DAY 5: FRIENDSHIP IN COMMUNITY
In the name of the Father + and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
What drew me closest to my brothers and sisters was the delight of chatting and laughing together, of showing our affection for one another by kindly services, of reading together from books that spoke of pleasant things, of joking together amicably, of disputing now and then but without resentment, as one is wont to do with himself, of awakening by rare contest the pleasure of being one in mind, of mutually instructing on another, of longing for the absent one, and tasting joy of his return. We loved each other with all our hearts, and these marks of our friendship that were shown in our faces, by our voices, in our eyes and a thousand other ways, were among us like ardent flames that fused our soul together, and of many made but one.
Let us reflect on our experience of friendship in our community. Am I happy about it…? Is there something that needs to be improved…? (Paused)
Reading: From the Book IF ST. AUGUSTINE WERE ALIVE
The idea of friendship is at the very heart of the Rule, for those who are one in heart and soul are clearly friends, in God above all, but through God, also in their love and care for one another. True friendship is based on unselfish love, and surely this is what Augustine is truing to say, when he urges religious to grow in love by putting the common interest ahead of his own. He makes very clear that when religious seek common interest first, they also are really seeking their own deepest interest, because they are committed to becoming one community in Christ. The real proof of friendship will come only through our willingness to bear one another’s burden. What are some of these burdens? They could be illness, discouragement, misunderstanding, or as Augustine implies: anger, envy, impatience, pride and in other words, the very burden of sin itself, in our lives and in that of our fellow religious.
Friendship requires frankness and truthfulness but also implies that we respect the human nature of our friends, than when we seek to help them, we do so with great gentleness and understanding. According to Augustine’s view of things, there should be unspoken rule among those who live in community: they should want to be helped mutually, not only through necessary fraternal correction accomplished with love. What a difference such an attitude could make among religious everywhere? (Moment of reflection)
LITANY IN HONOR OF SAINT AUGUSTINE
Lord, have mercy on us…
God the Father of Heaven Have mercy on us
God the Son, Redeemer of the World Have mercy on us
God, the Holy Spirit Have mercy on us
Holy Trinity, one God Have mercy on us
Mary, Mother of Jesus Pray for us
Mary, Mother of Consolation Pray for us
Mary, Mother of Good Counsel Pray for us
St. Augustine, bright star of the Church Pray for us
St. Augustine, filled with zeal for God’s glory Pray for us
St. Augustine, dauntless defender of the truth Pray for us
St. Augustine, the triumph of divine grace Pray for us
St. Augustine, on fire with the love of God Pray for us
St. Augustine, so great and so humble Pray for us
St. Augustine, prince of bishops and doctors Pray for us
St. Augustine, father of monastic life Pray for us
St. Augustine, holiest of the wise and wisest of the holy Pray for us
Pray for us St. Augustine That may become worthy of the promises of Christ.
ALL: Lord our God, you have revealed to St. Augustine the beauty of friendship that is rooted in you. Grant that we, his friends be willing to grow in friendship with one another in the community. May we achieved the perfection of such friendship in our heavenly home where you live and reign forever and ever. Amen.