Lessons From Saint Augustine
By Brother Thomas Augustine, MICM
The lessons Saint Augustine left us are contained in sermons, books, and actions, that would exhaust a life time of study. However, the universal lesson for all is that happiness and peace cannot be found outside of God and His Divine plan for each and every one of us.
Having spent three decades seeking enjoyment in worldly pleasures, vain honors, and sin of every kind, Augustine found nothing but disappointment and sorrow which taunted his conscience no end. Nevertheless, In his agonizing wonderings, he did not fall into despair or become suicidal—as we see so often today—but was spurred on to continue his search.
At the age of 33 he finally found the truth and exclaimed in his Confessions, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” Human nature has not changed over the centuries. We have the same longings for eternal happiness that has been instilled in us by God and which He alone can satisfy.
Another monumental lesson that leaps out in the life of Saint Augustine is that conversion and Baptism bring about a truly new life with undreamed-of possibilities. Augustine went on to become a priest, bishop, saint, and one of the greatest theologians of the Catholic Church. He is also greatly responsible for how the mind of Western man thinks of the world around him.
He is called “Doctor of Grace” because he zealously explained that all the good we do is done by the grace of God. He credits the grace of his conversion to the constant prayers of his loving mother, Saint Monica, thereby giving a prime lesson of the efficacy and importance of persevering prayer. She asked for his conversion but God gave her so much more. Her mission complete, God took her nine days after Augustine’s Baptism. Her last words were, “Remember me at the altar.”
Of Saint Monica he speaks, “Chiefly my mother, to whom I believe, I owe all which in me is life… and that by the daily tears of my mother, I was granted that I should not perish.” And in another place he addresses her, “You, through whose prayers I undoubtedly believe and affirm, that God gave me that mind that I should prefer nothing to the discovery of truth, wish, think of, love naught besides. Nor do I fail to believe, that this so great good, which through thee I have come to desire, through thy prayers I shall attain.”