SAINT AUGUSTINE'S STORY
The life of this great saint reflects the pressing struggles in our modern society, with no less relevance than it did nearly 1,650 years ago. His story is one that could have been told only yesterday—born of a mixed marriage of a devout Christian mother (St. Monica) and a non-Christian father; initially raised in the Church, but grew restless and sought answers in a secular world; shed his faith for “modern” hedonism and losing himself in, to use his own words, the “fog of lustfulness” [Confessions 2:2]; and ultimately finding the faith through the gentle calling in Christ.
St. Augustine wrote a masterpiece of Christian repentance and prayer in his book The Confessions. His love for Christ leaps from every word he writes in his public repentance at the feet the Lord. He writes:
Late have I loved You, O Lord; and behold,
You were within and I without, and there I sought You.
You were with me when I was not with You.
You did call, and cry, and burst my deafness.
You did gleam, and glow, and dispel my blindness.
You did touch me, and I burned for Your peace.
For Yourself You have made us,
And restless our hearts until in You they find their ease.
Late have I loved You, You Beauty ever old and ever new. [Confessions 10:27]
In his confessions, he describes his rekindling of the Christian faith as a simple child-like voice urging Him to read the Bible. In finally heeding that voice when he was 31, the first passage he read was Romans 13:13-14 where the Apostle Paul urges each Christian to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” and shed revelry, drunkenness, lewdness, lust, strife and envy. Those words, St. Augustine knew, were intended for him.
From that day, St. Augustine spent his life in worship and dedication to the Lord, becoming a priest, then a bishop in his town of Hippo (now the modern city of Annaba in Algeria). He became known for his treatises on theology and Christian living, many of which are still studied and debated. Most important than the depth of his insight, his writing is marked by a profound piety and willingness to explore the depths and riches of God’s mysteries as revealed in the faith.
May the life of our patron saint be a model for our Church, the body of Christ, and our greater community.