St Augustine of Hippo [one of the most influential saints in history] was born in Tagaste in North Africa in 354. At the age of 17 St Augustine went to Carthage and there, although brought up a Christian, he left the Church and lived a hedonistic lifestyle. He began an affair with a woman who was his lover for 13 years and with whom he had a son.
At the age of 33 St Augustine had a conversion and recognised that only Jesus Christ could show him the way to eternal salvation.
St Augustine returned to Tagaste where he founded a monastery for himself and his followers, living a life of apostolic poverty, prayer, study and charity. After three years he was ordained a priest. At the age of 42 St Augustine was made the Bishop of Hippo. The memory of his own youthful failings kept him always humble. St Augustine was a great thinker and writer, his ‘Confessions’, perhaps the world’s most noted autobiography, being a memorial of his deep repentance. St Augustine died of fever on 28th August, 430.
Here are some words from St Augustine for our prayerful reflection:
“Take my heart, O Lord, for I cannot give it to you! Keep my heart, for I cannot keep it for you! Send me any cross, and save me in spite of myself.”
“Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation… Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.”
“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”
“Your Mother is the Church, and her breasts are the two testaments of the divine Scriptures. Suckle them to drink the milk of all the sacraments.”
“Why are we sad? Why do we blame God? Evils abound in the world so that the world will fail to seduce us into loving it.”
“What is hatred, after all, than anger that was allowed to remain, that has become ingrained and deep-rooted? What was anger when it was fresh becomes hatred when it is aged.”
“God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.”
“Creation is a great book. Look above you; look below you! Note it; read it! God didn’t write that book with ink. Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that? Why heaven and earth cry out to you, ‘God made me!'”
“The honours of this world – what are they but puff and emptiness.”
– From: “Spiritual Thought of Fr Chris”