“Lord, I am Your servant, born of Your own handmaid. You have broken the chains that bound me; I will sacrifice in Your honour.
Let me praise You in my heart, let me praise You with my tongue. Let this be the cry of my whole being: Lord, there is none like You.
Let them say this and, in answer, I beg You to whisper in my heart, ‘I am here to save you.’
Who am I? What kind of man am I? What evil have I not done? Or if there is evil that I have not done, what evil is there that I have not spoken? If there is any that I have not spoken, what evil is there that I have not willed to do?
But You, O Lord, are good. You are merciful.
You saw how deep I was sunk in death, and it was Your power that drained dry the well of corruption in the depths of my heart.
And all that You asked of me was to deny my own will and accept yours. But, during all those years, where was my free will?
What was the hidden, secret place from which it was summoned in a moment, so that I might bend my neck to Your easy yoke and take Your light burden on my shoulders, Christ Jesus, my Helper and my Redeemer?
How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose and was now glad to reject! You drove them from me, You who are the true, the sovereign joy.
You drove them from me and took their place, You who are sweeter than all pleasure, though not to flesh and blood, You who outshine all light yet are hidden deeper than any secret in our hearts, You who surpass all honour though not in the eyes of men who see all honour in themselves.
At last my mind was free from the gnawing anxieties of ambition and gain, from wallowing in filth and scratching the itching sore of lust.
I began to talk to You freely, O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation.”
–Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, trans. R.S. Pine-Coffin (New York: Penguin, 1961), 181. (9.1.1.)