Catholic Tradition: St. Augustine’s Confessions

Subject: Religion
Pages: 2
Words: 318
Reading time:
2 min

One of the great church fathers in his The Confessions deals with the most permanent spiritual questions that have roused the minds and hearts of thoughtful men from time immemorial. Interestingly the work which was written in A.D. 397 is not an autobiography as opposed to the general notion. It is a history of the young Augustine’s severe fight to overcome his extravagant ways and acquire a life of spiritual grace. There are several books in the work, and the first ten books narrate the story of the author’s childhood in Numidia, his dissolute and uncontrolled youth, and early manhood in Carthage, Rome, and Milan. These also deal with the continuous struggle of the author with evil, his attempts to find an anchor for his faith among the Manicheans and the Neoplatonists. The other major concerns of the book are the tireless efforts of Saint Monica, his mother, in saving him from self-destruction and his absolute conversion to the Christian faith at the age of thirty-two. “The last three books of The Confessions, unrelated to the preceding account of Saint Augustine’s early life, are an allegorical explanation of the Mosaic account of Creation.

Throughout the work, the narrative addressed to God, is interspersed with prayers, meditations, and instructions, many of which today are to be found in the liturgies of all sects of the Christian Church. The Confessions constitutes perhaps the most moving diary ever recorded of a soul’s journey to grace. Appearing midway in Saint Augustine’s prodigious body of theological writings, they stand among the most persuasive works of the sinner-turned-priest who was to exercise a greater influence on Christian thought than any of the other Church fathers.” Therefore, the work forms one of the most significant treasures in the vast number of Catholic resources, and it has been one of the most referred spiritual manuscripts of the Catholic Church.