Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
for August 28
Saint Augustine of Hippo is one of the most significant figures in the history of Western Christianity. The influence of his many books, sermons, and letters can be found on virtually every Christian doctrine, particularly the theology of Original Sin. But Augustine was not a plaster saint who wrote from an ivory tower. Saint Augustine was born in Tagaste, North Africa, the son of a successful businessman and an ardent Christian mother, Monica. As a youth he was a brilliant student who found the Bible dull and preferred the pursuit of other philosophies. Augustine had an appetite for pleasure, pride, sensuality, and wisdom that led him to Rome in 383. He was followed by his widowed mother, who never tired of praying over his many sins--including living for many years with his mistress. In Rome, despite his fame as a teacher and speaker, Augustine was tormented by depression. At his mother's advice, he sought the counsel of Bishop Ambrose. Through the bishop's teaching, Augustine began to realize that his anxious pursuit of pleasure and quest for wisdom were at their root a disordered quest for God. After a long delay, Augustine was baptized by Ambrose in 387. He quickly became a priest, a bishop, and a defender of the faith. His classic autobiography, "Confessions," is an account of his struggle with good and evil, his conversion, and his testimony to the power of grace. Saint Augustine's feast day is August 28. (Taken from "The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth.")
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The life of Saint Augustine of Hippo demonstrates how God never fails to seek us out, even when we are lost, confused, or burdened. Saint Augustine's spiritual autobiography, "Confessions," is considered a classic of western literature. As he reviewed his life in this book, he clearly saw the hand of God at work, even though he had been unaware of it at the time. He especially perceived God's presence in the love, concern, and prayers of his mother, Saint Monica. Saint Augustine realized that, even when he was lost in sin, God's plan was slowly unfolding in his life. God had never stopped searching for him. Speaking to God in his book, he wrote, "You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you." (Taken from "Jesus Christ: God's Love Made Visible.") Think about your own history and relationship with God. Try to notice the boundless examples of God's hand at work in your own journey.
Dear Jesus, please help me to be more aware of your influence in my life, as St. Augustine was aware of your guidance in his life.