Summary of the Life of St. Augustine


          Augustine's Confessions is one of the most influential books in the Catholic religion, apart from the Bible. It was not written as an autobiography in the literal   sense but is rather an autobiographical framework for a religious, moral, theological, and philosophical text, according to Elizabeth Hayes Smith, an author of one of modern English version of this notable book.

      The first book was written narrating his childhood and how his mother Monica played an important role in educating the young Augustine. His mother inculcated in his mind the value of Christian faith. Augustine was not baptized as an infant or as a child. At that time, baptism was often delayed, sometimes even until the deathbed, because of the sacrament's ability to wash away sins. Any sins committed after baptism would not have been washed away, and could therefore prevent a soul from ascending to heaven. This led people to commit all their sins before baptism, and then have them "washed away" before death. Because of this practice (and also, it appears, because Monica wanted Augustine to choose the faith himself), Augustine was not baptized. When he fell seriously ill, he pleaded to be baptized. His mother would have arranged it, but Augustine got better, so his baptism was postponed. Augustine lamented that he was not baptized as a child, but his mother thought it better to let him face the temptations of adolescence before baptism.   Augustine strongly disapproved of the practice of deferring baptism, feeling it would have been better to bring him to God's salvation than to let him go on sinning because he was young. Baptism would not have kept him from sinning, but for Augustine, forgiveness of sin is not a single, all-or-nothing event. Because all human beings are subject to the influence of original sin, they constantly sin and are constantly in need of God's forgiveness and grace.   Augustine understood Monica's reasoning, but expressed...