I am so happy that you are here with us this evening. I thank you for being a companion on the way with us on this special date and in this special moment of the celebration of the Solemnity of Saint Augustine...
Your Eminence, Most Reverend Cardinal Parolin,
I am so happy that you are here with us this evening. I thank you for being a companion on the way with us on this special date and in this special moment of the celebration of the Solemnity of Saint Augustine, here in this important and significant place, the Church dedicated to him and the place where the mortal remains of Monica, his mother, are venerated.
A year has passed since we experienced with spiritual emotion the visit of Pope Francis. He himself presided at the Eucharist, which opened the celebration of our 184th General Chapter, (28 August 2013).
Without doubt, it was a moment of great historical relevance; it was the first time that a Pope inaugurated our General Chapter. It was also and above all a moment of intense spiritual reflection. The Holy Father, in his discourse, invited us to reflect on the concept of “restlessness” as a synthesis of the life of Augustine, both for himself as well as for our life: the restlessness of spiritual search, the restlessness of encounter with God, the restlessness of love. He himself encouraged us to fix our eyes on the heart of Christ in order to search for him continuously, to proclaim him with courage, to bear witness to him concretely and with a care for our brothers and sisters. (cfr. The Mass at the Beginning of the General Chapter of the Order of Saint Augustine, 28 August 2013).
The Order of Saint Augustine, founded 770 years ago by a special initiative of the Holy See, has always maintained as its objective, goal, and fundamental prospective, its openness to the needs of the Church and fidelity to the Supreme Pontiff. (CC 3).
This perspective, to which is added the other three constitutive elements of our spirituality, (interiority, common life, social involvement), have always directed us and sustained us in an apostolate that is diversified and most fruitful on five continents; in the first place and always at the service of the Universal Church. Today we reaffirm this total openness and readiness, and I want to ask you to be so kind as to speak of this with the Holy Father in the name of the whole Order.
During the General Chapter, I presented my desire and my commitment to present us to the world, as religious and as an Order, with the “PRINCIPLE OF MERCY” and to structure us by means of “COMPASSION”. That is to make us aware of our courageous, free and intense response in the encounter with the sufferings that are in the world and to become a “place” that is more sensitive and involved in the presence of the moral, physical and spiritual wounds of men and women of our time, (cfr. My Evangelical, Ecclesial and Augustinian Reflection. The Discourse of the Prior General, Alejandro Moral Antón to the General Chapter, 12 September 2013).
May this be our objective and our commitment as Christians and as Augustinians in the light of the Gospel and in letting us be guided by the directives inspired by the Second Vatican Council.
Saint Augustine was very conscious of this need for mercy, which flows from its very involvement with faith. With this in mind I wish to conclude by calling to mind a thought of our holy Father, Augustine, so that it may be at the same time both a stimulus, guarantee and plan of action: “We have continually close at hand the medicine with which we can cure our wounds, which are things of everyday life. Now, this medicine is to be found in our good works of mercy. If you wish to obtain mercy from God then you must be yourself a merciful person (…). We manifest trust in God, dear brothers, by means of our works of mercy. Confess to the Lord because he is good, because eternal is his mercy. Confess, because God is rich in mercy. And his desire is to pardon the sins of those who confess them to him. Moreover, offer to him a sacrifice. O Man, be compassionate with your brother and sister and God will have compassion for you, (Sermon 259,3.”
Thank you, your Eminence, for being here with us, being close to us and for your gracious courtesy.
That the Lord may reward you and sustain you!
Fr. Alejandro Moral Antón
Prior General, OSA