Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 15 May

statue of Saint Augustine of Hippo; created by an unknown Moravian sculptor, date unknown; Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Brno-Zábrdovice, Czech Republic; photographed 28 January 2018 by OndranessConversion of Saint Augustine

Grace and nature struggled in deadly conflict in the soul of Augustine. The life of Saint Antony, which he had read and which appeared to him sublime by its very simplicity, urged him towards the right way. “What,” he exclaimed, “the ignorant take Heaven by storm and we with our heartless wisdom are still the slaves of flesh and blood!” But it cost him dearly to break with the past. “I wept,” he tells us later on, “tied, not by an iron chain but by my will harder than iron.” One day when, exhausted by these combats he was praying in a garden, he heard a voice singing: “Take and read. Take and read.” Then he opened the Epistles of Saint Paul, and the passage which first met his eyes corresponded so well with his state of mind that all hesitation ceased and he was baptized by Saint Ambrose. Although his conversion had been so miraculous, he did not think himself dispensed on that account from taking the ordinary means to ensure perseverance, so he retired into the country far from all dangerous occasions and there, in the company of a few friends, he devoted himself to study, prayer, fasting and instructing the ignorant. How much good has been done and will be done through all time by the book of his “Confessions”. (387)

Prayer

“Too late have I loved Thee, O Beauty ever ancient and yet ever new.” – Saint Augustine of Hippo

Practice

Meditate on these thoughts of Saint Thomas: “Every movement towards God may be called conversion; there is, then, a threefold conversion: (1) By the operation of God which prepares the soul to give up sin; (2) by habitual grace which enables it to gather up merits for final beatitude; (3) by perfect love, the fruit of grace consummated, by which the creature already possesses God.” To which of these three conversions have you attained?