Not bodily beauty nor the gracefulness of age; nor light’s brightness, so dear to the eyes of mine;
not the sweet melodies of song, nor the fragrance of flowers, or perfumes, of aromas;
not manna nor honey; not the body so dear to the embraces of the flesh:
no, these are not the things I love when I love my God.
And yet in a certain sense I do love light and sound, smell, food, and embrace of my inner being.
There [in God], a light shines for my soul untrammeled by space; there, I hear a sound that does not disappear into time; there, I smell a perfume that the wind does not carry off; there, I savor things that no gluttony makes sickly; there I experience an embrace never to be broken by [excess].
All this I love when I love my God.
So then I asked the earth,
‘What is all this?’
and it replied:
‘It is not me.’
And all the things on earth gave me the same answer.
I quizzed the sea and its depths, the living things that move there, and they replied:
‘We are not your God, seek higher.’…
And then I said to all those things seated before the door of my senses,
‘If it is not you, tell me something about my God, speak to me of him.’
And with a mighty voice all cried:
‘He is our creator.’ I looked at the creatures, and asked; their beauty was their answer. "
(Augustine, Confession X, 6, 8)