Saint Augustine was brought up by his mother as a Christian, but he gave up his religion when he went to school at Carthage. In his Confessions he repents of his wild youth in Carthage, during which time he fathered an illegitimate son. His years at Milan were the critical period of his life where he came to renounce his early beliefs after a deep study of Neoplatonism and skepticism. Augustine, troubled in spirit, was greatly drawn by the eloquent fervor of St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan. After two years of great doubt and mental disquietude, Augustine suddenly decided to embrace Christianity.
St. Augustine’s influence on Christianity is thought by many to be second only to that of St. Paul, and theologians, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, look upon him as one of the founders of Western theology. His Confessions is considered a classic of Christian autobiography. This work, the prime source for St. Augustine’s life, is a beautifully written apology for the Christian convert. Next to it his best-known work is the City of God, a mammoth defense of Christianity against its pagan critics, and famous especially for the uniquely Christian view of history.
“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”
“Patience is the companion of wisdom.”
“Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation.”
“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”
“Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.”
“Better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.”
“Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked.”