St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) -Saint Augustine or Augustine of Hippo- is (with Saint Ieronimus, Saint Gregory and Saint Ambrosius) one of the most important fathers of the western Church.
LIFE OF ST. AUGUSTINE
This section of our publication is a collection of significant moments in the life of St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Christian theologian and the most illustrious of the Fathers of the western Church as well as one of the most eminent doctors of Christianity.
WORKS OF ST. AUGUSTINE
We have at our disposal almost the entire collection of Augustine’s literary production. It amounts to 23 volumes of the journal, AUGUSTINUS and adds up to approximately 11062 pages. The list in which the titles of his works will eventually be included will also provide the appropriate volume of the work as it appears in the BAC (Biblioteca Autores Cristianos). Both the Latin and Spanish texts are available in these editions. The actual dating of the original works is related to that which Augustine himself states in his Retratationes. The actual chronology of his works, however, does present some problems, some of which have not been resolved even in at present and other dates are still only probable.
THOUGHTS OF ST. AUGUSTINE
Under this title, we gather some sayings, generally brief, of Augustine. Each day any given phrase can invite one to reflect, to know the author more intimately as well as to appreciate the outstanding place which he occupies in the religious and academic history of the Western world.
LIFE OF ST AUGUSTINE
Augustine (354-430), an Algerian, was born to a pagan father, Patricius, and a Christian mother, Monica. He was educated in the North African cities of Tagaste, Madaura and Cartago. He entered the Catholic Church though baptism in 387. He was ordained to the priesthood of Hippo in 391 and bishop of the same city in 395. On the 24th of August 410, the soldiers of Alaric entered into the city of Rome by the gates of Salaria and proceeded to sake the city by iron and fire. This calamity inspired Augustine to preach his “Sermon on the fall of Rome” and to write the “City of God”. Two decades later, the army of Genseric laid siege to Hippo where its bishop died in 430.
Augustine was born on the 13th of November of 354 in Tagaste, a small city of Numidia in Roman Africa. Today, this north African town is called Souk-Ahras. Although Augustine was not baptized as an infant,. Monica taught him the basics of the Christian religion. When she realized, however, that her son was separating himself from these pcounsel as he grew older, she turned to constant and fervent prayer. Years later, Augustine himself will call himself “son of the tears of his mother”. Being the fervent Catholic that she was, she lived her life dedicated to the conversion of her son to Christianity.
From the age of 12 until his 15th year, between 366 and 369, he studied the secondary level of studies in Madaura, today Mdaourouch. He stood out among his companions for his brilliance. He had a great love for poetry and learned complete passages from the principal authors which were studied at that time, namely, Terence, Plautus, Seneca, Salust, Horace, Apuleus, Cicero, and, above all, the great poet Virgil.
The friends of Patricius advised him to send his son to Carthage, the political capital and university city of North Africa. Money, which the parents did not have at the time, was needed. Because of this, Augustine, at sixteen years of age in the year 369-370, had to interrupt his studies and to wait for the financial assistance to continue his studies. He, thus, spent the year in Tagaste.
He apparently did not use this time wisely but became involved with a rowdy group of companions. He had not received baptism and had not received the religious instruction which, perhaps, would have kept him from evil conduct.
In spite of his mother’s advice, Augustine choose to go “the crooked ways on which walk those who turn their back on you and not their face toward you”. He was happy with the unexpected vacations and began to experience those early attractions of friendship and love. In 370, a year later, he left for Carthage thanks to the generosity of Romanianus, a wealthy patron of Tagaste and friend of his family. A little later, probably in 371, his father died, by then a Catholic. From the age of 16 until 30, Augustine lived with a woman from Carthage who name is unknown but with whom, in 372, he had a son whom he named “Adeodatus” meaning “gift of God”.
Hortensius, a transforming reading
It is recognized that this book opened his mind to invisible realities and awakened in him a profound desire to search for truth and wisdom. As a result of this reading experience, Augustine began consciously to look for the supreme truth, God Himself.
Shortly after, he began to read Sacred Scripture which he did not understand and which repelled him with the unusual content and what he considered inferior literary quality. This first encounter with Sacred Scripture left him with a feeling of deception and caused him to look in other places for the road to truth.
