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Cathi Kennedy reviews Confessions by St. Augustine, newly translated by Anthony Escolen, PhD.

You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. 


When I opened the box and took out the copy of Confessions by St. Augustine of Hippo, I thought it was a stunning book. Then I thought, "Why did I sign up for this review?"  

This new translation by Anthony Esolen, published by TAN Books, is beautiful. I love the leather feel of the cover, the thick gold-edged pages, and the attached ribbon for marking my place. Together, it's a binding worthy to hold one of the greatest Catholic books ever written.  




I felt unworthy of the task but was drawn into Augustine's beautiful prose and praise. 

Esolen beautifully sums up Confessions in his Translator's Note:

The Confessions is one continued and coherent prayer, a profound profession of faith, and a plea for more, ever more wisdom, ever more love.


Augustine begins his book with praise: You are great O Lord, and to be praised indeed" and ends seeking understanding by using the words in the Gospel of Matthew: "Let us beg it of you, seek it from you, and knock at your door for it." 

In between, we follow Augustine's life through his "pagan" years, into and beyond his conversion at age 31.   

Being a parishioner of St. Monica's Church and having a special devotion to St. Monica, I read Book IX with particular interest. This book contains the only recorded words of this saint, Augustine's mother, who prayed for the conversion of his heart for 17 years.  

I have marked up my copy already. I have highlighted beautiful sentences and written comments in the margins because this is a book to be studied, read, and re-read. To read each time with new eyes and a new heart, to draw closer to God as Augustine drew closer to Him.  


Lord God, grant us peace—for you have bestowed all things upon us. Give us the peace of rest, the peace of the Sabbath, the peace without an evening. For this most lovely order of things so very good, when their measures have been run, shall pass away.


Ask for Confessions at your local Catholic bookseller, or order online from Amazon.com or the publisher, TAN Books.



Copyright 2024 Cathi Kennedy
Images: Canva