What I Love When I Love God

Some months ago I came across an excerpt from the writing of St. Augustine of Hippo speaking of love of God. I thought of posting it at the time, but didn’t for one reason or another. I just came across it again, and didn’t want to pass up a second time a chance to share it.

Augustine starts by observing that everything he sees tells him that he should love God. He then asks what that means and attempts to give some explanation.

What is is that I love when I love you? Not the beauty of any bodily thing, nor the order of seasons, not the brightness of light that rejoices the eye, nor the sweet melodies of all songs, nor the sweet fragrance of flowers and ointments and spices: not manna nor honey, nor the limbs that carnal love embraces. None of these things do I love in loving my God. Yet in a sense I do love light and melody and fragrance and food and embrace when I love my God – the light and the voice and the fragrance and the food and embrace in the soul, when that light shines upon my soul which no place can contain, that voice sounds which no time can take from me, I breathe that fragrance which no wind scatters, I eat the food which is not lessened by eating, and I lie in the embrace which satiety never comes to sunder. That it is I love, when I love my God.

How do you answer the question Augustine puts to himself? What is it that you love when you love God?