Today is the Feast of Saint Augustine of Hippo, the great 4-5th century theologian, philosopher and bishop. Happy feast day!
A native of north Africa, Saint Augustine left behind a youthful dalliance with theological heresy and moral dissolution in order to be baptized into the Catholic Church in 386 AD. His keen intellect, extensive learning and deep piety combined to make him one of the most influential thinkers in the history of Western civilization. According to his contemporary, Saint Jerome, Augustine “established anew the ancient Faith”. His many important works include The City of God, On Christian Doctrine, and his Confessions.
So, what relevance is Saint Augustine to us today? The Diocese of Lansing’s Director of Religious Education, Tim Carpenter, now explains. He writes:
“Saint Augustine is one of the pillars of leadership in the Church’s history. His writings are profound. They reveal an intellect that plumbs the depths of philosophy, theology, and the Scriptures. But what is more impressive is his vulnerability as displayed by the plunge into his own heart. His Confessions are the first real personal testimony and autobiography in human history. The quality of his testimony is striking. He speaks openly of his failure and successes, his desire for good and bad things, his feelings and concerns for friends, and ultimately the movement of his heart, at times away from, and at other times, toward God. He invites us into his own struggle within. And it is clear that his point in sharing is not as a stage to speak of himself but to turn the spotlight upon God. Augustine uses his own experiences to illustrate how God is working inside his heart and mind to draw him closer. Saint Augustine doesn’t seem to care what we think of him so long as we come to see God.” f
Have a very happy and holy feast day! Saint Augustine, pray for us!