Tuesday, August 28, 2007

St. Augustine: Biography, Favorite Quotes, and Prayers

St. Augustine is one of my favorite saints. At age 12, I read his Confessions and was fascinated with his great love and passion for the Lord. Little did I realize at that time that eleven years later, I would stop practicing my Catholic faith and, like Augustine, it would be the long-suffering and persistent prayers of my mother that would draw me to the heart of Jesus and bring me home to my faith.

Last year's post was St. Augustine, Bishop, Doctor of the Church, with insights from Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen which contains his biography. This year I would like to share a few of my favorite quotes and prayers of St. Augustine with you.

FAVORITE QUOTES FROM ST. AUGUSTINE

"I should not believe the Gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church."(St. Augustine, Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental, 5,6)

"That Bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God IS THE BODY OF CHRIST. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, IS THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. Through that bread and wine the Lord Christ willed to commend HIS BODY AND BLOOD, WHICH HE POURED OUT FOR US UNTO THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS." (St. Augustine, Sermons 227)

"It was not the visible sun, but its invisible Creator who consecrated this day for us, when the Virgin Mother, fertile of womb and integral in her virginity, brought him forth, made visible for us, by whom, when he was invisible, she too was created. A Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual. Why do you wonder at this, O man?" (Sermons 186:1 [A.D. 411] Source)

"Our bodies are shaped to bear children, and our lives are a working out of the processes of creation. All our ambitions and intelligence are beside that great elemental point. "

"To many, total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation."

"Love is the beauty of the soul."

"Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked. "

"Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance."

"God loves each of us as if there were only one of us."

"O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams."

"What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like. "

"Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature."

PRAYERS OF ST. AUGUSTINE

PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.

EVER ANCIENT, EVER NEW

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

~ From The Confessions of St. Augustine

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