A Brief Meditation on Alienation of the Soul

Peter H Bennett, Victoria Regional Meeting

In Augustine’s Confessions he writes at the end of Book II

            “And I became unto myself a wasteland.”

This heart-breaking sentence comes after a long reflection by Augustine on his selfish and thoughtless way of being.  It is true sinfulness.  It is the way of being which alienates one from God.  It is the alienation of the prodigal son, it is the alienation that brings with it the Great Yearning, the Great Desire.  Without this Yearning there would be no sense of alienation.  It is the alienation of the wasteland; the soul of wo/man can come to be a wasteland, and like the wasteland of the physical world, it is the result of misuse, of imprudence, of unrestrained desire, of poisoning the land.  It is the result of the absence of love.  It is produced by a forgotten stewardship, the forgotten stewardship of Adam and Eve.

And the Yearning is for what?  It is to touch God.  The woman presses herself in through the massive and surging crowd – if only I can touch the hem of His garment, I will be healed, I will be whole.  This is the Great Yearning, this is the Great Struggle, to press in through the madding crowd, to struggle against all that keeps us from God.  Somehow we know we will be whole, if only we can touch God.  And when we touch God, where there was once a wasteland, a garden flourishes.  An Eden-of-the-Soul.

Related Posts

The Paradox of Power

The Paradox of Power by Brendan Caulfield-James | 6 Dec, 2020 Brendan Caulfield-James, Victoria Regional Meeting The greatest achievement of humanity is not its works of art, science or technology, but the recognition of its own...

Read More

AC Flower, Convict and Sometime Quaker

Malcolm Whyte, Canberra Regional Meeting I thought I was the first, and only, Quaker in my family tree, but recently I was made aware by my son Bruce that I had a great-great uncle who was a convict and a Quaker early in the...

Read More


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This