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Asia Pacific Augistinian Conference

Laurence Mooney OSA: In Search of God in Augustinian Spirituality

Searching for God in one's own life is at the heart of Augustinian spirituality. Augustine is best known to many for his arduous search as a young man for truth, beauty and peace, all movingly related to us in his Confessions. He searched for meaning and truth within his life and in doing so truly searched for God.

In Augustine's story we hear our own stories. Those who study Augustine's personal search inevitably find themselves drawn to reflect on their individual journey as well. The close following of Augustine's steps has enabled many persons to see more clearly the shape that grace and love have given to their lives.

Augustine's spirituality is one of lifelong quest for more and more of God. He searched for God and sought to know God. 'O Lord my God, you alone do I love; you alone do I follow; you alone do I seek….. Show me the road I must travel that I may see you.' (Soliloquies 1,1,5) His personal journey began in an attraction to the 'name of Christ.' This name, 'drunk in' as he says 'with my mother's milk' appealed to him from his earliest years. (Conf. 3,4,8) He sought it constantly throughout his youth and it remained as a pilot for him on his journey.

When he was a nineteen-year-old student at Carthage he encountered the book Hortensius by the classical author Cicero. Reading this work was a dramatic experience for Augustine in that it awakened in him the thirst for a wisdom that was higher than just material wisdom.

He searched eagerly on its pages for the Christ of his childhood but failed to find Christ's name there. However a flame of desire had been lit within and he found himself wanting something 'more' in his life than was there previously.

Looking back after his conversion Augustine felt that his search for God truly commenced with his reading of that book by Cicero.  'Suddenly all I had hoped in I saw as worthless.... I had begun that journey upwards by which I was to return to you.' (Conf. 3,4,7)

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The author, Fr Laurence Mooney OSA, has been a presenter in a number of APAC Augustinian Spirituality Conferences in India and the Philippines, and previously chaired an APAC Spirituality Commission. For a number of years, he was a team member of the St John Stone Augustinian Centre of Spirituality, Greystanes. He served two terms as the Australian Augustinian Provincial, beginning in 1990.  Still based in Sydney, he has continued his writings on Augustinian spiritually and Augustinian educational values.

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