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Was Augustine a Monk? (Part 2)

by Brian Lowery, OSA

Editors Note:  This posting was is part of a class given by Fr. Brian Lowery, OSA titled "The Spirituality of the Rule of Saint Augustine" in March 2018 as part of the Augustinian Spirituality Course.

Description of life with his friends at Carthage

In Book IV of his Confessions, Saint Augustine speaks about the friends he had as a young man in Carthage, his natural facility for friendship and the concrete ways in which it found expression:

“All kinds of things rejoiced my soul in their company – to talk and laugh and do each other kindnesses; read pleasant books together, pass from lightest jesting to talk of the deepest things and back again; to differ without rancor, as a man might differ with himself, and when most rarely dissension arose to find our normal agreement all the sweeter for it; to teach each other and to learn from each other; be impatient for the return of the absent, and welcome them with joy on their homecoming; these and such like things, proceeding from our hearts as we gave affection and received it back, and shown by face, by voice, by the eyes, and a thousand other pleasing ways, kindled a flame which fused our very souls and of many made us one.”

Saint Augustine (The Confessions IV, 8, 13)

One can read these words and think of them as a visible way of living out the opening lines of the Rule we just quoted: “to live harmoniously in your house, on the way to God in oneness of mind and heart.” At the end of the quote in the Confessions he said that these pleasing ways “kindled a flame which fused our very souls and of many made us one,” echoing what he will say elsewhere about common life.

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