Put love in all things you do and they will make sense. Take love away and they become
worthless and empty.
 (St Augustine - Sermon 138, 2)

The heart, which artists have often portrayed Augustine holding, is the key to his approach to life.  St Augustine's spirituality focuses on human warmth and love.  For Augustine the heart was the symbol for all that was deepest and truest in one's self.

Augustinian spirituality reflects the actual life story of Augustine.  As a young man he was restless and without direction.  He pursued a long and painful search for truth that he hoped would provide him with peace.  In the drama of his conversion at the age of thirty-three years, he felt his innermost heart lovingly spoken to by the Word of God.  He wrote, "The words of your Scripture knocked at the door of my heart."

Augustine's anguish suddenly left him and he found direction in humility, as though an arrow from God had pierced his heart.  You have pierced our hearts with the arrow of your love, and our minds were shot with the arrows of your words.  (Confessions 9:2)  Indeed his heart seemed to burst into flame with the love of God.  By your fire, your beneficent fire, our hearts are inflamed.  (Confessions 13:9)

That the great spiritual events of Augustine's life took place in the company of others is of significance to his spirituality.  Augustine greatly valued relationships with others.

He reached out to people; he was in turn beloved and appreciated by them.  Fittingly the spirituality reflected in his writings of over five million words is based on love of neighbour and on community.  For Augustine only a shared, communal vision is worth having.  Thus, he placed before people the ideal of love: "Be of one mind and one heart on the way towards God.”  They are to build up community with one another, in which listening to others and even authority are acts of love.

In Augustinian spirituality, love for God is experienced as love for one another.  We come to God through the love of one another, since our love for other human beings is much more concrete than our love for God.  In the teaching of Augustine, human love has divine love running within it.

The warmth of friendship is likewise essential for Augustine.  "Without a human being who is our friend, nothing in the world appears friendly to us."  Life shared with others often culminates in friendship - the gift of loving and of being loved.  As we strive for union with others, we do so in a shared love of God.

Augustine models for us prayer of the heart, longing to know and see God.  In prayer, we progress to God, who is the source of our happiness.  You made us for yourself, O God, and have directed us toward yourself.  Our hearts are restless until we rest in you.  (Confessions 1:1)

In Augustinian spirituality, all good things come back to love, which is the very centre of Christian existence.