St Augustine and Monica" (1846),
by Ary Scheffer.
Prayer of Repentance
by Saint Augustine
Too late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient, O Beauty so new.
Too late have I loved you!
You were within me but I was outside myself, and there I sought you!
In my weakness I ran after the beauty of the things you have made.
You were with me, and I was not with you.
The things you have made kept me from you - the things which would have no being unless they existed in you!
You have called, you have cried, and you have pierced my deafness.
You have radiated forth, you have shined out brightly, and you have dispelled my blindness.
You have sent forth your fragrance, and I have breathed it in, and I long for you.
I have tasted you, and I hunger and thirst for you.
You have touched me, and I ardently desire your peace.
Saint Augustine Also Known as Augustine of Hippo
Feast Day is August 28
St. Augustine was born at Tagaste (modern Algeria) in Africa. His father was a pagan who converted on his death bed; his mother was Saint Monica, a devout Christian. He received a Christian upbringing and in 370 went to the University at Carthage to study rhetoric with a view to becoming a lawyer. He gave up law to devote himself to literary pursuits and gradually abandoned his Christian faith, taking a mistress with whom he lived fifteen years and who bore him a son, Adeodatus, in 372.
After investigating and experimenting with several philosophies, he became a Manichaean for several years; it taught of a great struggle between good and evil, and featured a lax moral code. A summation of his thinking at the time comes from his Confessions: "God, give me chastity and continence - but not just now."
In 384, he accepted the chair of rhetoric at Milan, and of his tutor, Simplicianus, he returned to his Christian faith and was baptized on Easter Eve 387. On the death of his mother he returned to Africa, sold his property, gave the proceeds to the poor, and founded a sort of monastery at Tagaste.
He was ordained in 390 and moved to Hippo where he established a community with several of his friends who had followed him. Five years later he was consecrated Bishop and made coadjutor to Valerius, Bishop of Hippo, whom he succeeded in the following year. Augustine became the dominant figure in African Church affairs and was the leader in the bitter fights against Manichaeism, Donatism, Pelagianism and other heresies.
Augustine's towering intellect molded the thought of Western Christianity to such an extent that his years after his death. He wrote profusely, expositing and defending the faith, and to this day many of his two hundred treatises, some three hundred sermons are of major import in theology and philosophy. Among his best best-known works are his Confessions; City of God, a magnificent exposition of a Christian philosophy of history; De Trinitate; De Doctrina Christiana; Enchiridion; and his treatises against the Manichaeans and the Pelagians. His later thinking can be summed up in a line from his writings: "Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you." Called Doctor of Grace, he is one of the greatest of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and with the possible exception of Thomas Aquinas, the greatest single intellect the Catholic Church has ever produced.