The Prior General, Miguel Miro, praises the “human and spiritual process” of the conversion of the father of the Church and assures that “the experience of Augustine remains alive”.
As we celebrate the feast of St. Augustine, let us unite our voices and our hearts to give thanks to the Lord. Let us proclaim the mercy of the Father, let us experience the love of Christ in our lives and let us open our hearts to the gift of the Spirit who always renews and strengthens us. The Lord is our hope, he makes us taste and understand the true meaning of life, love and happiness. St. Augustine affirms: “Happiness consists, Lord, in the joy that comes from you, that goes to you and that is motivated by you” (Confessions 10:32). Filled with confidence, let us ask God to touch our hearts so that we may humbly proclaim his greatness, and live in this our time with an active hope that disposes us to follow Jesus with joy on the way to the heavenly Jerusalem.
May the feast of St. Augustine be for the whole Augustinian Recollect Family a motive of inspiration and hope, may it be a touch of attention to the heart so as not to be “distracted” in our lives. How can we focus and enjoy ourselves in prayer and mission, when our mind and heart are concerned with so many things?
If we reread the Confessions and other writings of the Bishop of Hippo, we perceive the human and spiritual process of his conversion: “Behold, Lord, I love you and if it be too little, let me love You more strongly…. This only I know that woe is me except in You — not only without, but even also within myself; and all plenty which is not my God is poverty to me…. My weight is my love, by it I am borne wherever I am borne (Confessions 13:9-10)..
Augustine’s experience remains alive. If we look at the early Recollects, the writings of our saints or recall the words of those brothers and sisters who have awakened enthusiasm and courage in our hearts, we see that they were Christ-centered people; like the branches united to the vine, they strove for inner unity. They knew what they wanted and where they were going; they were men and women ready to give their lives and to give themselves, however difficult it might seem, to the mission of the Church and of the Order.
All of them, in the times in which they lived, made an effort not to be distracted in life; they had learned to listen to the Word, to be poor before God, and sensitive to the needs of their time. Their target was God, and their main desire was to do all that they could to be on fire (cf. Way of Life 1:1). Their life was open to the Spirit and to the future that God showed them; they were filled with love in prayer, in service, in the missions and in the apostolate, in the community, in sickness, in work and study, in success and also in difficult moments. It seems that everything directed them towards God. I would like to think that the Word reached their hearts, and that out of the abundance of the heart their mouths spoke. Their life and mission exhaled the perfume of Christ and of the Gospel (cf. 2 Cor 2:15; Rule 8:1).
Through the intercession of St. Augustine, may the Father infuse us with his Spirit, so that we may center our lives in Christ, open up channels of hope and promote the civilization of love.
Miguel Miró OAR