Augustinian Spirituality In A Few Words
Saint Augustine coined a spirituality, which rests—in the judgment of specialists—on four pillars:
- Interiority and the search for God
- Community – Communion of life
- Evangelical and ecclesial aspects - Poverty
- Ecclesiology - Service to the Church and Evangelization
For more go to augustinians.net/index.php?page=our-spirituality
The Servant Leader in the Perspective of Augustinian Spirituality Bishop Robert Prevost OSA
- The Fraternal Relationship between Leader and Community Members
- Promoting unity through leadership
- Other dimensions of leadership within Augustinian communities
- Vision for the future
- A love of Truth
- A sense of welcoming and inclusion
- Qualities of the Servant Leader
- Commitment to the Growth of People
- Building community
Some characteristics of an Augustinian Parish Fr. Tony Banks OSA
- Unity and Harmony
- Care and respect for the individual
- Moderation and Self-Denial
- Mutual care
- The common good
- Authority and obedience as service
- Ongoing conversion
- Freedom under grace
A picture of the living Church that should be present in every Augustinian parish.
- Church as a product of creation
- Church as the place where the transcendent and the immanent meet
- Church as the centre for witness, courage, justice
- Church as a centre for evangelisation
- Church as embracive of all walks of life
- Church as a body of pray-ers
- Church as source of forgiveness and care
- Church as pursuer of goodness for the Greater Community
- Church as radical heart of love to the world
- Church as transformative leadership in love
The very act of creation comes out of the life of the TRINITY where the communion that is love expresses its love through creation and communication with the created. The ideal for every parish is an expression of this communion in which we acknowledge the presence of the Trinity residing in us. We become brothers and sisters when we see in one another this wonderful expression of communication from a loving God. Yet is that what we see in our parishes? Our church knows of twin practices that devalue the Church, each in a different way. Privatization of religion, wherein the practice of the faith involves merely me and my God is the first of these lies. We all see people at our liturgies who want nothing to do with community, yet still deal with their (not our) God. The second problem within our Church is when we become corporatized, speaking of statistics and numbers, too large to share intimately within the community providing service but little in communio.
The EUCHARIST will be the core experience in which we seek such communion or community. This living communion of love will express in sincerity that we are the bread broken for another, the blood poured out for each other. We will acknowledge Christ as the Head as we seek to become part of the body of Christ through divine love (grace).
In the expression of communio, the members of the communion will give forth the good odor of Christ in the holiness of our lives (Rule VIII.48). The life of the community will be such that all members of the community will recognize the universal call to holiness and respond to that BAPTISMAL call. Thus Easter is at the heart of all good Church life and the Easter Vigil is the core liturgical event in the life of the Church. Each Sunday is a celebration of Easter. Liturgy will always be seen as an event in communio and ministries will be developed and education programs for ministers and for the community. The catechumenate offers the model for calling people deeper into the life of the Church. It allows men and women to share a common journey and to become immersed in the faith life of the whole community. But some parishes have not yet formed a catechumenate while others have let the catechumenate become the property of a small group of members. The greatest witness to faith in our parish often comes not from the clergy or the religious community but from the personal stories of members of our faith community. Do we allow them to become agents who break open the Word of God?
Just as the apostles were sent out on MISSION so our parishes must be outward looking in the task of the proclamation of the Gospel. This calls for radical proclamation rather than mundane processes, for reviewing the signs of the times rather than mere acceptance of regularity of set practices. Like the 13th century mendicants we must be ready to see where Christ calls in our day and proclaim such communication.
Do we believe in the parishioners as missionaries and do we embrace them so as to enable them to be effective in their proclamation. If we believe in the sharing of the Word, of stories of faith and of the small group practices that enable this to occur are they at the radical heart of our parish life?
Augustine forms communities of lay people, of clerics and advices on the formation and life of “holy” women. His was a Church that knew the regular life of the Church. As such he cherished the clerical order for its service to the Church but knew the Church as something far greater. The Augustinian parish is one in which the Augustinians first and foremost are there to be Christians with the people, and then to act in service for the people. STRUCTURE is core yet hierarchy can be minimized. The core talents of the community should be called forth to be at the service of the community.
The Augustinian community is a model of PRAYER. To live with a spiritual love requires taking time to reflect on the goodness of God. It occurs within the framework of the common life. An Augustinian parish finds places and times where members of the community can pray together. There should be special honoring of the Prayer of the Church (not the prayer of the clerics). No Augustinian parish should know only liturgical prayer. Opportunities to support one another in prayer through contemplation, meditation and praise and worship should be offered. Leaders in prayer should be recognized and educated, regardless of their walk of life.
As part of those who aspire to the Kingdom (or City) of God, and who seek to cobuild that Kingdom with our God we know that expectation and realization are two different things. An Augustinian parish allows all those who know their weaknesses to seek RECONCILIATION with the community of love and encourages the community to always embrace and call back those who feel outside the community. Such a spirit comes from those who believe that the Spirit is imbued in creation and utters forgiveness as the true means of renewal and hope.
We carry the spirit of this Trinitarian love beyond our community to the world. No one works for themselves but for others. We seek to bread for others and to offer ourselves in the bread that is blessed. Life for Augustine could only be undertaken from the inside “out”. In Augustine’s Rule he constantly refers to the movement in INTERIORITY so that tasks can be undertaken, life can be properly lived. No Augustinian parish could call itself such without bearing a pulse of actions that seek to transform the local world. And inherent in such ministry is the reflection space that keeps asking whether community is being built, whether communion has been established.
We seek JUSTICE for others. Out of reflection comes action in love. And out of such action is the base of true witness to the love that sustains us. MINISTRY is the privileged point at which we have encountered the face of God. Like our God we need to respond to the graciousness of the love accorded to us and so we seek to be the community of faith, the community of prayer, the community of charity, the missionary community.
The Augustinian parish is one that seeks EMPOWERMENT for the individual so that new talents, developed in the Spirit, can be borne into the life of the community. This requires an attention to education. Following Augustine such education takes place in stories told, scholarship undertaken, art fostered, rituals enacted and Scriptures proclaimed and broken open.
In our parishes we should find the space where the community can search for God. The community will seek to hold goods in communion for all and for all those who will come in the future (ecology). In our parishes we will see that service arises out of charity, not simply compassion. This deep love should characterize the essence of the Augustinian parish.