Born in northern Africa in 354, Saint Augustine was raised by his mother. Known to have been a difficult child, he became an atheist and a scholar who was finely educated. Unhappy with the school that he founded in 383, Augustine moved to Milan just one year later. It was at this school that he met Saint Ambrose who was known to be a great speaker.
Augustine was impressed by the way Ambrose spoke, and it ultimately led to Augustine converting to Christianity. This was much to the relief of his mother who was a devoted Christian and had been praying for her son’s redemption.
The Book of Romans
It is well known that the book of Romans is thought to have changed Augustine’s life. One day, when he was spending time in a garden he heard a child shout “Take up and read!”. It was at this moment that St. Augustine felt drawn to reading the book of Romans. This book made Augustine realize that he was living a life of sin and it was now his time to ask for redemption. After reading one particular passage, he remarked that he felt a peaceful light shining in his heart, and all doubt had vanished.
Augustine and Western Philosophy
Augustine had a large impact on the history of thought. Western philosophy and culture were thought to have changed due to his works. Some of Augustine’s work such as “Confessions” is considered to be one of the very first, if not the first autobiography to have been written in the western world. It is also considered by some to be one of the most widely read Christian antiquity books.
City of God
In addition to writing “Confessions”, Augustine also wrote “City of God”. This philosophical book was written after the fall of Rome in 410. Some pagans claimed that the city’s collapse was due to the influence of Christianity. However, Augustine’s book offered a different view of the religion and in it, he claimed that the City of God was different from the city of the world. The book explained Christianity and its effects, rather than the cause of Rome’s collapse.
In 430, a Germanic tribe invaded parts of Roman Africa. At the same time, Augustine had fallen seriously ill, even though he was ill, it’s thought that he performed a miracle. Possidius, Augustine’s friend claimed that a man had been healed thanks to Augustine’s prayers.
Spending his last few days in prayer, Augustine asked for the Psalms of David to be hung up on his walls so he could read them. After his death in 430, the Germanic tribe left Rome. Augustine’s library and his cathedral were untouched by the siege.
Canonized in 1298, Saint Augustine’s feast day is on August 28th, and he is celebrated by theologians, printers, brewers, and some dioceses and cities.
Leading a remarkable life and having a huge impact on western Christianity are just a few reasons why saint Augustine is revered.