What is Augustinian Restlessness?
Have you ever found yourself feeling anxious, unfulfilled, worried, unable to sit still, or unable to feel completely satisfied with all the many gifts you have been given in life? If so, this is what the Augustinians would call Restlessness and we all experience at times throughout our lives.
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
The basis of Augustinian restlessness is the acknowledgment that no matter how much we accomplish in life, no matter how much money we make, no matter how many titles we gain, or how many things we accumulate, we will never feel fully satisfied. We will always want more. We will keep searching for that which we hope will bring us the fulfillment.
Augustine reasoned this is because we are made for God alone. Therefore, anything short of God will fail to fully satisfy us. Our life calling is to direct our search for fulfillment in God alone. This involves a gradual redirection of our love for things other than God towards God alone. Due to human weakness, this reorientation of our love is ultimately a life-long endeavor.
Through his Confessions, Saint Augustine shares with us his own spiritual journey of searching for fulfillment in childhood/teenage rebellion, lust, romance, material possessions, other religions, and a career. What he discovered through this journey that what he was ultimately searching for was God.
This led to his decision to convert to Christianity. However, as he entered the process of surrendering to the teachings of Christ, he realized the human condition is a reality in which the struggle with attempting to find fulfillment in things other than God would continue through the rest of his life. He therefore questioned how best to continue the journey to God he had already begun. He determined he could only do this with other people. His journey to God would be a journey he would share with others.This led him to ultimately decided to leave his career and found a community of brothers that shared all things in common in order to live a life balanced with prayer and service that nurtures a deep interior life and the lifelong quest for finding fulfillment in God alone. From this community experience, he ultimately wrote the Rule which provides the foundation of Augustinian life today.
Discover Augustine Quotes on Restlessness
The life example of Augustine does not just apply to Augustinian Friars. We all experience restlessness. We therefore invite you to join us on the journey to God by embracing your own sense of restlessness through the other key pillars of Augustinian Spirituality: a journey into the interior life; cultivating a community that journeys together, and embracing Augustinian humility.
What has been your experience of restlessness? What have you learned on your journey to God? Be sure to leave your thoughts below!
This post was written by Jeremy Hiers, O.S.A.