In his tiring and tenacious search for a solution to the problem of knowing the truth, he confronted such questions as whether or not one can know the truth and how is it distinguished from error. Augustine moved from one school of philosophy to another without finding an answer that would calm his unrequited quest. Finally, he made contact with Manichaeism thinking that this interpretation of reality might provide him with a rational and systematic explanation of everything and give him a moral orientation for his life. He followed this ideology for some years but abandoned it after his encounter with the Manichaean bishop, Faustus. This sought after meeting left him disillusioned and convinced that the truth might well be unobtainable. As a consequence, he began to adopt the stance of the Skeptics.
During this time, he simply studied what came into his hands. He was fascinated with the books of astrology. Although Christianity had become the principal religion of the Empire, it was still fashionable to dabble in the “occult sciences”. When he finished his studies in Carthage, he returned to Tagaste where he taught grammar for a year, until 374. His mother, meanwhile, was disconsolate with the fact that her son was still very much under the sway of Manichaeism. From 374 until 383, he was professor of rhetoric in Carthage. During this period, he wrote a book on the “apt and the beautiful” which has not survived.
Milán, the birth place of a conversion
When he arrived in Milan in 384, he no longer believed in the Manichaen doctrines but had not yet grown close to Christianity. The manichaen criticism of the Bible, however, still influenced his thought. He would now enter into a decisive struggle in which the grace of God would be victorious. When he arrived in Milan in 384, he no longer believed in the Manichaen doctrines but had not yet grown close to Christianity. The manichaen criticism of the Bible, however, still influenced his thought. He would now enter into a decisive struggle in which the grace of God would be victorious.
The sermons of Ambrose, bishop of Milan, the wise counsels of Simplicianus, an intellectually well-prepared priest of the same diocese, and the example of the companions of his friend, Ponticianus, touched the heart of Augustine very profoundly. In addition, his mother, Monica, arrived in Milan in 385. During the spring of 386, he read the “books of some Platonists” and, in July, the writings of St. Paul. In August of 386, he came across a volume containing the “Letters of St. Paul”. He opened the book and the following text immediately caught his attention.
When he arrived in Milan in 384, he no longer believed in the Manichaen doctrines but had not yet grown close to Christianity. The manichaen criticism of the Bible, however, still influenced his thought. He would now enter into a decisive struggle in which the grace of God would be victorious. The sermons of Ambrose, bishop of Milan, the wise counsels of Simplicianus, an intellectually well-prepared priest of the same diocese, and the example of the companions of his friend, Ponticianus, touched the heart of Augustine very profoundly. In addition, his mother, Monica, arrived in Milan in 385. During the spring of 386, he read the “books of some Platonists” and, in July, the writings of St. Paul.
In August of 386, he came across a volume containing the “Letters of St. Paul”. He opened the book and the following text immediately caught his attention.
“Let us live honorably as in daylight; not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual excess and lust, not in quarreling and jealousy. Rather put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the desires of the flesh”. (Romans 13, 13)
Augustine needed to read no further. The words of St. Paul were for him “as if before a peaceful light streaming into my heart, all the dark shadows of doubt fled away”.
Augustine, who would be 32 in November of that year, had lived the most important day of his life. Before his conversion, he had thought of founding a kind of fraternity and common life with some friends and students dedicated to the study of the fundamental issues of philosophy. Once converted, however, he will accomplish this goal but now inspired by the early Christian community of Jerusalem.
Monk and Bishop
Augustine was now dedicated to the formal and methodical study of Christianity. He gave up his position as professor and retired to Casiciaco, a place not far from Milan, with his mother and a few companions for the purpose of dedicating himself completely to study and to meditation. This took place during the fall of 386. On April 24 of 387, Ambrose, the saintly bishop, baptized the 33 year old Augustine in Milan during the Easter Vigil ceremonies. Augustine, now baptized, returned to Africa in 388. Before leaving for Africa, however, his mother, Monica, passed away in August of 387.
Faced with need for assistance in the pastoral ministries of the diocese, Valerius, bishop of Hippo, in the midst of a liturgical celebration, responded to popular demand and ordained Augustine to the priesthood.
It was the year 391. He accepted his spontaneous election with tears in his eyes, a choice which he had previously vigorously opposed. Something similar would occur in 395 when he was consecrated bishop. When this happened, Augustine left the monastery of laymen and took up residence in the house of the bishop which would be transformed into a monastery of clerics.
