This month, I want to reflect with you on the profound importance of St. Augustine of Hippo — whose feast day is Aug. 28 — in the life of the Catholic Church and how his life serves as a remarkable example of living stewardship as a way of life. St. Augustine’s journey of conversion, his deep love for God, and his tireless dedication to the Church provide us with invaluable lessons on stewardship and discipleship.
Augustine’s early life was characterized by a relentless search for meaning and fulfillment. Despite his intellectual brilliance, he found himself entangled in worldly pleasures and philosophies that left him spiritually unfulfilled. However, it was through the patient prayers and guidance of his mother, St. Monica, that Augustine encountered the transforming power of God’s grace.
Augustine’s conversion to Catholicism was not a mere change of affiliation, but a radical transformation of his entire being. His encounter with Christ touched the deepest recesses of his heart and compelled him to surrender his life completely to God. Augustine’s conversion was a turning point that shaped his understanding of stewardship and led him to a life of profound discipleship.
Stewardship, as lived by St. Augustine, was grounded in his understanding that everything he possessed was a gift from God. He recognized that his intellect, talents, and resources were entrusted to him for a greater purpose. Augustine embraced the call to be a faithful steward, using his God-given gifts to serve the Church and promote the Kingdom of God.
As a bishop, theologian, and writer, St. Augustine dedicated his life to nourishing the faith of the faithful and defending the truths of the Catholic Church. His prolific writings, including Confessions and The City of God, continue to inspire and guide Catholics across the ages. Augustine understood that his intellectual abilities were to be shared and employed for the glory of God.
As we reflect on the life of St. Augustine, we are reminded of the relevance and urgency of living stewardship in our own lives. Like Augustine, we are called to recognize that all we have is a gift from God, entrusted to us for a greater purpose. Our time, talent, and treasure are meant to be used wisely and selflessly for the service of others and the building up of the Church.
Stewardship invites us to discern how we can actively contribute to the mission of the Church. It encourages us to generously share our time and talents by engaging in prayer and ministries and supporting initiatives that promote the well-being of others. It also challenges us to make intentional choices in how we use our material resources, mindful of the needs of our parish community and those less fortunate.
During this month dedicated to St. Augustine, let us emulate his spirit of stewardship. May St. Augustine intercede for us and guide us as we deepen our commitment to living stewardship, and may his example inspire us to be faithful stewards of God’s gifts, using them generously for the service of others and the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. John O’Neill