Late Have I Loved Thee

Late Have I Loved Thee : Selected Writings of Saint Augustine on Love

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Late Have I Loved Thee is the first collection of Saint Augustine's varied writings on human and divine love, chosen to reflect his lifelong preoccupation with ordo amoris, the principle of rightly directed love. "My weight is my love," he writes in The Confessions. He sees our ability to love as disordered by sin, so that we often choose badly what and how to love. Only by recognizing that we are commanded to love God first can any other object of our love be properly ordered, Late Have I Loved Thee draws on the riches found in Augustine's sermons, letters, treatises, and Scripture commentaries, as well as passages from The Confessions and City of God. Augustine (354-430 A.D.) was the most prolific writer of Christian antiquity and the most influential theologian in Church history. In his first encyclical, God Is Love, current Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges his indebtedness to him. When we read Augustine today, we encounter the same direct, eloquent passions his original listeners experienced, infused with his deep sense of human weakness and burning desire for union with God.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 413 pages
  • 132 x 203 x 25mm | 499g
  • Vintage Books
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0375725695
  • 9780375725692
  • 83,001

Table of contents

by John F. Thornton and Susan B. Varenne, General Editors

by James J. O’Donnell




Book I
1, 1 Our heart is unquiet until it rests in you.
5, 5 & 6 Who will grant me to find peace in you?

Book II
1, 1 & 2, 2 What was it that delighted me? Only loving and being loved.
5, 10 The life we live here is open to temptation.
6, 13 For in vice there lurks a counterfeit beauty.
6, 14 & 7, 15 How can I repay the Lord for my ability to recall these things without fear?

Book III
1, 1 In love with loving, I was casting about for something to love.

Book IV
8, 13 & 9, 14 Time does not stand still, nor are the rolling seasons useless to us, for they work wonders in our minds.
12, 18 Let them be loved in God.

Book V
1, 1 But allow my soul to give you glory that it may love you the more, and let it confess to you your own merciful dealings, that it may give you glory.
2, 2 Let them turn back, and seek you, for you do not forsake your creation.

Book VI
15, 25 & Meanwhile my sins were multiplying, for the woman
16, 26 with whom I had been cohabiting was ripped from my side.

Book X
5, 7 For it is you, Lord, who judge me.
6, 8 & 9 I love you, Lord, with no doubtful mind.
27, 38 Late have I loved you, Beauty so ancient and so new.
28, 39 When at last I cling to you with my whole being.
43, 69 & 70 How you loved us, O good Father.

Book XI
2, 2 & 3 My pen serves me as a tongue.

7, 8 & 8, 9 Anyone with enough mental agility should here follow your apostle, who tells us that “the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given us.”
9, 10 Now, my weight is my love, and wherever I am carried, it is this weight that carries me.


Book XIV
Chapter 6 Of the Character of the Human Will Which Makes the
Affections of the Soul Right or Wrong.
Chapter 7 That the Words Love and Regard (amor and dilectio) Are in Scripture Used Indifferently of Good and Evil Affection.
Chapter 9 Of the Perturbations of the Soul Which Appear as Right Affections in the Life of the Righteous.
Chapter 13 That in Adam’s Sin an Evil Will Preceded the Evil Act.
Chapter 22 Of the Conjugal Union as It Was Originally Instituted and Blessed by God.
Chapter 28 Of the Nature of the Two Cities, the Earthly and the Heavenly.

Book XV
Chapter 22 Of the Fall of the Sons of God Who Were Captivated by the Daughters of Men, Whereby All, with the Exception of Eight Persons, Deservedly Perished in the Deluge.

Book XIX
Chapter 4 What the Christians Believe Regarding the Supreme Good and Evil, in Opposition to the Philosophers, Who Have Maintained That the Supreme Good Is in Themselves.
Chapter 20 That the Saints Are in This Life Blessed in Hope.

Book XXI
Chapter 15 That Everything Which the Grace of God Does in the Way of Rescuing Us from the Inveterate Evils in Which We Are Now Sunk, Pertains to the Future World, in Which All Things Are Made New.
Chapter 27 Against the Belief of Those Who Think That the Sins Which Have Been Accompanied with Almsgiving Will Do Them No Harm.

Chapter 22 Of the Miseries and Ills to Which the Human Race Is Justly Exposed Through the First Sin, and from Which None Can Be Delivered Save by Christ’s Grace.
Chapter 23 Of the Miseries of This Life Which Attach Peculiarly to the Toil of Good Men, Irrespective of Those Which Are Common to the Good and Bad.
Chapter 24 Of the Blessings with Which the Creator Has Filled This Life, Obnoxious Though It Be to the Curse.
Chapter 30 Of the Eternal Felicity of the City of God, and of the Perpetual Sabbath.


