Saint Augustine of Hippo was a theologian, philosopher, and bishop whose writings greatly influenced the development of Western philosophy and Christianity. As a Doctor of the Church, his most popular works include The City of God, On Christian Doctrine, and Confessions.
Born to a Christian mother (St. Monica) and a Pagan father, Augustine grew up having the freedom to choose his own religion. In his youth, he was drawn to Manichaeism—a major Persian religion—and eventually, to Neoplatonism. It was only in the year 386 when he finally got baptized and converted to Christianity. (Read: Prayer to Live as a Child of God)
As a full-fledged Christian, Augustine accommodated various methods and perspectives to Christianity. This allowed him to eventually develop his own approach to philosophy and theology. And with the belief that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom, he was among those who formulated the doctrine of original sin and influenced the medieval worldview.
As he played a huge role in shaping Western philosophy and Christianity, Augustine has influenced many people when it comes to embracing their being. Historian Diarmaid MacCulloch has even written about him, saying that “Augustine’s impact on Western Christian thought can hardly be overstated; only his beloved example Paul of Tarsus, has been more influential, and Westerners have generally seen Paul through Augustine’s eyes.”
Augustine was canonized by popular acclaim. In 1298, he was recognized by Pope Boniface VIII as a Doctor of the Church. His feast day is celebrated every 28th of August, the day of his death.
Prayer by St. Augustine
I beg of You, my God, let me know You and love You so that I may be happy in You. And though I cannot do this fully in this life, yet let me improve from day to day till I may do so to the full. Let me know You more and more in this life, that I may know You perfectly in heaven.
Let me know You more and more here, so that I may love you perfectly there, so that my joy may be great in itself here, and complete in heaven with You. O Truthful God, let me receive the happiness of heaven which You promise so that my joy may be full. In the meantime, let my mind think of it, let my tongue talk of it, let my heart long for it, let my mouth speak of it, let my soul hunger after it, let my flesh thirst after it, let my whole being desire it, until such time as I may enter through death into the joy of my Lord, there to continue forever, world without end. Amen.
Prayer from amm.org.