Augustine’s task as bishop was both varied and enormous. He was totally dedicated to the ministry of preaching at home and throughout the region. He wrote tirelessly and challenged those who opposed Christian orthodoxy. He also presided at church councils and was called upon to resolve disputes presented to him by the faithful. Among those whom he confronted were the Manichaens, Donatists, Arians, Pelagians, Priscillians, and Academics.
The time of his final illness was spent reviewing his life’s work, giving thanks to God for the graces received, and, at the same, asking pardon from God and his brothers for his failings.
After 40 years of constant struggle on behalf of the Church, he entered into his final agony in preparation for his grateful entrance into the holy city of God. On the 28th of August of the year 430, Augustine, the son of Patricius and Monica, bishop of Hippo, died in the peace of the Lord. He was, at the time, 75 years of age, 10 months and 15 days.
WORKS OF ST. AUGUSTINE
Considerada en conjunto como antropología teológica, de su obra puede decirse que es la pionera del humanismo cristiano. En ella, penetrada por la Sagrada Escritura, la condición humana aparece tan valiosa, que constituye incluso uno de los pilares que sostienen la búsqueda y descubrimiento de Dios. El sistema entero evoluciona a medida que lo hace el concepto del ser humano. Sobre las dos dimensiones fundamentales del hombre, la “memoria sui” y la “memoria Dei” –la conciencia de sí mismo y la conciencia de la presencia divina en el hombre–, que presentan a éste como equilibrio inestable entre lo individual y lo social, descansa todo el pensamiento agustiniano. Por la primera, el hombre es despegado de la naturaleza y constituido en espíritu libre; por la segunda, es portador de la “imagen” divina, centella oculta en toda alma humana. El hombre fue para Agustín “tierra de sudor y de fatiga”, causa de indecibles asombros.
- Las confesiones (397-403 Madrid 1974(7) BAC 2)
- Las retractaciones (426-427 Madrid 1995 BAC 40)
- Contra los académicos (386 noviembre 10-12. 22-24 Madrid 1982(5) BAC 3)
- La vida feliz (386 noviembre 13-15 Madrid 1994(6) BAC 1)
- El orden (386 noviembre 20-21. 25 Madrid 1994(6) BAC 1)
- Soliloquios (387 inicios Madrid 1994(6) BAC 1)
- La inmortalidad del alma (387 antes de Pascua 25 de abril Madrid 1988 BAC 39)
- La dialéctica 387 (entre 14 de marzo y 25 de abril no publicada aún en español)
- La dimensión del alma (entre finales de 387 y agosto de 388 Madrid 1982(5) BAC 3)
- El libre albedrío (388 semestre 1º libro 1º; libros 2º y 3º en Hipona 391-395; Madrid 1982(5) BAC 3)
- La música (389 semestre primero Madrid 1988 BAC 39)
- El maestro (entre el semestre primero de 389 e inicios de 390 Madrid 1982(5) BAC 3)
- La fe y el símbolo de los apóstoles (393 sábado 8 de octubre Madrid 1988 BAC 39)
- Ochenta y tres cuestiones diversas (388-395 Madrid 1995 BAC 40)
- Cuestiones diversas a Simpliciano (396 Madrid 2007(4) BAC 9)
- Respuesta a las ocho preguntas de Dulcicio (424 Madrid 1995 BAC 40)
- La fe y las obras (413 primavera Madrid 1988 BAC 39)
- Manual de fe, esperanza y caridad (421 ó 422 Madrid 1975(3) BAC 4)
- La Trinidad (desde 400 hasta después de 420 Madrid 2006(5) BAC 5)
- La mentira (395 Madrid 2007(3) BAC 12)
- Contra la mentira (421 Madrid 2007(3) BAC 12)
