Augustine: The Significance of One's Autobiography Before God
Augustine feels that if you develop self knowledge, then you can find truth. You have to be true to yourself and God. With self knowledge, you can reveal your true beliefs and pursuit in a religion that is fit for you. Augustine relates truth, God, and self knowledge to each other and finds they are the path to life of contentment.
The episodes supported his transformation of who he was into who he wanted to be after his conversion to Christianity. Certain episodes in Augustine’s life led to inspiring moments, while others lead to grief and pain. One of the most significant episodes that helped transform him both in the immediate future and long term future was the meeting of the Catholic Bishop Ambrose. This is where he finally met the influential Ambrose, a Catholic Bishop of Milan that Augustine found was worth speaking to and really had something to say that was meaningful. After the encounter with Ambrose, Augustine soon realized that not only was his mother, Monica, an influence, but also Ambrose had quite an effect on Augustine in relation to his journey to conversion. Augustine made a genuine connection with Ambrose as is shown when he said, “That man of God received me as a father, and as bishop welcomed my coming”. This statement not only sums up the fact that Ambrose was welcoming and was like a father to him, but also, through Ambrose, Augustine was granted a way to speak to God. This is the first step to coming closer to his conversion. Augustine repaid this respect and love for Ambrose by saying, “I came to love him, not at first as a teacher of the truth, which I had utterly despaired of finding in Your Church, but for his kindness towards me". In this statement alone, it is evident that Augustine and Ambrose both shared a mutual love for each other and it also showed that they shared a kind of father-son bond. Like with any father- son bond, Augustine felt that Ambrose was a sort of mentor for him. This father-son mentor relationship, led to Ambrose having a deep and profound influence on Augustine.
In this case God penetrates our minds through His teachings and through the doings of others for example when He does something good through our friends it remains in our minds. Augustine is therefore opening up to God and to his readers and praising God for being his light and salvation in the confessions.
Our last impression of Augustine is of a man who never made things easy for himself.
Chadwick, H. Saint Augustine: confessions. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2008
Warner, R. The confessions of St. Augustine. New York: Penguin Books. 1963