Wednesday, January 09, 2008

General Audience: On Augustine

~No full text online yet, but here's the synthesis via the Holy See's Bollettino. I urge all of you all not to miss this series!
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In our weekly catechesis, we now turn to the towering figure of Saint Augustine of Hippo. The great intellectual heritage of antiquity found expression in Augustine’s many writings, which then became a rich source of inspiration and teaching for centuries to come. Augustine’s spiritual autobiography – The Confessions – tells the story of his Christian upbringing, his secular education, his decision to devote his life to the pursuit of truth, and his eventual abandonment of the faith.

Attracted at first by Manichean dualism, he gradually recovered the faith of his childhood, thanks to the prayers of his mother, Saint Monica, and the brilliant teaching of Saint Ambrose, then Bishop of Milan. The Confessions recount the tormented interior journey which led to his moral and intellectual conversion, culminating in his baptism by Ambrose. Returning to Africa to lead a monastic life, Augustine became a priest and then the Bishop of Hippo. In his thirty years as Bishop, he proved himself an exemplary pastor, an assiduous preacher and an influential champion of the Catholic faith. In coming weeks, we will turn our attention to the writings and the thought of this great Doctor of the Church.

I am pleased to welcome the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, especially the student groups from Australia and the United States. I greet the group of deacons from the Archdiocese of Dubuque, and I thank the choir for their praise of God in song. Upon all of you I invoke God’s abundant blessings of joy and peace.

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