Augustine of Hippo

“Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; and the reward for that faith is to see what you believe.”  August 28, Memorial of St. Augustine, 354-430 AD

This is one of my shortest posts. I include a little about Augustine because I admire his brilliance and identify with him—not his mind which I admire, but the sinful lifestyle that he (and I both) ultimately turned away from. Augustine is one of several saints that I have adopted as patrons.

There is plenty written about Augustine and several influential books written by the saint himself, and I don’t feel the need to supplement or summarize what has already been written about him and his philosophy or his faith and life. Instead, this is more of a personal reflection. For those seeking detailed and accurate historical accounts of his life, it would be best to consult other sources. Studying Catholic resources on Augustine as well as reading his “Confessions” would be spiritually and philosophically rewarding. Other reading suggestions follow the conclusion of this post.

Augustine’s first profession was teacher of grammar (the favorite subject of mine to teach if I’m not teaching theology) and then he became a writer and philosopher with many admirers even while he was leading a decadent lifestyle. At one time, approximately half of residents in the city where he lived during his partying days were pagans. Although his mother, Monica was Christian, Augustine and his father were not so quick to embrace the faith. Saint Monica is often held up to us an example of persistence in prayer.

Throughout Augustine’s search for truth, he seemed driven to reconcile virtue with other philosophies that he admired, especially Manichæism—a task he would find impossible. Various faith systems or philosophies that he admired, permitted the unrestrained and unfettered lifestyle that he enjoyed; but at the same time, he felt that a virtuous lifestyle is more honorable and ultimately more desirable. He would eventually lose interest in Manichaeism and other systems of faith or thought because they didn’t provide the answers he sought.

I believe that Augustine’s search for virtue led him to turn away from his sinful, free living because his lifestyle wasn’t truly liberating, and it also at times must have required him to deny truths which many of us know intrinsically, even if we have not been taught, or if we had previously rejected teaching on holiness and God. Therefore, intrinsic knowledge of virtues that God puts in our hearts for our benefit, cannot tolerate or reconcile with the lies that we must adopt in order to excuse ourselves so that we might convince ourselves, at least for a time, that we are good and virtuous.

The following excerpt gives a glimpse of Augustimne’s conversion:

Through the prayers of his holy mother and the marvelous preaching of St. Ambrose, Augustine finally became convinced that Christianity was the one true religion. Yet he did not become a Christian then, because he thought he could never live a pure life. One day, however, he heard about two men who had suddenly been converted on reading the life of St. Antony, and he felt terrible [sic] ashamed of himself. “What are we doing?” he cried to his friend Alipius. “Unlearned people are taking Heaven by force, while we, with all our knowledge, are so cowardly that we keep rolling around in the mud of our sins!”Full of bitter sorrow, Augustine flung himself out into the garden and cried out to God, “How long more, O Lord? Why does not this hour put an end to my sins?” Just then he heard a child singing, “Take up and read!” Thinking that God intended him to hear those words, he picked up the book of the Letters of St. Paul, and read the first passage his gaze fell on. It was just what Augustine needed, for in it, St. Paul says to put away all impurity and to live in imitation of Jesus. That did it! From then on, Augustine began a new life.He was baptized, became a priest, a bishop, a famous Catholic writer, Founder of religious priests, and one of the greatest saints that ever lived (Catholic Online).

A great defender of the faith, and a Doctor of the Church, Saint Augustine asserted that faith and reason go hand in hand. His life, thought and writings are worth study and reflection.

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.   St. Augustine

     Suggested Reading:
          Confessions
          City of God
          On Christian Doctrine

Comments are welcome:

Contact

18 thoughts on “Augustine of Hippo”

  1. This is the perfect web site for anyone who would like to understand this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that has been discussed for decades. Wonderful stuff, just excellent!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind remarks. I cover a lot of topics on my site. Was there something in particular that resonated with you? Or is there a topic that you would like me to address in the future? Thanks again! Blessings, Joe Trainor

    1. Thank you for the comment on my website. Sorry not to have replied promptly, but I missed your message. It may have been marked as spam and I overlooked it. Thank you for the encouragement and for taking th etime to contact me. Blessings.

  2. I think this is one of the so much vital info for me. And i’m satisfied reading your article. However want to statement on few common things, The site taste is wonderful, the articles is really great : D. Just right process, cheers

  3. Wonderful blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally confused .. Any tips? Thanks a lot!

    1. Greetings: Sorry to be so long getting back to you. I’ve been away for a while and not visiting my site. However, I thought that once upon a time, the site notified me by email to my personal email account whenever someone commented, but that’s not happening. It didn’t seem unusual to be not getting notifications lately because it’s been a long time since I posted anything new. But now I realize that something may have changed, probably due to a Contact Form plugin that’s no longer being fully supported.

