Saint Augustine of Hippo (345 AD – 430 AD), one of the most significant figures of the post-apostolic church age and a substantial contributor to the development of Western philosophical thought and the theology of the church, was canonized and recognized as a Doctor of the Church by Pope Boniface VIII in 1298. Why this tidbit of church history, you may ask? Well, should you spend a little time digging into this saint’s life, you will discover not all saints are very saintly, which is good news for hopefuls like me.

In the writing of his Confessions (397-400 AD), Augustine allows us to see the man as he once was: the father of an illegitimate son, and a mischievous adolescent less interested in religion than in sex and high living. Add to that the fact that he was an admitted thief who took pleasure, not in the booty gained, but in the thievery itself. Not a likely candidate for sainthood, wouldn’t you agree?

What’s your story? When you contemplate going to church on Sunday or when the idea of actually becoming a Christian crosses your mind, do a thousand reasons why God would have nothing to do with you run through your head? Have you ever considered that such a thought might be God’s invitation? His way of telling you a reservation in your name has already been made?

Like so many whose stories are chronicled in the Bible and throughout history, Augustine was a most unlikely candidate for service in God’s eternal purposes. But in the grander scheme of things, this womanizing thief was to be a significant player in the divine plan.

What is your story? More importantly, what might your story become?