The following is my contribution to a book to be published, but since it took some time and work from me, I figured I would add it to my blog. Plus, I’m not famous with not that many subscribers to my blog, that I think I’m safe to release this before the publication. So here ya go! St. Augustine, pray for us!
Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo in the 4th and 5th centuries, lived a life that was all three of the adjectives from the title of this book!
St. Augustine was wild. A lot of times, we mean “crazy awesome” when we say the word, “wild.” “Wild” can also refer to a “bad boy” which would definitely apply to St. Augustine in his pre-conversion days. But one of the more literal definitions of “wild” refers to animals in their natural environment. To be philosophically accurate for a moment, we as God’s children, are animal bodies but with a rational soul. The rational soul means we have an intellect and free will. St. Augustine, prior to his conversion, lived a “wild” life of living only as an animal with regard to lust.
He was so wild with his lust that he had a baby out of wedlock. And not only that, but he lived with a mistress for about a decade. In his autobiography, Confessions, we find out that the mistress is the mother of his baby. Furthermore, St. Augustine took in another mistress after the first mistress left him for not choosing to marry her. In In today’s current liberal and morally lax times, all this actually would not be considered all that “wild.”
But here’s the game changer. In the Confessions, St. Augustine wrote, “Because my will was perverse it changed to lust, and lust yielded to become habit, and habit not resisted became necessity.” The word “necessity” is key here. Humans do not “need” sex to live. Look at celibate religious men and women. The fact that St. Augustine used that word means he was a sex addict! Now I think most people today would consider that very wild.
What is wonderful is that God was able to give St. Augustine the grace to leave behind the life of lust. Normally, one would think a person who loves sex so much should just get married. But, God is so wonderful that St. Augustine was able to live a life of celibacy! This is good news because if God can work on St. Augustine, then there’s hope for everyone who has any addiction.
Now for weird. And this is a good kind of weird. What is weird about St. Augustine’s life is that he was able to have a high position of authority in the Catholic Church with his sexual past. Outside of the church, you normally need to have a “clean” past in order to be in positions of authority. But God’s ways are not man’s ways. If we repent of our sins and are transformed, God can lead us to a great life! Hope is never lost!