WITHOUT doubt, one of the brightest minds God gave to the Church is St. Augustine. Born in Tagaste, north Africa, Augustine's father was pagan; but his mother was a devout Christian who raised him and his siblings in the true faith.
But the young Augustine, like many a young man of his time, left home to “sow his wild oats” procuring a mistress and a bastard son in the process.
He also practiced Epicureanism, believing that the only meaning and purpose in life was to have pleasure. Moreover, at the side, Augustine was a stoic, armed with the belief that in good times and in bad man must stay calm.
Augustine also tinkered with dangerous sects, such as the Manicheans who believed that there are two supreme principles of reality: God and the Evil One. They also despised the body. Even though Manicheans frowned on sex, Augustine -- after dismissing his first mistress following his mother’s advice to prepare for a real marriage -- wasted no time in taking a second woman and lived with his second mistress for 10 years!
His weakness, as he later on wrote in his “Confessions” lay in getting lost and mired in glimpses of fleeting beauty forgetting the “Beauty, ever ancient, ever new.” No wonder, our late pastor from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, the revered Fr. Ramon, loved to dub him, “San Augustin, Obispo ng Hippo!”
But the grace of God finally prevailed. After 37 years of tearful and heartfelt prayers offered by his mother, St. Monica, the wayward son finally converted to become one of Christianity’s foremost thinkers in history, philosophy and theology: the great St. Augustine. Bishop of Hippo.