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St. Augustine of Hippo

St. Augustine reminds us that it is never too late to answer God’s call. During his teen and young adult life, he lived a highly emotional and sensual life and behaved indecently as recounted in his confessions. His mother Monica unrelentingly prayed for her conversion despite the odds. It was a joy and delight for Monica knowing that her learned pagan son converted to Christianity. He kept hearing a child’s voice asking him to take up and read which he later understood as the voice of God prompting him to open up the bible. 

Reading Paul’s letters was a pivotal and climactic moment of his life, most significantly when he came across Romans 13, an enormously powerful and striking chapter, rich in meaning and profound in moral teaching that captured his attention forever. “Let us then cast off the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in daylight, not in carousing and drunkenness, not debauchery (sexual excess) and lust (licentiousness), not in quarreling and jealousy. But, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” This chapter had such a tremendous impact in his life which led the way to his conversion to Christianity largely caused by the power of the word. He said, Paul’s verses were the one he needed in those times. After his dramatic and sensational conversion, he lived a life of solitude together with his Mother, brother, son and friend, Alipius and decided to give up everything they had for the small community. He denounced his possessions and intensely focused on living the Gospel. As a priest, he worked hard preaching the Gospel to his people and labored pastorally. Later, he was appointed as the Bishop of Hippo and fought hard against of the heresies taught by Manicheanism, Donatism, Pelagianism, Semi-pelagianism and Arianism. He continued writing homilies and correcting false teachings. The confessions and the city of God are the two books that gained much publicity and inspiration and have been universally read and admired which told the story of a soul that praises the actions of God. His comments on the human condition caused in part by the growing problems and pertinent issues of his time became the backbone of Christian thought for many centuries. His most famous quotation runs, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” In his room, there is a large slogan hanging on the wall, “Never speak evil of anyone.” Amen.

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