- El combate cristiano (396 finales Madrid 2007(3) BAC 12)
- La catequesis a principantes (probablemente 403 semestre 2º Madrid 1988 BAC 39)
- La bondad del matrimonio (403-404 Madrid 20073 BAC 12)
- La santa virginidad (probablemente 404 §§ 1-38; 412 §§ 39-57 Madrid 20073 BAC 12)
- La bondad de la viudez (414 primavera Madrid 2007(3) BAC 12)
- La continencia (418-420 Madrid 2007(3) BAC 12)
- La paciencia (418 Madrid 2007(3) BAC 12)
- Las uniones adulterinas (420 inicios Madrid 2007(3) BAC 12)
- La piedad con los difuntos (423 Madrid 1995 BAC 40)
- Regla a los siervos de Dios (397 Madrid 1995 BAC 40)
- El trabajo de los monjes (405-406 Madrid 2007(3) BAC 12)
- La doctrina cristiana (397 (libros 1 hasta 3, 36);426-427 (libros 3, 37 y cuarto) Madrid 1957 BAC 15)
- El espejo de la Sagrada Escritura (¿427? Madrid 1991 BAC 27)
- Obra no todavía publicada
- Comentario al Génesisen réplica a los maniqueos (388-389 invierno interm. Madrid 1957 BAC 15)
- Comentario literal al Génesis (incompleto) (393 Madrid 1957 BAC 15)
- Comentario literal al Génesis (404 o 405-415 Madrid 1957 BAC 15)
- Locuciones del Heptateuco (desde el 9 de junio de 419 hasta 420 Madrid 1991 BAC 27)
- Cuestiones sobre el Heptateuco (después del 9 de junio de 419 hasta 420 Madrid 1989 BAC 28)
- Anotaciones al libro de Job (400-405 Madrid 1992 BAC 29)
- Ocho cuestiones del Antiguo Testamento (antes de 419 Madrid 1991 BAC 27)
- El Sermón de la Montaña (394-395 Madrid 20073 BAC 12)
- Exposición de algunos textos de la Carta a los Romanos (394 Madrid 20032 BAC 18)
- Exposición de la Carta a los Gálatas (394-395 Madrid 20032 BAC 18)
- Exposición incoada de la Carta a los Romanos (394-395 Madrid 20032 BAC 18)
- Diecisiete pasajes del Evangelio de Mateo (¿hacia 405? Madrid 20032 BAC 18)
- Concordancia de los evangelistas (403-404 Madrid 1992 BAC 29)
CONTRA LAS HEREJÍAS EN GENERAL
- Las herejías, dedicado a Quodvultdeo (428-429 Madrid 1990 BAC 38)
CONTRA PRISCILIANISTAS, MARCIONISTAS Y JUDÍOS
CONTRA EL ARRIANISMO
- Réplica al sermón de loa arrianos (419 otoño Madrid 1990 BAC 38)
- Debate con Maximino, obispo arriano (427 ó 428 Madrid 1990 BAC 38)
- Réplica a Maximino, obispo arriano (428 Madrid 1990 BAC 38)
CONTRA LOS MANIQUEOS
- De las costumbres de la Iglesia Católica y de las costumbres de los maniqueos (387 / 388-389 Madrid 1975(3) BAC 4)
- Las dos almas del hombre (muy probablemente en el semestre 1º de 392 Madrid 1986 BAC 30)
- Actas del debate con el maniqueo Fortunato (392 agosto 27 y 28 Madrid 1986 BAC 30)
- Réplica a Adimanto, discípulo de Manés, llamada “del Fundamento” (394 Madrid 1986 BAC 30)
- Réplica a Fausto, el maniqueo (400-402 / 403 Madrid 1993 BAC 31)
- Actas del debate con el maniqueo Félix (404 diciembre 7 y 12 Madrid 1986 BAC 30)
- La naturaleza del bien (¿400-405? Madrid 1982(5) BAC 3)
- Respuesta al maniqueo Secundino (¿403-405? Madrid 1986 BAC 30)
CONTRA LOS DONATISTAS
- Salmo contra la secta de Donato (393 finales Madrid 1988 BAC 32)
- Réplica a la carta de Parmeniano (entre otoño de 403 y primavera de 404 Madrid 1988 BAC 32)
- Tratado sobre el bautismo (404 semestre segundo Madrid 1988 BAC 32)
- Carta a los católicos sobre la secta donatista (La unidad de la Iglesia) (¿401-404? Madrid 1994 BAC 34)
- Réplica a las cartas de Petiliano (400-403 antes del 25 de agosto Madrid 1990 BAC 33)
- Réplica al gramático Cresconio, donatistas (¿406-407? Madrid 1994 BAC 34)
