Today is the Feast of St. Augustine, perhaps one of the most significant and influential Christian thinkers in the history of Christianity. Born around 354, his impact has been felt ever since the fourth century. Today, we are the lucky recipients of excellent scholarship about and translation of so many of Augustine’s writings. His most famous text remains Confessions, but his books City of God and On Christian Doctrine also remain highly influential. I was fortunate enough to take a seminar on Augustine while working on my Master’s degrees and to spend a whole semester with Augustine was wonderful and enlivening because of the material we covered, while also frustrating and unsatisfying because there is so much more that could be read. Augustine was incredibly prolific!
In honor of today’s feast, I thought it might be good to share a portion of the famous opening sequence from his Confessions.
‘You are great, Lord, and highly to be praised (Ps 47): great is your power and your wisdom is immeasurable’ (Ps 146). Man [sic], a little piece of your creation, desires to praise you, a human being ‘bearing his mortality with him’ (2 Cor 4:10), carrying with him the witness of his sin and the witness that you ‘resist the proud’ (1 Peter 5:5). Nevertheless, to praise you is the desire of man, a little piece of your creation. You stir man to take pleasure in praising you, because you have made us for yourself, and out heart is restless until it rests in you (1:1).
May you have a blessed Feast of St. Augustine and allow yourselves to be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which leads all of humanity, created capax Dei, to fulfill that restlessness of heart with the love of God.