Doing some writing on the Augustine section of my dissertation I came across Brian Williams work The Potters Rib: Mentoring for Pastoral Formation. Williams highlights several key aspects of Augustine's role in preparing others for ministry, one of those being friendship. He then describes five fundamental components in Augustine's concept of healthy friendship.
1) Friendship is authored by God.
needs Christ to endure.
3) Friendship is based on true knowledge of the others
strengths and weaknesses.
4) Friendship requires the others' spiritual well being.
5) The chief aid of Friendship is mutual sharing of sorrow and struggle
Williams closes with this assessment: “Fraternal Charity, rather than prayer or study was the
first rule Augustine established to guide those living in community,
co-inhabited by the same Spirit” (199).
May the world over be blessed with friendships that are authored by God, that lead to sharing sorrow, struggle and much joy.