Written by Fr. Robert Prevost, O.S.A.
Jesus in his preaching often spoke of the Kingdom of God. Various times over the past several Sundays, we have heard parables about the Kingdom, about the man who found the precious pearl, and who sold everything in order to buy that pearl. The message is clear: the follower of Jesus is willing to put God and the Kingdom in first place. God’s love is what matters, and everything else will fall into place when we have our priorities straight.
The month of August is a special time for Augustinians and for the people we serve. On the 27th of August, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine. And on the 28th, the Augustinian family, in unity with the whole Church, celebrates the solemnity of our holy father Saint Augustine. Augustine is for us a source of great wisdom and inspiration, as his life and his many writings give us greater understanding into the mystery of God’s love, as well as a very human insight into the many ways in which our human relationships (family and friends) can indeed be the lived experience of God’s love in our own lives. Augustine shows us in very concrete ways how we can lead lives that will lead us toward the Kingdom of God.
St. Augustine, through his mother’s love and by her prayer and example, after much searching, converted to the Catholic Church and eventually became one of the great Doctors of the Church. Augustine’s human struggles, even after so many centuries, are still very relevant to the kinds of conflicts and problems that young people encounter today. His desire to grow in faith and his open sharing of how he was always looking for God, especially as we find in the Confessions, give us some very down-to-earth ideas of what it means to be disciples of Jesus who are always looking for the Kingdom of God.
From an Augustinian perspective, every parish activity, from prayer to adult or youth education; from the celebration of the sacraments to fund-raising activities to help feed the poor; all that we are doing when we are united as a Christian community is an expression of the one Body of Christ (St. Augustine often referred to the “Christus Totuus”, the Whole Christ), who is present in our world in and through the Church.
So we celebrate this month of August, and we continue to grow in our faith and in our willingness to serve others, as we too long for the coming of God’s Kingdom. With Saint Augustine we pray: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”