St. Augustine, Great Sinner Turned Great Saint

Many years ago when I was a cafeteria, progressive Catholic, I was blessed to read St. Augustine’s “Confessions”.  I would encourage everyone, who has not read it, to do so.  It is a short book, his autobiography.  When reading it, his poetical form of writing, was some what of a challenge for me to get through.   But in reality, it is just him praying and musing over how God’s grace, mercy and love had been working on him to save him all through his life, and how glad he was for that.

augustinWhen I got to the part where, after studying and being part of all sorts of religions, he finally converts to Catholicism, I remember saying; “who am I to be so judgmental of the Catholic Church”.  I realized that I was young, not nearly as educated as St. Augustine, and yet being the judge of God’s Church’s teachings.  From that day forward, instead of resisting the Church’s traditional teachings, I began to love Mother Church and Her teachings and morals.

St. Augustine was influenced by:

1) His mother’s prayers and example, (St. Monica).

2) Reading the biography of St. Antony of the Desert which motivated him to want to give up his sensual relations with his concubine and live a life of prayer.  But, as much as he wanted, he was able to give up this because he was, as he called it, “chained” to sin.  “How long more, O Lord? Why does not this hour put an end to my sins?”

3) A miracle of hearing a child’s voice singing and telling him to pick up, (Tolle Lege, Tolle Lege), the Bible and read:  “Let us walk honestly, as in the day: not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy: But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscences.”  

“No further would I read”, he wrote later, “nor had I any need; instantly at the end  of this sentence, a clear light flooded my heart and all the darkness of doubt vanished away.”

4) Talking and praying with St. Ambrose of Milan on the difficult theological questions he had.

Here are some great quotes from this great saint.

augustine

“I should not believe the Gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church.”(St. Augustine, Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental, 5,6)

“That Bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God IS THE BODY OF CHRIST. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, IS THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. Through that bread and wine the Lord Christ willed to commend HIS BODY AND BLOOD, WHICH HE POURED OUT FOR US UNTO THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.” (St. Augustine, Sermons 227)

“It was not the visible sun, but its invisible Creator who consecrated this day for us, when the Virgin Mother, fertile of womb and integral in her virginity, brought him forth, made visible for us, by whom, when he was invisible, she too was created. A Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual. Why do you wonder at this, O man?” (Sermons 186:1 [A.D. 411])

220px-Saint_Augustine_by_Philippe_de_Champaigne“Our bodies are shaped to bear children, and our lives are a working out of the processes of creation. All our ambitions and intelligence are beside that great elemental point. ”

“To many, total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.”

“Love is the beauty of the soul.”

“Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked. ”

“Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.”

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”

“O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.”

“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like. ”

“Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.”

Augustine_Teaching in Rome_GOZZOLI, BenozzoPRAYERS OF ST. AUGUSTINE

PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.

EVER ANCIENT, EVER NEW

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

11_06_19_Augustine_Trinity_GimignanoPainting of the Child Jesus Explaining to St. Augustine That He Could Not Understand All Mysteries.

St. Augustine was only one man.  St. Monica was only one woman.  St. Ambrose was only one man too.  But each had their important role in maintaining the traditions of the Catholic Church which was being bombarded by heretics and barbarians in there time.  May we be those few people willing to live and die for traditional Catholic truth.

We are so blessed to have the great examples of the traditional saints to live and share traditional Catholic faith today.