- El único bautismo (Resumen del debate con los donatistas) (invierno entre 410 y 411 Madrid 1990 BAC 33)
- Mensaje a los donatistas después de la Conferencia (412 enero-febrero Madrid 1990 BAC 33)
- Sermón a los fieles de la Iglesia de Cesarea (418 septiembre 18 Madrid 1990 BAC 33)
- Actas del debate con el donatista Emérito (418 septiembre 20 Madrid 1994 BAC 34)
- Réplica a Gaudencio, obispo donatista (entre otoño de 418 y finales de 419 Madrid 1994 BAC 34)
CONTRA LOS PELAGIANOS
- PELAGIANISMO EN GENERAL
- Consecuencias y perdón de los pecados, y el bautismo de los niños (entre diciembre de 411 y febrero de 412 Madrid 2007(4) BAC 9)
- El espíritu y la letra (412 verano Madrid 1971(3) BAC 6)La naturaleza y la gracia (entre diciembre 414 y mayo 415 Madrid 1971(3) BAC 6)
- La perfección de la justicia del hombre (414 Madrid 1984 BAC 35)
- Actas del proceso a Pelagio (finales de 416 o inicios de 417 Madrid 2007(4) BAC 9)
- La gracia de Jesucristo y el pecado original (418 entre junio-julio Madrid 1971(3) BAC 6)
- Naturaleza y origen del alma (419-420 Madrid 1982(5) BAC 3)
A LOS MONJES DE HADRUMETO Y DE MARSELLA
- La gracia y el libre albedrío (426-427 Madrid 1971(3) BAC 6)
- La correción y la gracia (426-427 Madrid 1971(3) BAC 6)
- La predestinación de los santos (428 Madrid 1971(3) BAC 6)
- El don de la perseverancia (429 Madrid 1971(3) BAC 6)
- Cartas (1º) 1-123 (Madrid 19863 BAC 8)
- Cartas (2º) 124-187 (Madrid 19873 BAC 11a)
- Cartas (3º) 188-270 (cartas nuevas 1*-29* Madrid 19913 BAC 11b)
COMENTARIOS A SAN JUAN
- Tratados sobre el Evangelio de san Juan (1º) 1-35 (406 diciembre 9-verano 414 Madrid 2005(3) BAC 13)
- Tratados sobre el Evangelio de san Juan (2º) 36-124 (verano 414-verano 420 Madrid 1965(2) BAC 14)
- Tratados sobre la primera carta de san Juan (407 abril 14-mayo 22 Madrid 2003(2) BAC 18)
COMENTARIOS A LOS SALMOS (392-después de 422)
- Comentarios a los salmos (1º) 1-40 (Madrid 1964 BAC 19)
- Comentarios a los salmos (2º) 41-75 (Madrid 1965 BAC 20)
- Comentarios a los salmos (3º) 76-117 (Madrid 1966 BAC 21)
- Comentarios a los salmos (4º) 118-150 (Madrid 1967 BAC 22)
- Sermones (1º) 1-50: Sobre el Antiguo Testamento (Madrid 1981(4) BAC 7)
- Sermones (2º) 51-116: Sobre los evangelios sinópticos (Madrid 1983 BAC 10)
- Sermones (3º) 117-183: Sobre el Evangelio de San Juan, Hechos y Cartas de los apóstoles (Madrid 1983 BAC 23)
- Sermones (4º) 184-272B: Sobre los tiempos litúrgicos (Madrid 2005(2) BAC 24)
- Sermones (5º) 273-338: Sobre los mártires (Madrid 1984 BAC 25)
- Sermones (6º) 339-396: Sobre temas diversos (Madrid 1985 BAC 26)
- Sermón a los catecúmenos sobre el Símbolo de los apóstoles (Madrid 1988 BAC 39)
- La devastación de Roma (410 finales de verano Madrid 1995 BAC 40)
- Sermón sobre la disciplina cristina (Madrid 1988 BAC 39)
- La utilidad del ayuno (411 mayo 17 ó 19 Madrid 1995 BAC 40)
Atribuidas (Madrid 2002 BAC 41)
- El amor a Dios
- Combate entre los vicios y las virtudes
- Defensa de Agustín por Próspero de Aquitania
- Debate entre la Iglesia y la Sinagoga
- La escala del Paraíso
- El espíritu y el alma
- La fe, libro dedicado a Pedro
- Los dogmas de la Iglesia
- Manual de elevación espiritual
- Salterio (compuesto para su madre)
- Sentencias de San Agustín recopilados por Próspero de Aquitania
- Tratado sobre la Asunción de María