chapter  8
19 Pages

TOTAL CONCENTRATION OF THE HEART

To address this issue, we must first come to terms with Monica. In the account of Ostia, she too touched divine Wisdom through the total concentration of her heart. In many respects, Augustine’s representation of contemplation becomes clearer when we study it from the standpoint of Monica. Above all, attention to Monica provides a basis for separating off Augustine’s account of contemplation from that found in the libri Platonicorum. If contemplation in the Confessions should be read neither as a failed instance of Plotinian ecstasy nor as a successful one, then what is the distinctive nature of Christian contemplation according to Augustine’s text?