Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Augustine. I want to go outside of our regular format today and talk about this great saint. By the way, we see much of our first reading played out in the life of St. Augustine. Read it and see if you agree.
Augustine was a man of the world. He was given immense gifts by God. He was a brilliant thinker and a skilled orator. From an early age he knew that he wanted to practice law and use his oratory skills in front of the court. After leaving home, he rose rapidly in the world and made a name for himself. But he wanted nothing to do with religion. His mother, Monica (whose feast we celebrated yesterday), prayed relentlessly for the conversion of her son. Eventually, God answered her prayers. Augustine became a bishop and one of the greatest minds in the history of the Church.
My life was not unlike Augustine’s. For many years I wanted nothing to do with God or Jesus or religion. It was all about me. Left to his own devices, Augustine (and I, and probably you) would have remained a slave to ego and sin. But God had another plan. He gave Augustine very special gifts to bring the message of Christ to the world. Just as God has done for you. Augustine epitomizes the old saw, The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Like He did with Augustine, God wants to use you and me today for great things. Are you willing to say yes?
Too late have I loved You, O Beauty so ancient and so new, too late have I loved You. You have called to me, and have cried out, and have shattered my deafness. You have blazed forth with light and have put my blindness to flight! (From Augustine’s Confessions)