“Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you!”
After many inner struggles, St Augustine, moved by the grace of God and sustained by the prayer and sacrifice of his mother St Monica, finally knew how to respond to the invitation of the Heavenly Father.
Then he discovered true beauty, that beauty which has always existed and will always exist, which will never be exhausted and which will be the source of inexpressible joy for all those who love God in eternal life.
Those who have discovered this true beauty understand well these words of the Father’s message to Mother Eugenia: “I will show you this fountain [the waters of salvation], making Myself known to you as I really am. When you know Me, your thirst will be quenched, you will be revived, your ills will be cured, your fears will vanish. Your joy will be great and your love will feel securer than it has ever been before.
This is what St Augustine experienced! He was cured of his earthly desires, which had bound him and prevented him from discovering true beauty. He was able to leave behind a life of confusion and sin, because a greater love, the only true love, the love of the Father, conquered him and enlightened his soul.
In his exclamation, “Late have I loved you”, he expressed his regret that he had not known God before. Indeed, St Augustine is right: every day that we do not love God is to be regretted. Blessed is the son who always remains at his father’s side and does not waste his inheritance in reckless living (cf. Lk 15:13).
This is clear to everyone who lives a true conversion: Not one day, not one hour, not one moment without God!
But the Lord is infinitely good. He gives His reward even to those who come at the last hour of the day (cf. Mt 20:1-15). Augustine loved Him late, but not too late… And what a blessing the Father has poured out on the Church through the conversion of this saint!
Thank you, Father! Thank you, St Augustine! Thank you, St Monica!