St Augustine of Hippo
On 28th August 430 a.d. Aurelius Augustine died at Hippo in Algeria, where he had been bishop for thirty-four years. He was then almost seventy-six years old. For thirty-three of those years he had lived a rakish life seeking satisfaction in many areas – philosophical theories, sexual exploits, rhetorical disputations – but finding none until he found the Scriptures and the God who spoke to him through them. This fulfilment is echoed in the opening paragraph of his most famous book, The Confessions of St. Augustine:
“You are great, O Lord, and man desires to praise you. You so excite him that to praise you is his joy. For you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
|These are the reflections of a spirit that had searched through long, frustrating years for a meaning to life. When he found this meaning it was poured out in a transformed life-style, many books, commentaries and sermons.
Augustine has left an inestimable legacy to the church, so much so that he is by far the most quoted author in the documents of Vatican II.
Because of his experiences, his mentality and the thinking of his day he is one who speaks eloquently to the people and problems of our day where again people are searching for a similar meaning to life.
Today’s searches follow the same frustrating channels as Augustine in his early years. But life for us, as for Augustine, can be understood only through its Author – God.
Read – Saint Augustine, Man Pastor and Mystic by Agostino Trape.