The Daily Prayer
FRIDAY, August 28, 2020
Augustine of Hippo (354 — 430)
One of the greatest influences on the theology of Western Christianity, Augustine wanted from a young age to understand the meaning of life and the nature of good and evil. As a teacher, he sought answers to these questions through the best philosophy of his day. Although his mother, Monica, had instructed him in the Christian faith, he was not originally drawn to the tradition, but later found a depth and wisdom in Christianity to explain the question of evil and good. The famous story of Augustine’s conversion involves an experience in a garden in Milan. Torn between living a life of chastity and remembering his former life of sin, he prayed for forgiveness and immediately heard the voice of a child singing from a neighboring house, “Take up and read!” He picked up a book of St. Paul’s epistles left nearby, and the words he found there changed him forever. After his baptism, Augustine moved to North Africa to pursue a monastic life, but he was urged by the church to become ordained and was later made bishop of Hippo, where he served for thirty-five years. Augustine has rightly been criticized for silencing some important voices in his own day and passing on a harmful view of the body. He was not perfect, but he himself insisted that grace is the heart of our faith.
Augustine of Hippo said, “Let us leave a little room for reflection in our lives, room too for silence. Let us look within ourselves and see whether there is some delightful hidden place inside where we can be free of noise and argument. Let us hear the Word of God in stillness and perhaps we will then come to understand it.”
Teach us to listen, Lord. Quiet the noise of our lives so we can hear your voice. Amen.