There are several people and events that have made the most significant impact on Augustine’s conversion to Christianity. It is through God’s favor that these individuals and events direct them to have an impact on Augustine. One of the most important people in his life was his mother Monica, a devout catholic woman who remained a steady force throughout his life. It was through her that God instrumentally reached Augustine and brought him to salvation.
This is clear in Augustine’s words as he says “Do I dare say to you that you, my God, remained silent when I departed still farther from you? Did you in truth remain silent to me at that time? Whose words but yours were those that you sang in my ears by means of my mother, your faithful servant?” (Augustine 69) His mother presented much wisdom to her son and always tried to bring him closer to accepting Catholicism. An event that had a meaningful influence on his conversion was the reading “Hortensius,” . This represented the starting point of Augustine’s return to God and provided him with God’s wisdom.
As Augustine asserts “This book changed my affections. It turned my prayers to you, Lord, and caused me to have different purposes and desires” (81). Due to his desire for wisdom, he begins his journey on the road to conversion as he says “The book changed my feelings. It altered my prayers, Lord, to be towards you yourself. It gave me different values and priorities.
Suddenly every vain hope became empty to me, and I longed for the immortality of wisdom with an incredible ardour in my heart. I began to rise up to return to you (III.iv.7)”.
The tragic death of Augustine’s best friend earns a memorable and important place in his journey to conversion. As he was overcome with a feeling of devastation and mourns his loss, he struggles moving from place of place in order to avoid places that reminded him of his friend. He realizes God’s hand directing this and notes, “But you.
..to the end that I would change my residence on earth for the sake of my soul’s salvation, put goads to me at Carthage by which I would be turned away from there, and at Rome you set allurements before me by which I would be drawn thither” (123).
Ambrose, Augustine’s acquaintance, was another dominant force in his conversion. He mentions Ambrose in regards to his move to Milan “I came to Milan, and to Ambrose, its bishop…All unknowing, I was led to him by you, so that through him I might be led, while fully knowing it, to you” (130).
Augustine was impressed by his preaching and sermons and greatly impacted by them. He says, “Although I was not anxious to learn what he said, but merely to hear how he said it . . .yet at the same time with the words, which I loved, there also entered into my mind the things themselves . .
.” (131). Furthermore, in book 8, Augustine concedes “. . .
all my doubts concerning incorruptible substance, and that every other substance comes from it, had been removed from me” (181). It is clear that is is through God’s grace that Ambrose helps to shape Augustine’s path towards conversion.Having a most profound and important effect on Augustine was his friend Ponticianus.
He relayed stories faith about of two men who had given up their worldly lives in a quick instant in order to become monks in the name of Christ. These stories thoroughly affected Augustine as he reflected over the fact that these men changed their lives by willing it. This nudjed Augustine’s internal motivation and strength as he finally came to terms with the fact that he was now ready to undergo conversion to Christ.