Today I'm turning to wise words from one of the wisest men who ever lived.
He was so wise he's actually a saint - St Augustine!
Otherwise known as Augustine of Hippo! I know, strange name, eh?
Augustine was born on this day - November 13th - in the year 354AD ... and he was a North African Christian theologian and philosopher from a place called Thagaste in the ancient northwest African kingdom of Numidia. So his heritage was Berber.
And why the odd name?
Well it's because Augustine became Bishop of Hippo Regius - an important city which was incorporated into Roman North Africa - it's the place now known as Annaba, in Algeria - and it became an important centre for Christianity during Augustine's time.
Augustine's writings influenced not just his own era and the early Christian church in his own region, but his thoughts and proclamations, theology and philosophy were also part of the development of Western philosophy and Western Christianity. In fact, Augustine's thoughts and writings apparently greatly influenced the medieval worldview. What a legend!
Augustine is considered one of the most important 'Church Fathers' of those early years of Christianity, and he (as one of his contemporaries, Jerome, commented) "established anew the ancient Faith". In purely religious and theological terms, the part of the Christian church that believed in the concept of the Trinity (God as 'three in one' ... the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) closely identified with Augustine's book called On the Trinity.
Augustine is recognized as a saint in the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion but his influence goes deeper than that and extends even to the early Protestant movement. He is also the patron of a religious order that follows the Rule of Saint Augustine, which Augustine wrote in about 400AD. That order is called the 'Augustinians'. Oh and he's also the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, and a number of cities and dioceses.
Augustine theology was not only relevant to his own time, but to future generations right down to us right now. He did pen much that was wise and to celebrate his birthday, here's one of those profound thoughts.
We don't stand back and wonder at the fact that we are here, we are breathing, we are living in this wonderful world!
So maybe, today, we could just take a moment to do that.
To give thanks for the fact that we are here, we have life and there are so many opportunities and possibilities open to us.
Maybe we just need to breathe, take time, look around, appreciate what we have - what we've been given - and wonder at the magnificence of life!
To wonder at our own existence.
And give thanks for people like Augustine of Hippo - for helping us to understand how wonderful life really is!