Jean-Luc Marion & Saint Augustine

“Let me seek you, O Lord, by invoking you, and let me invoke you by believing in you. For you addressed me in advance. Let my faith invoke you, O Lord, my faith that you gave to me, that you inspired in me through the ministry of your Son, through the ministry of he who spoke in advance” -Augustine

To speak of God is a dangerous game. For Marion, the Confessions of Saint Augustine is not a theological, nor philosophical treatise. The Confessions are an act of praise. We are called from God to praise Him. It is not we who establish this relationship, but God Himself reconciling us and calling us back to communion with Himself as He originally intended for human beings to do. God speaks His word, and we respond to that call:

“The first to hear was in fact first of all also the first to speak, in a sense the sole one. In other words I can predicate nothing of God to other men, if I do not first say it to God (who validates it to me by hearing it) because more essentially I say nothing to God (and a fortiori nothing of God) that was not first said by him to me. Scripture precedes my own writing and permits citation, or rather permits me my writing as citation, such that the word said silently to me by the other precedes the uttering that I carry out and that follows from it. Whether it falls silent or speaks, my word always responds to the word, silent or written, of God. Not only does the scripture of God precede my live word, which repeats it, but my word becomes live only in and through resaying the originally living saying of the Word of God. Praise is therefore carried out as a word resaid, which responds by resaying what it first heard, in short as the word of the responsal. Thus the originary word of God, that which I cite in order to speak to him in turn, resounds as always already emitted and given, in short, as essentially a call.” (p. 14)


Marion, Jean-Luc (2012-10-24). In the Self’s Place: The Approach of Saint Augustine (Cultural Memory in the Present) Stanford University Press. Kindle Edition.


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