Posted by: fvbcdm | August 28, 2007

Feast of Saint Augustine (28 August)

Yesterday we spoke of Saint Monica, and today we celebrate her son, Saint Augustine. He’s a tremendously important figure in Church history.

To understand his great position in Christian history, let try to divide the story into segments.

First, we had Our Divine Lord and his apostles. They lived in the first century of Christian history. The Church was born and began to spread at that first Pentecost just after Our Lord ascended into heaven. The Roman empire began to persecute the Church, and continued doing so until the Emperor Constantine in the year 313 allowed it to exist and operate openly. Then there was a great flowering of the intellectual and spiritual life of the Church with the fathers and doctors of the Church. People like Saints Augustine, Ambrose, Gregory the Great and Jerome, who translated the Bible into Latin for the sake of the Latin-speaking empire. In the Greek-speaking east, the Church produced men like Saint Basil, John Chrysostom, and Athanasius. Of these, the greatest was Saint Augustine.

Gifted with a brilliant mind, and moved by God’s grace, thanks no doubt to the prayers of his mother, Saint Monica, the 40-year-old ex-playboy—now a priest and bishop—turned his fine mind to Christian revelation as he found it in the Scriptures and the teachings of the earlier Church. He had “first crack” at all of this wealth of doctrine, so to speak. He wrote copiously, and immensely enriched the Church by his explanations and commentaries on Scripture and the Tradition of the Church. You can find his “Confessions” and “The City of God”—two very famous books of his—in most of the libraries of the world and all Catholic seminaries and universities. And in the Liturgy of the Hours, we read constantly from his other works by which he sheds light upon the Bible and the teachings of the Church. He died nearly 1600 years ago, but is still very true, very relevant, very helpful.

Our Divine Lord tells us in the gospel: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Saint Augustine helps us to follow that way, understand that truth, and live in accordance with that life. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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