GREETINGS FROM THE PRIOR GENERAL FOR THE FEAST OF SAINT AUGUSTINE TO THE BROTHERS AND SISTERS, THE FRATERNITIES AND THE LAITYOF THE AUGUSTINIAN FAMILY
Dear brothers and sisters of the Augustinian Family,
on the occasion of the two great feasts we are about to celebrate, Saint Monica and Saint Augustine, I send each one of you, and also in the name of the General Council, a fraternal greeting and best wishes.
In this time of great precariousness due to the difficulties caused by the pandemic, it is appropriate that, as we celebrate the feast of our Mother Monica and the solemnity of our Father Augustine, we give thanks to God for the gifts received, for the graces and for the mercy that we have been granted. It is true that some brothers and sisters have died, and others have suffered the consequences of this disease, but none of them or none of us has been abandoned by the love of God., the God who supports and protects us in unusual and unknown ways.
Now is the time to strengthen our faith, to rekindle our hope and to live in charity. “It is in our weaknesses that we feel and experience the presence of the Spirit more strongly and we feel united in Him”. This time, which is special from many points of view, asks each of us to make a greater effort to be witnesses of communion. The strength of each group of the Augustinian Family, laity and fraternity, community of men and women religious, of each Circumscription and of the Order, lies in the union of the brothers who act and live, moved by the same Love. “For this we have gathered in the same house, to be one heart and one soul in God”. Living in communion means already living in the Love of God, being moved by his Spirit, being resurrected to new life, abandoning our old selves.
For the solemnity of our Father, I propose to you the reflection of a text by Augustine that can help us today to be in solidarity with those who suffer and feel abandoned. Our Holy Father Augustine writes: “Blessed are those who have compassion for others, because they will obtain compassion”. With an excellent and logical c01mection, after saying “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, because they will be satisfied”, he adds: “Blessed are those who feel compassion, because God will have compassion on them. In fact, you are hungry and thirsty for justice. If you are hungry and thirsty, you are a beggar for God. So, you stand like a beggar in front of God’s door, but there is also another beggar in front of your door. What you will do with your beggar, God will do with his ” (St. Augustine, Discourse 53 / A, 10).
This is how Saint Augustine explains the beatitude of the merciful: the poor are your beggar; you are a beggar for God. What you do with your beggar, God will do with his.
I conclude by recalling the words of two great Popes, St. Paul VI and St. John Paul II, with whom I would like to concur: “St. Augustine is unique for his richness, unique for his clarity of thought, unique for the depth of human experience, unique for his relevance! If St. Augustine lived today, he would speak as he spoke more than a thousand years ago, because he truly personifies the humanity that believes, that loves Christ and our God” (St. Paul VI, Homily, 3 November 1973), for this “I manifest the strong desire that he be studied and that his doctrine be widely known and that his pastoral zeal be imitated, so that the magisterium of such a great Doctor and Pastor may continue in the Church and in the world for the benefit of culture and of faith ” (St. John Paul II, Augustinum Hipponensem, 28 August 1986).
Rome, from the General Curia of the Order, August 27, 2021, Santa Monica Feast Day. Prat. N. 173/2021
P. Alejandro Moral Anton O.S.A.