A Saint for the Rest of Us…

…meaning, this is the saint of the wild, the procrastinator, the know it all in each of us…
Its the feast day of St. Augustine!

Ok, most of us know Augustine.  But just in case: this saint, from north Africa, {born in Tagaste, in Africa, in 354} is one of the biggies: a Doctor of the Church and one of the great writers throughout Church history. I like him for so many reasons, not the least of which is his connection with his mom and her devoted prayers for her son. You know, I will always have a soft spot for a mom and son….

His teachings are noted throughout Christendom for their lasting influence and, simply put, their beauty. Sure, yes, of course, their brilliance and wisdom too.  But….it’s important to remember how he started, I think.  He started on this road with a left turn – years of living a life that was wild, utterly hedonistic, and dipped into all sorts of heresy and convoluted ideas of god…..but when he returned to the Faith, he did so in a big way, using his brilliant mind to convey the beauty of Truth to generations to come.

Indeed, this is the antiphon from evening prayer tonight:
“Late have I loved you,
O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, 
late have I loved you.  
You called, you shouted and you shattered my deafness.”

Late have I loved you…“ Indeed. And perhaps, that is part of his appeal to so many, so many of us (ok, me), have really felt that, lived that. Late.  I loved you late. I missed so much, for so long. The “band width” of my life was so slim, so small, and I didn’t even know it. I was fooled by the hedonistic life (now I”m not saying wild, let me be clear…not too much so or compared to today’s standards, anyhow.  Ahem) I lived into thinking it was so wide. I was arrogant enough to think I knew it all. Only, later, later when I finally let go of my grip on that did I finally come to realize how very very limited and small it all really was.

And it was then that this saint, St. Augustine, once more, came through for me with one of his most famous prayers:

“You have made us for yourself, oh God. 
And our hearts are restless, until they rest in you.“ 

Ah. I know, I’m paraphrasing that quote, but that’s how it sticks in my head and heart. And that about sums it all up: St. Augustine, life in general, me in particular.  Late.  Too busy to stop and see, to stop and hear, to stop and love.  For the real depth of it, the real deal.  Late.  But, not never.  So, for all of you busy hectic procrastinators and or know it all’s out there (like me)….St Augustine, he’s your man.

icon written by Nancy Oliphant

Really, it’s never too late to wake up to love.  
Thank goodness!
Happy feast day!
St. Augustine, pray for us!