Augustine of Hippo

28 August -- Lesser Festival -- Teacher of the Faith -- White

Augustine was born in North Africa in 354. His career as an orator and rhetorician led him from Carthage to Rome, and from there to Milan where the Imperial court at that time resided. By temperament, he was passionate and sensual, and as a young man he rejected Christianity. Gradually, however, under the influence first of Monica, his mother, and then of Ambrose, bishop of Milan, Augustine began to look afresh at the Scriptures. He was baptised by Ambrose at the Easter Vigil in 387. Not long after returning to North Africa he was ordained priest, and then became Bishop of Hippo. It is difficult to overestimate the influence of Augustine on the subsequent development of European thought. A huge body of his sermons and writings has been preserved, through all of which runs the theme of the sovereignty of the grace of God. He died in the year 430.


Merciful Lord,
who turned Augustine from his sins
   to be a faithful bishop and teacher:
grant that we may follow him in penitence and discipline
till our restless hearts find their rest in you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the book Ecclesiasticus.

The one who devotes himself to the study of the law of the Most High seeks out the wisdom of all the ancients, and is concerned with prophecies; he preserves the sayings of the famous and penetrates the subtleties of parables; he seeks out the hidden meanings of proverbs and is at home with the obscurities of parables. He serves among the great and appears before rulers; he travels in foreign lands and learns what is good and evil in the human lot. He sets his heart to rise early to seek the Lord who made him, and to petition the Most High; he opens his mouth in prayer and asks pardon for his sins.

If the great Lord is willing, he will be filled with the spirit of understanding; he will pour forth words of wisdom of his own and give thanks to the Lord in prayer. The Lord will direct his counsel and knowledge, as he meditates on his mysteries. He will show the wisdom of what he has learned and will glory in the law of the Lord's covenant. Many will praise his understanding; it will never be blotted out. His memory will not disappear and his name will live through all generations. Nations will speak of his wisdom, and the congregation will proclaim his praise.

This is the word of the Lord.         Ecclesiasticus 39. 1-10

Responsorial Psalm

RHow dear to me is your dwelling,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul has a desire and longing
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God. R

The sparrow has found her a house
and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young;
by the side of your altars,
O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. R

Happy are they who dwell in your house;
they will always be praising you.
Happy are the people whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on the pilgrims' way. R

Those who go through the desolate valley
will find it a place of springs,
for the early rains have covered it with pools of water.
They will climb from height to height
and the God of gods will reveal himself in Zion. R         Psalm 84

A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans.

You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

This is the word of the Lord.         Romans 13. 11-14

Post Communion

God of truth,
whose Wisdom set her table
and invited us to eat the bread and drink the wine
   of the kingdom:
help us to lay aside all foolishness
and to live and walk in the way of insight,
that we may come with your servant Augustine
   to the eternal feast of heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.