Our dedication to private and communal prayer and worship sustain peace and harmony in community.
“Be assiduous in prayer, at the hours and times appointed” (The Rule II, 10)
“When you pray to God in psalms and hymns, think over in your hearts the words that come from your lips” (The Rule, II, 12)
Authentic religious community life depends on each member generously sharing not only their material goods, but also their spiritual goods.
“It is necessary, therefore, that if we are gathered together physically, we live together spiritually. It is of no value that we live together in the same house if different wills keep us apart. God looks more to unity of spirit than unity of place.” (Augustinian Constitutions, no. 28).
Sharing of spiritual goods springs from cultivation of a deep interior life through both personal and communal prayer, the fruits of which are multiplied when the principles of unity, stewardship, and care and respect are applied to spiritual goods as they are to material goods. Therefore, nothing other than common prayer is better suited to express and promote unity. Prayer and liturgy enable a peaceful and harmonious community life when it flows from a generous and intimate sharing among the Friars.
One practical example of sharing spiritual goods is when a person shares the spiritual wisdom or spiritual resources they gained from journeying with God through a tragedy or major life milestone with someone going through a similar experience. Perhaps an older person sharing their experience of God when they went through mid-life with someone about to approach that same life stage. Another example is when a person regularly meditates on the Scriptures and then shares insights they gain with others.
Augustinian Friars cultivate their interior life through dedication to daily private and communal prayer and worship. This includes spending a daily lifestyle involving individual or communal contemplation, praying the Liturgy of the Hours a community, daily Mass, receiving or providing spiritual direction, spiritual reading, personal and communal study and reflection, etc.
These same practices will strengthen any community of faith that seeks unity of not just place or things, but also of the spirit. Consider the impact that faith sharing can have for a family or a group of coworkers who gather together on their lunch break. Such faith sharing is strengthened when the members of the sharing have a rich interior life and come prepared to generously share that with other.
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Reflection written by Jeremy Hiers, O.S.A.
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