Augustine teaches that "good friends are good for a lot of good, and bad friends are good for a lot of wrong" (Sermon 87, 12).
They have at their heart the love of the spirit that is at the centre of the person for that of another, soul for soul (Confessions, 2, 2, 3).
They make two souls one (Confessions, 4, 6, 11).
One must love a friend like one self (Monologues, 6, 16, 26).
Friendship is "mutual acceptance of all the human and divine in each other" (Against the Academics, 3, 6, 13).
True friendship contributes to the happiness of people (The Happy Life, 1, 5).
It is a precious gift to the life of society (City of God, 19, 8).
It can be described as the lively and personal sharing of all the more noble aspects of life (Confessions, 4, 8, 13).
It demands as an indispensable pre-condition the love of truth, i.e., someone is never a good friend if not sincere (Letter 155, 1).
Friendship can be a key human component in our growth towards God.
Of everything that exists in the natural world, Augustine held that only true friendship could lead one to God.
Augustine saw friendship as a relationship between two people, one that was based on love, leading each friend to work for the other's happiness.
Friendship is an image of the love of God for us, according to Augustine, since authentic and generous friendship mirrors the love that Christ showed for us on the Cross, and which He described teaching that "no greater love can one have than to lay down one's life for one's friend" (John 15:13).
"For what else is friendship but this? It gets its name from love alone, is faithful only in Christ, and in him alone can it be eternal and happy." (Against Two Pelagian Letters 1, 1).
"I know that I can safely entrust my thoughts and considerations to those who are aflame with Christian love and have become faithful friends to me. For I am entrusting them not to another human, but to God in whom they dwell and by whom they are who they are." (Letter 73, 3).
(Continued on the next page.)