Today is the Feast of St. Augustine. Yesterday was the Feast of St. Monica, his mother. Their stories are intertwined and very compelling. I always had a sneaking suspicion that St. Augustine was an alcoholic, but I think that was a bit of projection on my part. I had heard he had lived a life of “dissipation,” including fathering an illegitimate son, and so I made assumptions. Upon further investigation, I find that he was a very successful teacher in his old life, but had some unfortunate weaknesses. Like a ten year affair with what I assume was a married woman. At the age of 30 (or so), he had a crisis of the soul, and turned to his mother’s Catholicism. Her prayers through the years are frequently given the credit for this conversion. Later he became a priest and a bishop. His writing on spiritual life in the “Confessions of St. Augustine” is still widely read and considered a theological masterpiece.
The house of my soul is too small for you to come to it. May it be enlarged by you. It is in ruins: restore it. In your eyes it has offensive features. I admit it, I know it; but who will clean it up? Or to whom shall I cry other than you? ‘cleanse me from my secret faults, Lord, and spare your servant from sins to which I am tempted by others’ (Ps. 31: 5). ‘I believe and therefore I speak’ (Ps. 115: 10). ‘Lord you know’ (Ps. 68:6). Have I not openly accused myself of ‘my faults’, my God, and ‘you forgave me the iniquity of my heart’ (Ps. 31: 5). — St. Augustine of Hippo
This blog post does not bode well for my day. I believe I have just spent an hour writing this one paragraph. I have a huge project ahead of me, and only 6 hours to get it done. I thought I would already be at my home-work-desk by this time of the morning (6:19 a.m.), but I am here writing – going back and forth from my monitor to books and websites about this truly inspirational Saint.
Here’s the thing about alcoholics that is truly an obstacle to getting on with life: we are enthusiasts. But learning the proper role of our enthusiams in life is the key. Although it is a worthy pursuit to study and write about Saints, I have other commitments today. I need to get to work, Pronto! And enthuse later.
Living a life that is praiseworthy includes begging pardon for things that are blameworthy. — St. Augustine