A reflection written by SCAn Ryan Magdangal
“You called and shouted and burst my deafness. You flashed, shone, and scattered my blindness. You breathed odors, and I drew in breath and panted for You. I tasted, and I hunger and thirst. You touched me, and I burned for Your peace.” ― Confessions by St Augustine of Hippo, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
What better conversion story does the Catholic Church have that is more ancient and more profound than that of Saint Augustine? Born in 354, he lived his early life in wickedness and false beliefs. An intelligent man, with a mind darkened by impurity and pride — he was not able to see nor understand Divine Truth.
Through years of prayers and tears from her mother, Saint Monica, and the marvelous preaching of Saint Ambrose, Augustine was convinced of Catholicism as the one true religion. As Augustine flung himself out into the garden and cried out to God, "How long more, O Lord? Why does not this hour put an end to my sins?" Just then he heard a child singing, "Take up and read!", he picked up the book of the Letters of St. Paul, and read the first passage his gaze fell on. Soon after: he was baptized, became a priest, later on a bishop, a writer, founder of a religious order, and one of the greatest saints that ever lived!
Saint Augustine overcame strong heresies, practiced great poverty and supported the poor, preached very often and prayed with great fervor 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. St. Augustine's example and teaching is needed now more than ever. The struggles he needed to overcome, the false beliefs he needed to let go, and the promiscuous life he needed to leave behind are just some of the things that today's world advertises.
Like Augustine, let us be renewed by God's love — reborn into a life of holiness and truth. May his example and teaching lead us to conversion and faith in God, who loves us beyond comprehension and understanding!
St. Augustine, pray for us!
SCAn Ryan Magdangal is an Engineering Student from University of Negros Occidental - Recoletos
*Confessions by Saint Augustine
*Saint Augustine of Hippo, Catholic Online