Once upon a time there was a dude named Aurelius Augustine. He was born into an upper-middle class family in North Africa (present-day Algeria). His dad was a pagan and his mother a devout Christian. Li’l Aurelius was raised to be and expected to be Christian.
But mostly he was just going through the motions; he wasn’t feeling it. Then when he was 17, he fell in love with a girl. He was feeling that. Unfortunately though, her being from a lower class, the two could not marry. No problem. He made her his concubine. They couldn’t get hitched, but they could have a son. And they did.
Fast forward a couple years, and A-train got himself mixed up with some pretty heretical dudes. As the Catholic Encyclopedia puts it, he “fell into the snares of the Manichæans.” Manichaeism was an offshoot of Christianity, but it wasn’t the real Christianity. These guys also dabbled in Zoroastrianism and Buddhism. They were the kind of people who probably thought myrrh was an acceptable gift. At this point he was living in Carthage, and you know what they say about Carthaginians…
‘Gusty eventually grew tired of the Manichæans’ crap and decided to move to Rome to work as a teacher, because the best thing to do when you’re feeling lost is mold the minds of the youth. He would later go on to become a full-fledged Christian and part-time curmudgeon, renouncing his past life of sin in a pivotal work called (appropriately) Confessions.
About his time in Rome, he
wrote complained the following:
I was persuaded to go to Rome and teach there [because]… I had been informed that the students there studied more quietly and were better kept under the control of stern discipline, so that they did not capriciously and impudently rush into the classroom of a teacher not their own–indeed, they were not admitted at all without the permission of the teacher. At Carthage, on the contrary, there was a shameful and intemperate license among the students. They burst in rudely and, with furious gestures, would disrupt the discipline which the teacher had established for the good of his pupils.
See what I mean about Carthage?
Many outrages they perpetuated with astounding effrontery, things that would be punishable by law if they were not sustained by custom. … The manners that I would not adopt as a student I was compelled as a teacher to endure in others. And so I was glad to go where all who knew the situation assured me that such conduct was not allowed.
Truly a great lesson for all. Some kids just aren’t worth it. Go to a place where they are.
Confessions became a critical work in the Western canon. And St. Augustine became the patron saint of brewers. Why? Because (as Catholic.org illuminates) “of his conversion from a former life of loose living, which included parties, entertainment, and worldly ambitions. His complete turnaround and conversion has been an inspiration to many who struggle with a particular vice or habit they long to break.”
Okay, sure. Makes sense.
[Image via Wikipedia]