Dominican Saints 101: Holy Father Augustine

August 28, 2011

St. Augustine (354-430, feast day – Aug. 28) is referred to as “Our Holy Father” along with St. Dominic and St. Francis. Why? Because St. Dominic was required to choose a pre-existing Rule when he founded the Order of Friars Preachers. He and the first friars chose to follow the Rule of St. Augustine, and so we who, almost 800 years later, continue to profess obedience to “the Rule of Blessed Augustine” also continue to invoke his patronage over the whole Order.

But, is that all? Is there more to St. Augustine’s patronage than that? Yes. Firstly, he is a model for contemplative preachers. Pope Benedict XVI said of St. Augustine, “In 391, despite his reticence, and with a few companions [he] began the monastic life which had long been in his mind, dividing his time between prayer, study, and preaching. All he wanted was to be at the service of the truth” (Jan. 9, 2008).

Secondly, St. Augustine’s patronage extends to our preaching itself. He spent so many years fighting the Manichean heresy, which was based on a dualism that separated creation into two principles: good and evil. When St. Dominic founded our Order, he too was fighting against the contemporary dualism, Albigensianism, which was also based on two principles: the spiritual was good, and the physical was bad.
Thus, both Holy Father Augustine’s life and words continue to be models for us as Dominicans, since we too ought to live a life of “prayer, study, and preaching,” a preaching in which we continue to proclaim the truth of God, His creation, and man’s return to God with both body and soul.
Hear our prayers, almighty God, and as you fill us with hope in your loving kindness, so also through the intercession of the blessed Augustine, your confessor and bishop, mercifully bestow on us the fruit of your accustomed mercy. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.

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