Saint Augustine (354-430) created this poetic prayer to the Holy Spirit:
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit,
That my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit,
That my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit,
That I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit,
To defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit,
That I always may be holy.
Saint Augustine wrote of his search for truth in his book Confessions. He spent his youth trying to understand God so that he could believe. When Augustine finally came to believe in God, he realized that only when you believe in God can you ever begin to understand him. Augustine wrote about God in his Confessions in these words: “most hidden and most present; . . . standing firm and elusive, unchangeable and all-changing; never new, never old; . . . ever working, ever at rest; . . . seeking and yet having all things. . . . And what have I now said, my God, my life, my holy joy?” (Confessions 1.4.4) Augustine knew that finally what he wanted to say about God was unsayable.
Augustine as a Doctor of the Church
Saint Augustine’s writings and teachings are considered some of the most influential in the history of the Church. Augustine was named a Doctor of the Church, which means that the Church believes his insights and writings are essential contributions to Church teachings, such as original sin, free will, and the Trinity. His writings solidified many of the Church’s beliefs and teachings in the face of many religious heresies. Above all, Augustine was a defender of truth and a pastor to his people.