How did St. Augustine achieve purity?


#1

How was St. Augustine able to achieve purity/chastity? I’m curious what method did he use to break free of immorality?


#2

Prayer? His own from years prior, I’m guessing but, I think his mom had a lot to do with hiim waking up.


#3

It is all thanks to God’s grace, this is a constant theme in his writings:

“Behold, O Lord, I cast my care upon You, that I may live, and “behold wondrous things out of Your law.” You know my unskilfulness and my infirmities; teach me, and heal me. Your only Son— He “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” — has redeemed me with His blood.” (Confessions, Book X, Chapter 43)

“Behold my heart, O my God! Behold and look into me, for I remember it well, O my Hope! who cleansest me from the uncleanness of such affections, directing my eyes towards You, and plucking my feet out of the net.” (Confessions, Book IV, Chapter 6)

“Hear my prayer, O Lord; let not my soul faint under Your discipline, nor let me faint in confessing unto You Your mercies, whereby You have saved me from all my most mischievous ways, that You might become sweet to me beyond all the seductions which I used to follow; and that I may love You entirely, and grasp Your hand with my whole heart, and that You may deliver me from every temptation, even unto the end.” (Confessions, Book I, Chapter 15)

“Look down upon these things, O Lord, with compassion, and deliver us who now call upon You; deliver those also who do not call upon You, that they may call upon You, and that You may deliver them.” (Confessions, Book I, Chapter 10)

Prayer, which is already God’s grace manifesting itself in us, is a means to allow God to work in us and with us whatever he wills us to do. Hence St. Augustine states: “Give what Thou commandest, and command what You will.”

The nearly lifelong prayers of his mother surely had a lot to do with it.

Asimis


#4

Prayer and cooperating with grace…and he didn’t have the Internet, MTV, and Sex in the City leading him into temptation.


#5

So you think he had it “easy”? He didn’t have EWTN, Catholic Answers or access to the online Catholic Encyclopedia either.

Every culture brings with it it’s share of temptations, in the time of St. Augustine there were the equivalents of what MTV, Sex in the City and the Internet are for us today. He lived in a place where Christians were a minority and was surrounded by a pagan culture, which, for a long part of his life, kept him away from the truth.

Asimis


#6

So how did saints get pure and stay pure before the days of SA groups and having that type of fellowship as we have today?


#7

I dont know about St. Augustine.
But mine revolved around pornography and the computer.
I was addicted.
One priest would tell me to throw away the computer...that wasnt going to wash!.
So I moved it to a prominent public place in the house...but I'd cheat on that and move it. I thought of all kinds of things. I was addicted to this and confession.
Weekly, twice a week , or even once a month I was priest shopping for confession so I wouldnt be embarassed by seeing the same priest 7 times in 2 months for the same thing. Finally after all the strategies I could think of to break myself free had been exhausted, I finally told God that if it happened one more time I would throw the computer away and I meant it. It never happened again with Gods grace. Didnt have to throw away the computer, but kept it in the living room until I got some time under my belt. Nowadays I can handle it in the bedroom. That was over 3 years ago.

Now to keep free, I have to work on purity issues. No bad shows on TV, no searching the internet for buxom bikini babes, Hef's girls shows, Howard Stern TV show, Poormans Bikini Beach show(probably local)...You get the idea, preserve my purity and keep from stimulating that lewd pleasure center in my brain.

Worked for me.


#8

His mother was St.Monica who prayed for his conversion for several years and what a conversion!!
Suggestion to RB2...you can call your computer a religious name to remind you to use it for good purposes only. Mine is called "Divine Mercy"
God Bless....St.Faustina pray for us.


#9

[quote="Shameless, post:1, topic:125890"]
How was St. Augustine able to achieve purity/chastity?

[/quote]

By cooperating with the grace of God, especially in prayer, reading the scriptures, avoiding occasions of sin, practicing self-denial, loving others, etc. This didn't happen overnight, nor was it easy: "a harsh bondage held me under restraint.... the burden of the world weighed me down with a sweet drowsiness." You can read about some of it in his writings, like the Confessions.

[quote="Shameless, post:6, topic:125890"]
So how did saints get pure and stay pure before the days of SA groups and having that type of fellowship as we have today?

[/quote]

They did have fellowship. It's been a while since I've read the Confessions, but I remember St. Augustine frequently speaking of his friends, and the ways they influenced each other for good as well as ill. :)


#10

be devoted to the Blessed Mother :)


#11

I think he was blessed with the grace of Charisma.

newadvent.org/cathen/03588e.htm
"Charismata given for the outer development of the Church
(1) Faith, as a charisma, is that strong faith which removes mountains, casts out devils (Matthew 17:19, 20), and faces the most cruel martyrdom without flinching. Such faith, common at the beginning, has been granted by God in all ages to saints and martyrs, and to many holy men and women whose hidden lives offered no occasion for miracles or martyrdom."

(I underlined that part because I think that means that anyone can achieve this gift, including us.)


#12

[quote="Shameless, post:1, topic:125890"]
How was St. Augustine able to achieve purity/chastity? I'm curious what method did he use to break free of immorality?

[/quote]

prayer and the constant practice of all the virtues is the only way to achieve this. there are no short uts or easy answers, just hard work in retraining your mind and heart


#13

If you posed this question to him, I doubt he would point to things he did.

The answer is - grace. Yes, we can cooperate with his grace, or resist it, but it is nonetheless, his grace that produces holiness. Even if we cooperate, there is no guarantee that we will reach the heights of holiness that Augustine experienced. Nonetheless, we should always strive as if it were within our capability and then rest in his provision when we are incapable of doing more, or when we fail.


#14

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