“Spirituality involves taking our personal experience seriously as raw material for redemption and holiness, examining the material of our daily lives with as much rigor as we do Scripture and doctrine. Confessions is the landmark work in this exercise.”
Saint Augustine wasn’t always a saint. He led a turbulent and licentious youth, and belonged to the fourth century equivalent of a street gang. At the age of 29, he met a young man, Ambrose, whose intelligence, kindness and strong faith fascinated and puzzled Augustine. Then at the age of thirty-two, under Ambrose’s tutelage, Augustine converted to Christianity and went on to be one of the most influential Christians throughout history.
Written in 400 AD, less than a decade after his ordination to the priesthood, a mere four years after becoming bishop of Hippo, he wrote Confessions in his forties. He was a man looking back and looking forward, an apt simile perhaps for the role Augustine played in the history of the Church, that of a bridge between two distinct eras.
Confessions traces a pilgrimage of unbounded grace, passionately wrestling with the spiritual questions that have engaged thoughtful minds since time began. It is Augustine’s utter candor about his own sin and his struggle to reconcile his mind and soul to God’s holy character that made Confessions the classic that it has been for fifteen centuries and compelling to readers still today.
Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) was born and educated in North Africa, and embraced Christianity in 386, thanks in large part to his mother Monica’s prayers and encouragement. Augustine wrote Confessions in 400 AD a mere four years after becoming bishop of Hippo. In addition to his Confessions, Augustine also authored City of God, as well as books of apologetics, biblical commentary, and theology.