, writing, and arithmetic were as much of a burden and punishment as the Greek lessons. Where did this come from but from the sin and vanity of this life, because I was flesh and breath that passes away and does not come back? The first lessons were certainly better because they were more certain. I gained and still have the ability to read what is written and write what I want from those lessons. But in the other lessons, I was forced to learn about the wanderings of Aeneas, forgetting about myself, and to cry for dead Dido because she killed herself for love. While I endured my miserable self dying among these things, far from You, O God, who is my life, with dry eyes. I suffered the agony of dying alone among these things, far away from You, my God who gives me life.

What could be more miserable than a wretched person who doesn’t have any compassion for themselves? They weep for the death of Dido because of her love for Aeneas, but they do not weep for their own death because of their lack of love for You, my God. You are the light of my heart, the nourishment of my soul, the power that strengthens my mind and animates my thoughts. I did not love You; instead, I committed adultery against You. Everyone around me was also committing adultery, and they applauded me for it. The world’s friendship is adultery against You, but people are so afraid of not being seen as human that they applaud such behavior. Even though I wept for Dido’s death and longed for death myself, seeking the lowest place among Your creatures, having abandoned You, I did not weep for my own self. If I was forbidden to read this, I would be saddened because I couldn’t read what saddened me. This madness is thought to be a higher and more enriching knowledge than the one I learned from reading and writing.

Now, my God, speak loudly in my soul and let Your truth tell me, ‘No, that’s not true. Your first studies were much better.’ I would forget the story of Aeneas and everything else before I would forget how to read and write. But a veil hangs over the entrance of the Grammar School, not so much as a symbol of something obscure, but as a cover for a mistake. Let those who I no longer fear, cry out against me, as I confess to You, my God, whatever my soul desires, and accept the condemnation of my bad ways so that I can love Your good ways. Let not the buyers or sellers of grammar-learning cry out against me either. If I were to ask them whether it is true that Aeneas once went to Carthage, as the poet says, the less educated would answer that they do not know, while the more educated would say that he never did. But if I were to ask how to spell the name “Aeneas,” everyone who has learned this would give me the correct answer, as it is something that people have agreed upon. If I were to ask which would be more forgettable without causing much harm to our daily lives, reading and writing or these poetic fictions, who doesn’t already know what the answer will be for those who haven’t completely forgotten themselves? So, I sinned as a boy when I preferred those unproductive studies over the more beneficial ones, or rather, when I loved one and hated the other. ‘One and one is two’; ‘two and two is four’; this was an unpleasant chant for me, but ‘the wooden horse filled with armed men,’ ‘the burning of Troy,’ and ‘Creusa’s ghost and her sorrowful story’ were the favorite spectacle of my vanity.

Why did I hate the Greek classics, which had similar stories? Homer also created these curious fictions and was just as pleasantly vain, yet I found him bitter as a boy. I suppose Virgil would be the same for Greek children who were forced to learn him, as I was forced to learn Homer. The difficulty of a foreign language mixed with the sweetness of the Greek myths like gall. I didn’t understand a single word of it, and I was violently forced to learn it through cruel threats and punishments. When I was an infant, I didn’t know Latin, but I learned it without fear or suffering, simply by observing and listening to those around me. My nursery caregivers and friends encouraged me with smiles and jokes. I learned by talking to them and expressing my own thoughts in their ears. There is no doubt that free curiosity is more powerful than frightening enforcement in our learning. However, enforcement can curb the excesses of that curiosity through Your laws, O God. Your laws can provide us with a healthy bitterness that leads us back to You, away from the deadly pleasure that tempts us away from You.

Hear my prayer, Lord. Do not let my soul faint under Your discipline, nor let me falter in confessing to You all Your mercies, which have drawn me out of my most wicked ways so that You may become my delight above all the allurements that I once pursued. May I love You with all my heart and hold Your hand with all my affections, and may You rescue me from every temptation until the end. For, behold, O Lord, my King and my God, whatever useful things I learned in my childhood, let them be for Your service. Let me speak, write, read, and count for Your service. For You gave me Your discipline while I was learning vanities, and You have forgiven my sin of delighting in those vanities. Indeed, I learned many useful words in them, but these can also be learned in things that are not vain. That is the safe path for the steps of youth.

But alas for you, you torrent of human tradition! Who can stand against you? How long will you not be dried up? How long will the descendants of Eve continue to be swept into that enormous and hideous ocean, which even those who climb the cross can barely cross? Did I not read in you about Jove the thunderer and adulterer? He couldn’t have been both, of course, but the fabricated thunder made it easier to condone and even facilitate adultery. And now, which of our academic masters will listen attentively to someone who, from their own school, cries out, “These were Homer’s inventions, transferring human things to the gods; he should have brought divine things down to us!” However, he would have spoken more truly if he had said, “These are indeed his inventions, but he attributed a divine nature to wicked men so that crimes might no longer be considered crimes, and whoever commits them might seem to be imitating not depraved humans, but celestial gods.”

And yet, you hellish torrent, men are thrown into you with rich rewards for achieving such knowledge; and great pomp and circumstance is made of it when this is taking place in the marketplace, within sight of laws that set aside a salary in addition to the scholar’s fees. And you lash your rocks and roar, “This is where you learn words; this is where you learn eloquence, which is essential for achieving your goals or defending your beliefs.” As if we would never have heard such words as “golden shower,” “lap,” “deceive,” “temples of the heavens,” or others in that passage unless Terence had put a lewd youth on the stage, using Jupiter as his example of seduction.