Book I
Chapter 3 Some Things Are for Use, Some for Enjoyment.
Chapter 4 Difference of Use and Enjoyment.
Chapter 22 God Alone to Be Enjoyed.
Chapter 23 Man Needs No Injunction to Love Himself and His Own Body.
Chapter 24 No Man Hates His Own Flesh, Not Even Those Who Abuse It.
Chapter 25 A Man May Love Something More Than His Body, But Does Not Therefore Hate His Body.
Chapter 26 The Command to Love God and Our Neighbor Includes a Command to Love Ourselves.
Chapter 27 The Order of Love.
Chapter 28 How We Are to Decide Whom to Aid.
Chapter 29 We Are to Desire and Endeavor That All Men May Love God.
Chapter 36 That Interpretation of Scripture Which Builds Us up in Love Is Not Perniciously Deceptive Nor Mendacious, Even Though It Be Faulty. The Interpreter, However, Should Be Corrected.
Chapter 37 Dangers of Mistaken Interpretation.
Chapter 38 Love Never Faileth.
Chapter 39 He Who Is Mature in Faith, Hope, and Love, Needs Scripture No Longer.
Chapter 40 What Manner of Reader Scripture Demands.


Chapter 31 Love
Chapter 32 The End of All the Law
Chapter 33 Conclusion


Letter 20 Saint Augustine to Antoninus “You should love for its own sake that goodness which he of course loves who loves another because he believes him to be good.”
Letter 27 Saint Augustine to Paulinus “I grieve because I do not see you.”
Letter 58 Saint Augustine to Pammachius “I have seen your inner being . . . and knowing you has made me love you.”
Letter 130 Saint Augustine to Proba How to pray, what to pray for. Prayer as the school of desire. One’s life testifies to the authenticity of one’s prayer. Restlessness is a sign that the heart has not found its happiness. Only God can give full happiness.
Letter 189 Saint Augustine to Boniface “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.”


Psalm 16 Preserve me, O Lord, for in Thee have I hoped.
Psalm 18 I will love Thee, O Lord, My strength.
Psalm 23 The Lord Jesus Christ is my Shepherd.
Psalm 26 Prove me, O Lord, and try me.
Psalm 27 The Lord is my light, and my salvation: whom shall I fear?
Psalm 30 I will exalt Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast taken Me up.
Psalm 31 In Thee, O Lord, have I trusted.
Psalm 36 The ungodly hath said in himself that he will sin: there is no fear of God before his eyes.
Psalm 51 Have pity upon me, O God, after Thy great mercy.
Psalm 54 O God, in Thy name make me safe, and in Thy virtue judge me.
Psalm 67 May God have pity on us, and bless us.
Psalm 73 How good is the God of Israel! To men right in heart. (The godly study of love.)
Psalm 90 Lord, Thou hast been our refuge from one generation to another. (All our good works are one work of love.)
Psalm 96 O sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the earth. (A new song, a new commandment, that
ye love one another.)
Psalm 121 Lift up their eyes to the hills whence cometh their help. (Charity moveth them to walk and to improve and to ascend: pride moveth them to fall.)
Psalm 149 Sing ye to the Lord a new song. (And this song is of peace, this song is of charity.)


Chapter 1 It Is Shown by Reason That in God Three Are Not Anything Greater Than One Person.
Chapter 2 Every Corporeal Conception Must Be Rejected, in Order That It May Be Understood How God Is Truth.
Chapter 3 How God May Be Known to Be the Chief Good. The Mind Does Not Become Good Unless by Turning to God.
Chapter 4 God Must First Be Known by an Unerring Faith, That He May Be Loved.
Chapter 5 How the Trinity May Be Loved Though Unknown.
Chapter 6 How the Man Not Yet Righteous Can Know the Righteous Man Whom He Loves.
Chapter 7 Of True Love, by Which We Arrive at the Knowledge of the Trinity. God Is to Be Sought, Not Outwardly, by Seeking to Do Wonderful Things with the Angels, But Inwardly, by Imitating the Piety of Good Angels.
Chapter 8 That He Who Loves His Brother, Loves God; Because He Loves Love Itself, Which Is of God, and Is God.
Chapter 9 Our Love of the Righteous Is Kindled from Love Itself of the Unchangeable Form of Righteousness.
Chapter 10 There Are Three Things in Love, as It Were a Trace of the Trinity.


Tractate 65 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another.”


First Homily 1 John 1:1–2:11
Second Homily 1 John 2:12–17
Fifth Homily 1 John 3:9–18
Sixth Homily 1 John 3:19–4:3
Ninth Homily 1 John 4:17–21
Tenth Homily 1 John 5:1–3


Sermon 33 On What Is Written in the Psalm: “O God, I Will Sing You a New Song.”
Sermon 34 Sermon Preached in Carthage at the Ancestors
Sermon 344 On Love of God and Love of the World
Sermon 349 On Charity
Sermon 350 On Charity
Sermon 350A On Charity and on Loving God Alone
Sermon 368 Sermon of Augustine the Bishop Preached on the Text “Whoever Loves His Soul Will Lose It.”
Sermon 382 Sermon on the Birthday of Saint Stephen the First Martyr (“Love your enemies.”)
Sermon 385 On Our Love for One Another
Sermon 386 On Loving Our Enemies

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About Augustine of Hippo

Augustine, (354-430) was the bishop of Hippo in North Africa and a Father of the Church. Born to a Christian mother and a pagan father, Augustine underwent a profound conversion experience at the age of 32, renouncing his life of sensuality and wordly ambition. Ordained a priest in 391 and made bishop in 396, Augustine was also a pioneer of monasticism and founded a religious rule that is still widely used by men and women in monastic life. James O'Donnell is provost at Georgetown University and editor of the definitive edition of Augustine's Confessions. He is the author of Augustine: A New Biography (Ecco, 2005).
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