A man of faith and wisdom, St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) was born Aurelius Augustinus in the North African town of Tagaste, which is modern-day Algeria. He is considered one of the Catholic Church's most influential writers and philosophers.
"God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil to exist," said Augustine, who coined the term "original sin."
As a young man, the brilliant Augustine searched for life's meaning by wildly exploring the ways of the flesh. His deeply religious mother, St. Monica, prayed fervently for his conversion. By the time he was 32, Augustine was dissatisfied with his self-indulgence and turned to God.
"If you don't believe it, you won't understand it," he said and wrote of his conversion: "all the darkness of doubt vanished away."
Augustine taught, prayed, and wrote passionately. From his meditations, he wrote The City of God from 413 to 426 about the fall of the Roman Empire and described clearly how the Church was a spiritual kingdom.
"Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others," he believed. In De Libero Arbitrio, he concluded that freedom involved two ingredients: chance and choice.
Augustine's words celebrated the power of the soul and were called "a monumental theology of history" by writer Thomas Merton.
"Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure: where your treasure, there your heart; where your heart, there your happiness," Augustine said.
Trust your beliefs.