Tuesday, August 28, 2012

St. Augustine of Hippo, Doctor of the Church

St. Ambrose receives St. Augustine.
Today is the feast of St. Augustine of Hippo, whom one of today's responsories calls the "light of Doctors and bulwark of the Church."  This famous passage from The Confessions reminds us why:

TOO late have I loved Thee, Beauty so ancient, and so new ! Too late have I loved Thee! And behold, Thou wert within, and I without, and without I sought Thee; and I, deformed, ran after those forms of beauty which Thou hast made. Thou wast with me, and I was not with Thee. Those things held me back from Thee, which could have no being but in Thee. Thou calledst, Thou criedst, and Thou breakest through my deafness. Thou flashedst, thou shinedst, and Thou chasedst away my blindness. Thou didst become fragrant, and I drew in my breath, and panted after Thee. I tasted, and I hunger and thirst. Thou touchedst me, and I burned for Thy embrace.

WHEN I shall cleave to Thee with my whole being, I shall have no more sorrow and labour; and my life shall be a living life, all full of Thee. But now, seeing that all whom Thou fillest, Thou liftest up; I being not full of Thee, am a burden to myself. Sorrowful joys contend with joyous sorrows; and which will conquer, I know not. Ah me! Lord, have mercy upon me! My evil sorrows contend with my good joys ; and which will conquer, I know not. Ah me! Lord, have mercy upon me! Alas ! Look, I do not hide my wounds; Thou art the Physician, I the sick man; Thou art merciful, I am miserable.