Friday, September 26, 2008

The Heart of the Matter

I have been reading about Augustine and the Augustinian tradition. To Augustine, the heart represents our whole self before God. Thomas Martin, who wrote and compiled this book, Our Restless Heart, had these words to say:

From the heart I come to Christian faith, become a member of the church, the Body of Christ, and begin to recognize Christ in my brothers and sisters, with a particular openness of heart to the poor. Heart is that touch point where true integration of the interior and exterior, the spiritual and the incarnational, takes place. Heart is never the final goal, yet what does not start from the heart goes nowhere. Equally true is Augustine's insistence that if something is claimed to be in the heart but never manifests itself outwardly in love and community, it is nothing less than self-deception. His insistence upon the heart is thus not a self-serving escape from responsibility into interior religion and privatised faith. To come to the heart is simply to discover that we are God's work, that God does dwell within us, that at our deepest and truest level of self we are never alone - and certainly never unloved.

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