      I had been notified that Pirate Forms that I used as a contact form had been bought out by another company. Unfortunately, I already had been dissatisfied with WP Forms, the company that bought out Pirate Forms. The product worked well, but after setting it up and testing and using it for a few weeks, they went from “free” to for “fee.” So, I went to Pirate Forms which was free, but has now sadly been bought out by WP Forms—the company that I previously ditched. WP Forms claims to make it easy to migrate from Pirate Forms to their own form, but since they already showed me that their interest is in acquiring new business with freebies and then forcing their up-sell on every user, I’m not interested in rejoining them. I haven’t spent much time researching a replacement.

      Anyway, thank you for the compliment on my blog. I would be glad to help you in anyway that I can. As far as platforms, I too was confused by lots of information. In fact, I was so confused, that in my memory, I reversed the difference between wordpress.org and wordpress.com. I mistakenly thought that for my purposes I should have wordpress.com, but that’s wrong. However, I got lucky because I focused first on getting a webhost.

      The webhost that I chose gave me options of using different platforms. I chose WordPress for this particular site without regard to whether it was dotcom or dotorg. In the process of setting up the site, I occasionally saw reference to WordPressdotorg, and kep thinking, “I don’t want dotorg; but it looks like that’s what I’m getting.” After setting up the site, I realized that I had the best platform for my desires—dotorg which I’ll explain

      It is claimed by many people that wordpress.org requires a little more individual effort (you might not necessarily get a turn key set up as what is supposedly available on dotcom). However, although I’m not very geeky, but I was able to work through setting up the site using wordpress.org, and got something that was presentable and has lots of options for future expansion and monetization. Furthermore, there are many limitations with wordpress.com: your advertising is limited, you can’t necessarily link to whatever ads you might like, and dotcom may put ads on your site that you don’t want. Dotcom is fine for a blog or forum that you don’t plan to monetize, but if you want to make a business, wordpress.org is considered to be the preferred platform. Furthermore, dotcom could potentially shut down your site for a frivolous reason; where as, getting shut down by dotorg is not likely to happen unless you do something illegal. With dotorg, customization is almost limitless, and there are many compatible themes and templates.

      At a much later date I plan to use the site to earn money by promoting my own products, books and services. Right now everything I’m doing is totally free. So I think I have the platform that’s appropriate for my needs—wordpress.org.

      I mentioned that I first selected a web host. I’d had experience with Godaddy many years ago with a blog that they hosted for me. Everything was fine until, in 2010, Godaddy changed their platform to WordPress. I didn’t have time for the learning curve involved to change my simple blog from a Microsoft Word based platform to the WordPress platform At the time, I happened to be in the process of starting a new job out of state, packing up several rooms of furniture and possessions and moving several hundred miles. I asked Godaddy if they would convert the site for me. They said that they would convert it for $100. I agreed to let them do it. Several days later I was informed that they would not convert the page. (My blog was politically conservative and that might be the reason they didn’t have anyone to convert or migrate it onto their new WordPress platform.) Anyway, I left GoDaddy and went with iPage which was very inexpensive for a two year agreement. I thought it would be easy to manage. But I never really understood how to get started. Wait times for assistance were lengthy, emails confusing and my time was too limited to be spending on a blog hobby. When my account with iPage came up for renewal, I put my domain in Park. I’ve kept it parked for several years. On of these days, I’ll activate it and bring it to my web host. I can have an unlimited number of websites with the plan that I chose with SiteGround. I’m not affiliated with Site Ground but I’ve had a great experience with them. In fact, I can’t say enough great things about their service. One of the things that first attracted me to SiteGround was their servers on three different continents.

      The CloudFlare option with Site Ground can direct users to the server that’s closest to their region. I view the use of multiple servers as a twofold benefit. First CloudFare directs users to the closest server, improving speed and therefore, user experience. Second, in event of a major crisis on a continent where a server happens to be located, if one is doing global marketing, then even though some things are out of your control, you are not put totally out of business due to long term power or internet outages. (Think EMP attack, or an attack on the vulnerable power grid of the US.) From a global perspective, it would still be possible to do business in areas that haven’t been affected. I haven’t activated that service yet. There are several plans, and one plan is actually free.

      SiteGround.com automatically updates your sites when WordPress releases updates. They notify users about 24-48 hours in advance of updates. SiteGround makes daily backup copies of your site, and user controlled back up copies can also be made.

      When I was first setting up my site, I must have done something wrong and my work disappeared. I had not yet activated any backups, or if there were already backups, I couldn’t find them. I contacted support through live chat, and although there is typically a charge for a technician to recover a site for a user, the tech rep recovered my site without charge. Whenever there has been an issue or question with my site, it’s usually due to my own challenges with technology. SiteGround is well staffed, and live chat is available 24/7; and amazingly there has never been any waiting time whenever I needed help or had a question. Some questions however, can be answered only by a WordPress representative.

