Friday 28 August

Thought for the day from Bishop John

Today we celebrate Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430) who continues to have much to teach us. A north African, from present day Algeria, his early life was marked by ambition, hedonism and vanity, testing and tasting a variety of philosophical and religious options from the plentiful smorgasbord available at the time. In 386, aged 32, in a garden in Milan, he thought he heard the voice of a child saying ‘Tolle, Lege, Tolle, Lege’ (‘Pick up and read, pick up and read’). He opened the Bible, in Romans 13, and read ‘Not in revelling and drunkenness… but put on the Lord Jesus’, words which spoke directly and powerfully to his heart and changed his life. He was to become one of the greatest teachers of the faith and the foundation of his teaching, born from his own experience, was the grace and forgiveness of God.

In his devotional writing, Confessions, addressed to the Lord, looking back on his early life he wrote ‘You were with me but I was not with you.’ He reminds us today how easy it is to let our thoughts and preoccupations distract us from the loving presence of God, around us and within us. He writes ‘God longs to give us the gift of his very self, but so often our hands are too full to receive him’.

Bishop John is the Bishop of Warwick