St. Augustine's life is still a strong witness for youth in the search for truth today amid life’s distractions, Cardinal Angelo Comastri has told Vatican Radio. He added that the fourth-century saint offers an example of how to rise above one’s circumstances and find meaning.
Cardinal Comastri spoke to Vatican Radio in a Saturday morning report to mark the feast of St. Augustine. The Archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica and Vicar General of the Vatican City-State will also celebrate the day at Mass in Ostia, Italy where St. Augustine's mother, St. Monica, lived.
"St. Augustine is a model of humanity with an impressive modernity," said the cardinal to Vatican radio, noting that his story is like that of a young person today.
His life was a constant search for meaning, recalled the cardinal. "Even when he walked in the mud," he preserved the need for meaning and was never content until he "recognized Jesus Christ as the light that illuminates life."
Many youth, he observed, are in need of this ideal because they live at "a very low level" influenced by alcohol, drugs and "uncontrolled" entertainments. In this context, Augustine "always sought to soar above," searching passionately for the truth until it brought him "to the arms of God," said Cardinal Comastri.
Thus was born “the great Augustine," he said.
The element that gave St. Augustine an edge to rise above the "mud," according to the prelate, was his "courage to seek the truth," his conviction that there was a truth and his inability to give up the search until he found it.
To young people who are "dreadfully empty" and "dreadfully unhappy," the cardinal said "don't give in to drugs, to alcohol, to entertainment, to night clubs, to make of this the meaning of your lives. Life is greater!
"St. Augustine understood this, for this he was an inexhaustible seeker of light, an untirable seeker of an ideal."
Asked for more reflection on the saint, Cardinal Comastri quoted the contemporary writer Luigi Santucci, who said that "we must take back from Satan" the idea that he invented fun.
"It's not true!"
"We believers wish to say to the pleasure-seekers of this world: we avoid your orgies not so much for fear of hell, as much as because by being honest, transparent, clean and generous one enjoys infinitely more!"
This, said Cardinal Comastri, is the "message of St. Augustine."