An energetic youth began his pursuit for pleasure and ended in the silence and recollection of a monastery. St. Augustine was an intellectual youngster who had messed up his life. His mother, St. Monica desired his conversion and followed him everywhere he went. One day, St. Augustine heard the voice of a small boy singing – ‘Tolle lege! Tolle lege!’ which translates as, ‘Take up and read! Take up and read!’ St. Augustine took the book of St. Paul’s epistles and read in silence. This was the moment of conversion in the September of 386 A.D. St. Augustine wrote two masterpieces which are among the classics of literature: ‘Confessions’ and ‘The City of God’. In the ‘Confessions’, St. Augustine, with the most sincere humility and contrition lays open the errors of his conduct during the early years of his life. The book ‘The City of God’ is a response of St. Augustine to the pagans who blamed Christianity for their plight.
In the year 391 A.D, the Catholics of Hippo in Africa forced St. Augustine to become a Priest. He wept throughout his ordination ceremony. In five years time he became a Bishop. What makes the life of St. Augustine so complete is that he fought the good fight, not only against himself, but also against the enemies of the Church in his time. Today, as we are immersed in our daily struggles with the ‘Worldly City’, St. Augustine beckons us to be part of the ‘City of God’.
Article published in 'The Examiner', 8th August, 2009 (Vol 160, No 32)