Love as Big as the World
of Hippo (185-254
It is by running along the road of true love
that we can reach our heavenly homeland.
Without love, everything we do is useless. We
are wasting our energies if we do not have
love, which is God.
Human beings only become perfect when they
are overflowing with love.
One can believe in the right way, but without
love one cannot attain eternal happiness.
Love is so strong that without it neither
prophecy nor martyrdom avail.
Love is the sweet and saving food without
which the rich are poor, thanks to which the
poor become rich.
Enlarge your love to the size of the world if
you want to love Christ, since the members of
Christ are to be found all over the world.
Only those who have the perfection of
Christ's love are able to live together. Those
who are without it continually upset one
another and their anxiety is a misery to the
[Quotes from the writings of
Augustine compiled by Defensor Grammaticus
(after 600 AD) in his Book of Sparkling
Sayings, I, 5ff. (SC77 pp.58ff.). Also
quoted in Drinking from the Hidden
Fountain: A Patristic Breviary, Cistercian
Publications. English translation by
Augustine was born in 345 in the town of
Tagaste, in Roman North Africa, in what is
today Algeria. His mother was Monica, a very
devout Christian who had a significant
influence on her son’s life. His father, named
Patricius, was a pagan of significant status
in society. Patricius became a Christian
shortly before his death.
was educated at Carthage where he enjoyed
academic success. He also enjoyed the party
life, and at the age of 17 fell in love with
a woman whom he never named. They lived
together unmarried for 13 years and had a
son whom Augustine named Adeodatus, meaning
“gift from God.” His son died in his youth.
the age of 19, after reading Cicero's Hortensiusat,
Augustine fell in love with philosophy. He
later wrote, “It gave me different values
and priorities. Suddenly every vain hope
became empty to me, and I longed for the
immortality of wisdom with an incredible
ardour in my heart.” While he pursued
Platonic philosophy and the theology of the
Manichaens, a Christian heretical sect, he
became restless for truth and virtue.
Shortly before his 30th birthday, Augustine
encountered Ambrose, the saintly bishop of
Milan. Augustine was moved by Ambrose’s
example and his inspired teaching and
preaching of the gospel. At the age of 32
Augustine found peace with God and was
baptized by Ambrose during the Easter
liturgy in 387. Augustine returned to North
Africa and formed a monastic community with
a group of friends. He was ordained a priest
in 391 and became a noted preacher. In 396
he reluctantly became a bishop and remained
the bishop of Hippo until his death in 430.
He left his monastic community, but
continued to lead a monastic life with the
parish priests of Hippo in his episcopal
residence. Augustine died on August 28, 430,
during the siege of Hippo by the Vandals.
was a prolific writer and original thinker.
His numerous writings, including theological
treatises, sermons, scripture commentaries,
and philosophical dialogues, number into the
hundreds. His autobiography, the Confessions,
was considerded the first Western
autobiography. It was highly read among his
contemporaries and has continued as a
classic throughout the ages.
is one of the most important figures in the
development of Western Christianity. He is
esteemed as a great Latin church father and
a Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church. Many
Protestants consider him to be one of the
theological fathers of Reformation teaching.
Among Orthodox he is called St. Augustine