      Two things that I had not thought of before launching my site. One, I just recently learned that when users go to my site, they may discover that the server for my site is in Bulgaria. I’d like to have a better following in the US, but some US users might not trust a site with a server in a foreign country. I’m presently living in the Philippines, so the closest server to me is in Bulgaria. When I eventually set up Cloudflare, that increase US visits to my site. If you should select SiteGround as a webhost, and your physical location is in the US, your server location will most likely show as US if that’s important to you. You might inquire about that if you are thinking about using SiteGround.

      The other thing is that after setting up the site, I discovered that I probably should have made a Child Theme before making modifications to the platform. Without a Child Theme, I started worrying that some of my modifications might have been lost when the Theme Developer releases updates or when WordPress creates updates. So I created a Child Theme and rebuilt the site upon the Child Theme. Now, some people in the know, for example WP Crafters, with the bald headed guy on Youtube, now claim that in many cases a Child Theme isn’t necessary. I’ve learned a lot from WP Crafters’ videos and I trust his expertise. He may be affiliated with some products, but I’m confident that he wouldn’t sell junk or push things on people that they don’t need or can’t use. He seems to be a good and helpful guy. His videos answer a lot of questions for multiple levels of site builder experience.

      One of the plugins that I downloaded on the recommendation of WPCrafters is Elementor for use in page building. It’s free for WordPress users although there is a premium version that that guy uses; but even he says that the free versions is powerful enough for his purposes, and claims that he bought the premium version to help the company because he likes what they’re doing.

      There are many useful and free plugins that are written specifically for WordPress. The thing that I like about WordPress is that I don’t need to worry about coding which I find boring and cumbersome to write; and I have forgotten most of anything I ever learned of HTML code. Plugins help carry most of the heavy lifting; and if special code should be needed or desired for a particular application, in most cases, you can find some code that’s already written and for the most part, just copy and paste it.

      You might find some web builders who say that there are faster platforms than WordPress for mobile applications. I couldn’t argue one side or the other. But you can still at least expect a WordPress page to be mobile friendly. In addition, the Elementor plug in that I mentioned has a handy tool that lets you see how your page actually renders across various devices. Even though your page is mobile friendly, your spacing, font size and headings on your page may not look as good on a phone as they do on a tablet due to size and space limitations. Using the tool on the Elementor plugin will show you what your page looks like, so you will know what needs to be tweaked; and then you can make changes to ensure that your finished page looks equally good whether rendered on phone, tablet and desk top.

      If you are concerned about cost, or you just want to have your own site as a hobby or get started for free, you can always go with WordPress.com and see how everything works. There will be some limitations as I mentioned, and your site will be a subdomain of wordpress.com. If you become dissatisfied with it and or wish to monetize the site, you can get a webhost and convert to WordPress.org, In fact some webhosts offer free migration and will handle most of the technical work of the move for you. There are many hosting plans which start under $40 per year, including SiteGround. After that it’ll probably run around $120 per yr. When I started my site, I paid $60 for the first year for the Grow Big plan. Now, it’s about $240 per year. I’m not affiliated with SiteGround. I’m just a happy user. I had a Blue Host for a short trial period before going to SiteGround. Blue Host didn’t do anything wrong, I just felt that SiteGround was going to be better for my needs; and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

      I hope I haven’t added any confusion with unnecessary information and experiences. But I felt some of my experience3s were practical to pass on to you.

      I’m interested to know what plans you have for your site.

      Blessings,
      Joe Trainor
      joe@relationshipdomain.com
      joetrainor@ymail.com

  4. I am really loving the theme/design of your site. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems? A few of my blog audience have complained about my site not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do you have any recommendations to help fix this problem?

    1. Greetings;

      Sorry to be so long getting back to you. I’ve been away from my site and wasn’t notified about your comment as I had been with previous comments.

      Thanks for the compliment. I’m not familiar with gaming sites so I don’t have much understanding about what you are able to provide people who are playing. However, I visited your site using Internet Explorer and it seems to render the same on my desk top with Explorer as it does with Google Chrome. I also compared the rendering on my iPad with Safari. From the three different browsers, it looks similar to me. It appears that your links are active, but I didn’t try clicking on them. As long as your WordPress platform has all the latest updates, everything should be good. I’ve heard that some plugins might potentially slow performance if they are turned on even though not in use.

      The following may provide an answer: Some time ago, while teaching on line, I used a proprietary platform.. There were occasions when my schedule and other pages didn’t render properly in my browser. Sometimes this was caused by having the magnifying percentage of my desk top set too high. On other occasions, clearing my browser history fixed the problem. So, I’m thinking that if occasional poor user experience persists, it may be due to users’ desktops. You might inquire about their desktop settings whether history, cache and cookies have been cleared lately. Clearing browser history might be sufficient to solve the problem. The process to clear browsing history varies according to the version of Explorer being used; but there are links on Youtube that you could provide any users who may be uncertain how to clear their browser’s history.

      I imagine that other things could go wrong, but I’m not a web developer so I’m out of ideas.

      Blessings,
      Joe Trainor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *