From Fr. Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints.
ST. AUGUSTINE was born in 354, at Tagaste in Africa. He was brought up in the Christian faith, but without receiving baptism. An ambitious school-boy of brilliant talents and violent passions, he early lost both his faith and his innocence. He persisted in his irregular life until he was thirty-two. Being then at Milan professing rhetoric, he tells us that the faith of his childhood had regained possession of his intellect, but that he could not as yet resolve to break the chains of evil habit. One day, a however, stung to the heart by the account of some sudden conversions, be cried out, "The unlearned rise and storm heaven, and we, with all our learning, for lack of heart lie wallowing here." He then withdrew into a garden, when a long and terrible conflict ensued. Suddenly a young fresh voice (he knows not whose) breaks in upon his strife with the words, "Take and read;" and he lights upon the passage beginning, "Walk honestly as in the day." The battle was won. He received baptism, returned home, and gave all to the poor. At Hippo, where he settled, he was consecrated bishop in 395. For thirty-five years he was the centre of ecclesiastical life in Africa, and the Church's mightiest champion against heresy; whilst his writings have been everywhere accepted as one of the principal sources of devotional thought and theological speculation. He died in 430.
Reflection.—Read the lives of the Saints, and you will ill find that you are gradually creating a society about you to which in some measure you will be forced to raise the standard of your daily life.
From Pope Pius XI's encyclical Ad Salutem.
It is eminently befitting the nature and necessity of the case, that Christ Jesus has been and shall continue to be ready to safeguard the Church, which His provident care established for the salvation of the human race. This certainty is warranted by the promise of her Divine Founder, which we read in the Gospel; and it must be clear to evidence from the annals of that Church, on which error has never set a stain, which no falling awayhowever widespread-of her sons has made to waver, which regains her youthful vigor and ceaselessly renews her strength despite the assaults of impious men, even when carried to the most shocking extremes. While our Lord in securing the stability and promoting the growth of His foundation, which belongs to all time, did not limit Himself to a single method nor proceed always in the selfsame way, yet it is noteworthy that in every age He raised up distinguished men, who, by talents and efforts suited to the times and their exigencies, should rejoice the heart of the Christian people, by successively curbing and conquering the "power of darkness." This choice of Divine Providence, when it fell upon Augustine of Tagaste, was marked by a discrimination that was more than ordinarily striking. He was the light set upon the candlestick, he was the vanquisher of every heresy and a guide to eternal salvation for his contemporaries. What is more, he continued to teach and console Christians as age succeeded age. Nay, even in our time we owe it to him in large measure that among believers the truth of Faith maintains its luster, while love for God has not ceased to burn. Indeed, it is a matter of common knowledge that the writings of Augustine, by their exceptional sublimity and charm, cast a spell over many who are at variance with us or who seem utter strangers to the Faith. Hence it is, that since the current year brings in its course with happy auspices the fifteenth centennial anniversary of the death of this peerless Bishop and Doctor, Christians the world over are eager to hold his memory in honor and are preparing to give public proof of their admiration and devotion. Yielding, therefore, to a sense of Our Apostolic office and to the delight that stirs Our soul, while desirous of adding to the chorus of praise, We urge you all, Venerable Brethren, and the clergy and flock of each of you, to join Us in offering special thanks to the Heavenly Father for enriching His Church by means of Augustine with so many matchless blessings-the Saint who profited so much by the Divine gifts lavished on him and turned the current of this wealth upon the Catholics of the world. It beseems us all today not merely to exult that by a miracle, so to speak, was once united to the Mystical Body of Christ a genius so great and lofty, that in the judgment of history his superior can hardly be found anywhere in any age, but rather to steep and nourish ourselves with his learning and copy the model of his holy life.