Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Today is the anniversary of perhaps the most important baptism in the history of the church. On this day in 387 Aurelius Augustininus was baptized by Ambrose, bishop of Milan. He towers over church history and theology and is known by many as the Doctor of the church. It is nearly impossible to overstate his influence on the church and, or for that matter, on all of Western thought. Here are the words of St. Augustine, bishop of Hippo, as he recalls his baptism in his Confessions:

We were baptized, and anxiety over our past life fled away from us. In those days I could not take my fill of meditating with wondrous sweetness on the depths of your counsel concerning the salvation of mankind. How greatly did I weep during hymns and canticles, keenly affected by the voices of your sweet-singing Church! Those voices flowed into my ears, and your truth was distilled into my heart, and from that truth holy emotions overflowed, and the tears ran down, and amid those tears all was well with me.

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