“Looking at a painting, where the story was depicted,

Of Jove descending in a golden shower

To Danae’s lap, to deceive a woman.”

And then see how he incites himself to lust, as if by divine authority:

“And which god did it? Great Jove,

Who shakes the highest temples of heaven with his thunder,

And I, a poor mortal man, cannot do the same!

I did it, and with all my heart I did it.”

Learning these words does not make the vile act any easier, but through them the wickedness is committed with less shame. It’s not that I blame the words, as they are like choice and precious vessels, but the wine of error that intoxicated teachers drink to us through them. And if we don’t drink, we are beaten and have no sober judge to whom we can appeal. Yet, O my God (in whose presence I can now remember this without harm), I learned all this with great delight, and was considered a promising boy because of it. Bear with me, my God, while I talk about my intelligence, which is Your gift, and the foolishness to which I wasted it. For I was given a task, troublesome enough to my soul, which was to speak the words of Juno as she raged and mourned that she could not “turn this Trojan prince away from Latinum.”

I had heard that Juno never spoke the words that we were forced to recite, but we had to follow the poetic fictions and say in prose what he expressed in verse. The one who spoke with the most passion and grief, and with the most appropriate language to maintain the dignity of the character, was the one who received the most applause. But what does it matter to me, O my true life, my God, that my declamation was applauded above so many of my own age and class? Isn’t all of this just smoke and wind? Was there nothing else on which to exercise my wit and tongue but this? Your praises, Lord, Your praises might have held up the yet tender shoot of my heart with the support of Your Scriptures, so it wouldn’t have trailed away amid these empty trifles, a defiled prey for the birds of the air. For in more ways than one, people sacrifice to the rebellious angels.

But why should it be a surprise that I was carried away to vanities and went out of Your presence, O my God, when men were presented to me as models who, if they made a barbarism or solecism in relating an action of theirs, not in itself wrong, were ashamed and censured; but when they related their own disorderly life in richly adorned and well-ordered discourse, they were praised and gloried? You see these things, Lord, and remain silent, patient, and full of mercy and truth. Will You remain silent forever? Even now You draw the soul that seeks You, that thirsts for Your pleasures, out of this terrible pit. The heart of this person says to You, “I have sought Your face; Your face, Lord, I will seek.” For darkened affections is the separation from You. It is not by our feet or a change of place that we leave or return to You. Did the younger son of Yours look for horses or chariots or ships, fly with visible wings, or travel by the motion of his limbs to a faraway country to waste in riotous living all that You gave him at his departure? You were a loving Father when You gave, and even more loving when he returned empty-handed. So, the true distance from Your face is in lustful, that is, in darkened, affections.

Look, O Lord God, how patiently You observe how carefully the sons of men observe the rules of language and pronunciation passed down to them by their predecessors, neglecting the eternal covenant of everlasting salvation received from You. A teacher or student of the inherited laws of pronunciation will offend people more by saying “uman being” without the aspirate, in defiance of grammar, than if he hates a human being in defiance of You. As if any enemy could be more harmful than the hatred with which he is inflamed against him; or could wound more deeply the one he persecutes, than he wounds his own soul by his enmity. Certainly, no science of language can be so innate as the witness of conscience, “that he is doing to another what from another he would be loath to suffer.” How profound are Your ways, O God, You alone who are great, who sit in silence on high, and by an unwearied law dispense penal blindness to lawless desires. In pursuit of eloquence, a man standing before a human judge, surrounded by a human crowd, declaiming against his enemy with the fiercest hatred, will watch most carefully lest, by a mistake of the tongue, he murders the word “human being”; but he does not take care lest, through the fury of his spirit, he murders the real human being.

This is the world where I grew up, a world that made me unhappy as a child. I was more afraid of making grammatical errors than committing sins, and even envied those who were not as careful as I was. I confess to You, my God, that I sought the approval of others who valued superficial things, unaware of how vile I was in Your eyes. I lied to my teachers, parents, and friends in order to pursue frivolous pleasures such as games and shows. I also stole from my parents to satisfy my greed, or to have something to offer other children in exchange for their attention. In these games, I often sought to dominate others unfairly, driven by my desire for superiority. Yet, I could not tolerate when others treated me the way I treated them, and would often quarrel instead of admitting my faults. This is not innocence, Lord; I cry out for Your mercy.

As I grew older, these same sins persisted, only the objects of my desire changed. Instead of toys, I coveted wealth and power, and instead of parents and teachers, I deceived magistrates and kings. Yet, even as a small child, I was amazed by the world around me, and delighted in truth and the pursuit of knowledge. I recognized the hand of Providence in my life, and was grateful for the gifts You bestowed upon me. But I sinned by seeking pleasure and truth in Your creatures, rather than in You, and thus fell into confusion and sorrow.

Yet, You are my joy, my glory, and my confidence, my God, and I give thanks for all the good that You have given me, even as a child. May You preserve these gifts and help me to grow in them, so that I may be perfected and enlarged, and ultimately be with You, since even my existence is a gift from You.

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Mika Oka

Sharing her unique perspective on the world as a hearing-impaired autistic person with bipolar disorder despite the challenges.