St. Augustine

Change is a process of transformation or development that is likely to affect the manner in which things were carried out.  The process of change is likely to affect the surrounding environment either negatively or positively.  Looking at St. Augustine of Hippo, he is one of the Religious leaders known to undergo the process of change for the better.  This is reflected in his past life growing up and how he transformed to become a Church Father and a figure that one can look up to.  This change in his life was rather sudden and unexpected and it affected a lot of people and developments. Therefore, this paper is going to focus on the change of St. Augustine affected his surrounding environment.Change From Ancient to Medieval WorldAugustine of Hippo underwent several changes that affected the environment around him greatly.   His change from a non- believer to a staunch Christian was most talked abut and reflected on.  His sudden change in life was unexpected and people accepted it in different ways.   Although his main change is noted in the religious sector, he also managed to change the ancient life to the medieval life.  When St. Augustine decided to change his life and observe the holy law, he made several changes in his environment as well.  Since he was an influential figure in the society, he managed to inspire change among the people as well (Thompson 25). The religion that was being practiced in Europe then was quite ancient and modernization was not part of their developments.  St. Augustine had the chance to travel around during his studies and teaching process and this way he was able to learn about people how they conducted their daily living.  Having been born in Rome, he had the chance to visit other places and this made him change his way of thinking as modernity was starting to influence most people.  This was influenced by one of his visits to Hippo in 390 which made him compare the Christianity he had learnt in North Africa with the one in Milan.  By the time St. Augustine was entering priesthood, he had already influenced the chance of a medieval church. His teachings as a priest were based on Christianity but at the same time influenced on medieval living (Gochberg 15).  This was evident during on of the barbaric attacks on Europe and Augustine's church was the only one that was not attacked. After the ordeal, it gained recognition as religion on medieval Europe.Outlook and Philosophy

His journey in life affected his way of thinking and living thus, affecting his outlook and philosophy as well. He is regarded as one of the strong religious leaders despite the fact that his childhood was not based on Christianity. The fact that his mother was a strong believer in Christianity did not strengthen his faith as his father was pagan. While he went to study at Carthage, he left his Christian path and adopted the Manichaean religion.  During this time he engaged with the wrong group of friends and it changed his character. This led him to have an affair with a woman at a young age who later bore him a son. It is during his time as a teacher that he was able to establish his grounds in life.  He had a passion for teaching and this got him recognized around Rome and Milan.Augustine expresses his understanding of pain through the separation of his concubine.  This was a circumstance that he was forced to endure by his mother so that he can have a traditional wedding. His relationships with his concubines made him develop his first prayers known as the 'grant me chastity and continence but not yet.' He started getting in contact with his Christian life because his mother had pressured him to devote himself to the religion. The fact that his marriages had failed made him become more devoted to serving God.  This began his journey to priesthood as he had no other commitments (Thompson 40). His belief in Christianity was based on commitment to serving God and this influenced most priests as well.Religion is not the only area where his philosophy is reflected but in education as well.  As mentioned earlier, he involved himself in teaching and here he made a statement as well.  He was able to introduce the theory of the three types of students and this enriched the understanding of teachers.  Hence, his understanding of the students helped improve the teaching curriculum leading to a positive attitude both from the teachers and the students (St. Augustine par.8). He did not only contribute by introducing theories but by introducing different teaching styles as well. The teaching of the students grew stronger and he was respected for this introduction.  This influenced his teachings of religious matters since his understanding of people helped him deliver better teachings.  The understanding that he had of teaching and learning made him become a very influential figures.

The religious teachings of St. Augustine differed slightly from the teachings of other priests and churches as well.  This mainly focused on the moral teachings of the world.  Most churches based their teachings on moral values and they tended to separate people with low moral values.  Augustine introduced a new trend where Christianity accepted everyone despite their moral values.  This represented a unified Christian society where everyone was accepted equally.  His values and knowledge influenced other Saints and the Christianity world positively. The change process might have taken time but eventually people started accepting the new values and trends. View of the BodySt. Augustine had his own understanding of everything and this influenced his teachings and understanding of the people.  This might have differed with the Greek and Roman ways of interpreting specific matters.  Understanding of the human body was interpreted differently by St. Augustine s he used the anthropological version of definition.  He had high respect fro human life as he viewed it as a unity of two substances.  He meant the body and soul united made up the human being (St. Augustine par.5).   This understanding was not shared by everyone but it was started by Augustine. He later tried to teach people of this understanding by defining the human body as a marriage between soul and body.This is the kind of harmony that exists in the human body and that St. Augustine hoped to make the people understand.  By doing this he hoped to achieve better respect of the body from people. This would deal with the issue of moral values as respect would help maintain respect of the body.  However, with the fall of humanity, there was the dissolution of peace that existed between the body and the soul.  Thus, this meant that the body and the soul were two different things existing under the same environment.This is further defined so as to increase the understanding of the people. The body is viewed as a three dimensional figure and is usually made up of four main elements.  The soul on the other hand is a substance whose purpose is to rule the body.  This appeared to be quite different for the Greek and Romans as their definition of human being was quite simple.  His focus on the human body was very influential in helping the people come to terms with understanding life and maintaining morality.Engagement in Neo- PlatonismIn his journey in life St. Augustine had gotten himself involved with the Manichaean religion and later on engaged in Neo- Platonism of Plotinus.  His association in Neo- Platonism was influenced by the fact that he felt it was a positive attitude and it contributed to his daily living.  It mainly reflected on the moral life that affects the human lifestyle. This also allowed him to account for evil with necessarily having to discuss it thoroughly. His understanding of the human body requires positive attitude and he found this in Neo- Platonism.Discovering Grace as a Crucial Part of his Christian FaithSt. Augustine had gone through of a lot of positive and negative factors in his life and it was during one of his ordeals that he discovered he needed grace.  As a young man he engaged in some immorality where he had gotten himself into an affair with a young woman.  The young woman bore him a son and they had the relationship going for thirteen years.  When the time came for him to break up the relationship, he felt very hurt and he expresses him pain greatly.  His relationship with his second concubine did not become successful as well.  The relationships he had during with his concubines during this period made him seek for grace.  It was during this trying time that he came up with his famous prayer "Grant me Chastity."In general, the change process of St. Augustine influenced a lot of changes as well.  His journey in life is used to educate people about the important things in life especially on his teachings.  His works and philosophy are reflected on today's daily teachings especially on theology and other religious studies. Therefore, the most important life of Augustine that is reflected is his conversion to Christianity and dedication.

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