Saint Augustine of Hippo is the famous son of Saint Monica who was born 372AD in Africa and died in Hippo in 430AD. He was one of the most intelligent men who ever lived during his time. Although he had been brought up a Christian, his sins of lust and his pride -as he admitted in his book Confessions- darkened his mind that he could not see and understand the Divine Truth. Augustine spent many years of his early life in wicked living and false beliefs, though he enjoyed a prosperous career thanks to his eminent intelligence and command in rhetoric.
Through the prayers of his holy mother Saint Monica and the marvellous preaching of St Ambrose, he went on to become a pre-eminent theologian and eloquent preacher and writer.
Yet he did not become a Christian then, because he thought he could never live a pure life. One day, however, he heard about two men who had suddenly been converted on reading the life of St. Anthony, and he felt terribly ashamed of himself. “What are we doing?” he cried to his friend Alipius. “Unlearned people are taking Heaven by force, while we, with all our knowledge, are so cowardly that we keep rolling around in the mud of our sins!”
Augustine finally became convinced that Christianity was the one true religion. His search for the truth became his finding of the Truth incarnated in a Person, Jesus Christ. Bishop Ambrose was the instrument to open his eyes. “Augustine, man does not find the truth. He must allow the Truth to find him”. He realized that his effort was just intellectual, and his many sins prevented the light of God to come to him. He understood that his attitude should be the one of removing obstacles, and the rest was the task of the Holy Spirit, to make him understand the Truth of the words of Jesus Christ. His complete turnaround and conversion has been an inspiration to many who struggle with a particular vice or habit they long to break. He was baptized, became a priest, a bishop in Hyppo (North of Africa), a famous Catholic writer. He is one of the greatest saints that ever lived. He became very devout and charitable, too. On the wall of his room he had the following sentence written in large letters: “Here we do not speak evil of anyone.” Saint Augustine overcame strong heresies (arianism and montanism), practiced great poverty and supported the poor, preached very often and prayed with great fervour right up until his death. “Too late have I loved You!” he once cried to God, but with his holy life he certainly made up for the sins he committed before his conversion.