“Late have I loved you, beauty so ancient yet so new.” 

-Saint Augustine

"You have made us for yourself o God, and our hearts will not rest until it rests in Thee."  

Saint Augustine 



About the Author

BJ Gonzalvo is an Organizational Psychologist. He writes to bring the wisdom of the saints into our modern everyday lives.  He is the author of Lessons in Leadership From the Saints (to be released in the Spring). He's also an occasional musician/guitarist, inspired to strum the acoustic guitar to praise and honor our Creator.

My Cup of Coffee with Saint Augustine

by BJ Gonzalvo

Saint Augustine’s book, Confessions, was my first encounter with a spiritual book as a curious young adult.  Saint Augustine was the very first saint I got to know deeply and it all began with a simple, accidental reading.  I was not much of a reader prior to reading Saint Augustine but one day, I happened to be hanging out at one of those big-box bookstores.  This was in the late 1990s and hanging out in such bookstores was the trendy thing to do.  I got my cup of coffee and started browsing around the bookstore with no real intention of reading.  But as I walked around the bookstore to gander at some books, this one book caught my eye.  This book had a catchy one-word title, “Confessions.”  Out of curiosity, I stopped and picked it up.  I glanced at the back cover but I got intrigued.  I read the description of the book on the back cover but this time I read slowly.  And that’s when I got even more intrigued.  I, then, turned it, and opened to the first page.  And little did I know that as soon as I read the first opening lines, I would be hooked.  It felt as if Saint Augustine had leapt out of the pages and into the seat across the table to have a cup of coffee with me and tell me his story.  Saint Augustine came to life for me that moment.  It was as if he was really there to talk to me about his childhood in Thagaste and in Carthage, his mother, Saint Monica, his encounter with the philosophy of Manicheism, his promiscuous lifestyle, and other juicy details of his life.  

Perhaps this moment of an ordinary casual hang out with some casual reading were no accident because this moment with Saint Augustine is what I mark as the beginning of my spiritual journey.  Reading about his journey got me thinking about my own journey.  It was as if I was reading about my own search for life’s meaning and for seeking what God wants me to do in my life.  And the deeper I dove into the life of Saint Augustine through his book, Confessions, and his other writings, the farther I got driven into my own road of spiritual conversion.  With the help of Saint Augustine, I was able to discover my own "road to Damascus."  It started with that one "cup of coffee" I had with Saint Augustine.  Please pray for us, Saint Augustine.  


Great art thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is thy power, and infinite is thy wisdom.  And man desires to praise Thee, for He is a part of Thy creation; he bears his mortality about with him and carries the evidence of his sin and the proof that Thou dost resist the proud. Still he desires to praise Thee, this man who is only a small part of Thy creation. Thou hast prompted him, that he should delight to praise Thee, for Thou hast made us for Thyself and restless is our heart until it comes to rest in Thee.  –Saint Augustine

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