A feverish apostolate, Augustine also exercises with his writings. Today, it surprises us how a man so busy pastorally was able to find the time to write so much.
His literary work is incredibly vast. In the Retractions, a work written in 426/427, he reviews 93 treatises in 232 books, not to mention all the sermons and letters.
As a writer, Augustine is a purebred, endowed with keen intelligence and brilliant imagination. A master of the art of saying, he knows how to imbue his words with a vitality that exceeds all in terms of the loftiness of his style and the depth of his thought.
In a wonderful fusion, he combines penetrating intelligence with passion of the heart, through which the search for truth is not just an "intellectual exercise" but rather passion for life, outstretched towards the enjoyment of truth, which is happiness (gaudium de veritate).
This spirit permeates all the works of Augustine: those which are polemical or expository, the Commentaries on the Holy Scriptures, the sermons.
Three of his works are the most famous as well as the most widespread:
• The Confessions, written around 400 in thirteen books. A singular autobiography, where, with rare psychological insight, he investigates himself, in order to show me how they should praise God, confessing their sins.
The Confessions occupy a very important place in the literature of St. Augustine. These tell us about his past life up to complete conversion. They do not tell us anything about the rest, that is, of the commitment to the priestly and episcopal life, even though so important in the history of the Church and Western culture. However, we have abundant news in Augustine's other writings. The work is widespread, even in the days of Augustine, who notes this himself, writing: "Which of my books could spread more and be read with so much pleasure as the books of the Confessions?".
The Confessions will always remain the most immediate and meaningful document for those who wish to approach the soul of Augustine.
Le Confessioni rimarranno sempre il documento più immediato ed eloquente per chi desidera accostarsi all’anima di Agostino.
• The Trinity ,written in 420/421 in the final version, in fifteen books. He talks about the formation of the mystery of the Trinity: God is one, in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in the first eight books; in the others, Augustine is engaged in finding the image of the Trinity in man and in the created.
• The City of God, begun in 413 and completed in 426, in twenty-two books; the immediate cause can be traced to the Sack of Rome by the barbarians of Alaric in 410. It represents the response to paganism which accuses the Christians of being responsible for the destruction of Rome. In the second part of the work, Augustine offers Romans and the entire world the Christian proposal of a Providence at work in human history, guarantor of the good done by men but which includes, in the order of things, also evil, for which only men are responsible. Good and evil are represented by the two Cities: The City of God , engages in the exercise of the love of God up to self-contempt; and The Earthly City, in which man so loves himself up to contempt of God. The ruin of Rome was not caused by Christianity, nor the fading of the pagan religious spirit that was said to have irritated the gods (the thesis of the pagans), but by the moral weakening of the spirit of the Romans. Rome betrayed itself, rejecting the worship of the true God, the mediator between God and men: Jesus Christ, and of love for enemies.
Here is the complete list of the works of St. Augustine, bishop and doctor of the Church:
To the Donatists after the Conference (413); The Soul and its Origin (420); Notes on the Book of Job (around 400); Proceedings with Emeritus (418); On the Proceedings concerning Pelagius (417); On Merit and the Forgiveness of Sins, and the Baptism of Infants (411); The City of God (413/427); The Christian Struggle (396); On the Gospel of St. John (416); On the Epistle of St. John (416); Conference with Maximin; Confessions (400); Adulterous Marriages (401); Consent of the Evangelists; On the Catholic and the Manichaean Way of Life (388); On Continence; Against Adimantus (394); Against Cresconius (406); Against Faustus the Manichean (397/8); Against Julian; Against Gaudentius a Donatist Bishop (421/2); Against the Letter of Parmenian (405); Against the Priscillianist and the Origenists; Against an Arian Sermon; Against Adversaries of the Law and the Prophets, Against Lying (422); Against the Two Letters of the Pelagians; Against the Letters of Petilianus; Against the Academics (386/387); On Admonition and Grace (426); Against Felix the Manichee (398); Against Secundinus the Manichee (399); On the Good of Marriage (401); On the Good of Widowhood (401); Sermons (scattered throughout his apostolic activity); New Sermons (found by Dolbeau 1988 in Library of Mainz); Sermon to the Faithful of the Church of Caesarea (418); Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount (394); A Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed (= Serm. 398); Sermon on Christian Discipline (= Serm. 399); Debate with Fortunatus; To Simplicianus, On Different Questions (397); On The Gift of Perseverance; On Christian Doctrine (397/426); On the Two Souls (392); Explanation: Epistle to the Galatians (394/5); Expositions on the Psalms; On Faith and Creed (393); On Faith and Works (413); On Faith in Invisible Realities; On Happiness (386/387) On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis (393); On Genesis, Against the Manichees (396); On Magnitude of the Soul (388); On the Grace of Christ and Original Sin; On Grace and Free Choice; On the Immortality of the Soul (397); Incomplete Explanation: Epistle to the Romans (394/5); Alphabetical Psalm (394); On Holy Virginity (401); The Soliloquies (387). Brief Meeting with the Donatists (411); Mirror of Moral Precepts from Holy Scripture (427); On the Spirit and the Letter (412); On the Care of the Dead (423/424), On the Destruction of the City of Rome; On Heresies (428); Tract Against the Jews; Treatise on Baptism; On The Trinity (400/416); Concerning the One Baptism, Against Petilian (411); On the Usefulness of Believing (391); On the Usefulness of Fasting (Serm = 400); On True Religion (390);
he list of the works of Augustine is taken from Opera omnia, prepared by NBA (Nuova Biblioteca Agostiniana) and Casa Editrice Città Nuova di Roma.