Day 13 – UNITY

013 - unity.pngDay 13 – UNITY

An Augustinian value for education is teaching people how to live together, is unitas, the Latin word for unity. This unity implies a respect for diversity, the way people think, and the way they act. In the desire to build unity, we need community to go beyond ourselves. Community is where the common interest is put first over individual needs. Unity with one another allows us to experience the fullness of Christ. It is collaboration and not competition.

Augustine’s Rule explains his view on unity through community: “The main purpose for you having come together is to live harmoniously in your house, intent upon God in oneness of mind and heart.” In the midst of unity lies the importance of respect for each person by being student-centered. It is important to respect each person’s individuality in order for their uniqueness to emerge. It is comprehensive by being in touch with the person’s will, intelligence, and personal development, so that learning leads to personal achievement and happiness

Day 12 – SEARCH FOR TRUTH

012 - search for truth.pngDay 12 – SEARCH FOR TRUTH

Veritas is the Latin word for truth and Augustine described his life as a restless search for truth. He was a life-long learner who tried to find this truth in his studies, the Manichean cult, his political career, and in living a sinful life. It was not until he turned within himself and discovered Jesus Christ, the Inner Teacher, that he found truth. He captures this relationship with God by stating in his Confessions: “Lord, let me know myself, let me know you.” Augustine’s search for truth is a restless journey of the heart.

He believes that our true identity as people dwells within us where we encounter God. God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. He states the importance of this yearning heart in his Confessions: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” The inner search for truth requires an open spirit. An open spirit is taking flight from our inner heart toward the transcendent God by moving from interiority to truth, from liberty to love, and from friendship to community.

Day 11 – HUMILTY and POVERTY

011 - humility and poverty.pngDay 11 – HUMILTY and POVERTY

Humility and poverty are the foundation of Augustinian common life and spiritual life, and are so closely related that no one can be called a “poor man of God” as was Augustine, without being humble. By reason of poverty and humility we consider all of our possessions, both material and spiritual, as the possessions of all, for we do not hold them as personal property, but as given to us by God to be administered. We are all beggars before God. Therefore we make use of the goods of the earth as tools on our way toward our heavenly homeland.

In Augustine, humility is related to the truth and being so, holds an importance that is incomparable to other moral virtues. To Dioscurus, Augustine wrote: I wish you would submit with sincere piety to Him and not seek any other way to abiding truth but the one shown us by him who, being God, knows our weakness. This way consists, first, of humility, second, of humility, and third, of humility… It is not that there are no other precepts to be mentioned. But, unless humility precedes, accompanies, and follows whatever we do, unless it is a goal on which we keep our eye, a companion at our side, and a yoke upon our neck, we will find that we have done little good to rejoice in; pride will have bereft us of everything. For Augustine, it is important since it is the cure for pride, that vice which has introduced all disvalues. Within an Augustinian perspective, humility is seen as a moral value in at least two ways: (a) it is necessary for the Christian life (b) it is a sine qua non for the community life.

Day 10 – COMMUNITY

010 - community.pngDay 10 – COMMUNITY

Community is the axis around which Augustinian life turns: a community who live harmoniously together, united by a single soul and a single heart, seeking God together and open to the service of the Church. This community is the fruit of charity and is expressed in friendship, which brings forth and nourishes loyalty, trust, sincerity and mutual understanding. Charity unites us in Christ, helping us to recognize the signs of God’s love in the events and circumstances of life. Thus, united in charity, we share mutually the gifts given to us and to others. Our friendship in Christ not only favours the development of each one’s personality, but it also increases freedom within the community itself, in which a healthy openness of mind fosters dialogue and enjoys a necessary autonomy with which to serve God better.

Day 9 – WILL

09 - will.pngDay 9 – WILL

Another aspect of the Augustinian spirituality is the will. As he says, the will is all important. Will originates for Augustine in the emergence of thought from being. It is found in their unification from out of their distinction. It means that the practical, decision, and the works of love can have, and do have, and must have their ground in the revelation of being in thought. This is the standard for and true character of our fundamental Christian institutions. Further, if they correspond to their spiritual origin, they must give and will give and must be made to give satisfaction to the individual self. At enmity with the Augustinian doctrine of the will and thus of love are endless mindless practicality, cynicism which keeps decision on the same plane with experiences: multiple and tentative. Its enemies are also those who determine the laws of love from the necessities of the body, here the libertines and the reactionaries meet.

Day 8 – SACRAMENTS

08 - sacraments.pngDay 8 – SACRAMENTS

Augustinian interiority is a necessity for the future in respect to liturgy and the sacraments. For Augustine sacraments are effective signs of God’s love. To participate in them we must enter by knowledge and love into spirit’s signifying activity. Knowledge of, and love for, what the sign intends is essential. Subjective, interior participation is essential. Being and self are never separated for Augustine. Knowledge of their union is the heart of Christianity for him. Of course the other side of this union is equally determinative for him. The sacraments are objectively effective. They signify a reality which works through them. The identity between God and humans achieved through the sacraments is not in the subjective acts of signifying, rather signifying has itself an objective presupposition. The sacraments are God’s loving means of union with us and properly effect loving union with Him and with the City of God.

Day 7 – CHRIST

07 - Christ.pngDay 7 – CHRIST

For Augustine teaching was only possible because of Christ, the LOGOS, and ultimately when Christ became our teacher. For only Christ as God and man spoke to us both from within and from without at once. Only Christ the Son of the Father, incarnate of the Virgin Mary, joined our internal and external discourses. Only because of Him, and ultimately by Him, can we discover from experience the deep structure of the self which we had forgotten. For this self-distracted age of Western culture, the determining world culture, there can be neither authentic being nor loveable knowledge, nor decision and commitment which are authentically acts of the will, unless the self be confronted and discovered again in what it experiences. Our teaching must have again that Christian and Augustinian character.

Day 6 – MEMORY

06 - memory.pngDay 6 – MEMORY

The culture of our time is a culture of experiences, of facts, of information. We have self-consciously turned against our Augustinian origins, deconstructing the self, in order to live at the surface in passions and poses. We deny metaphysics and ontology and thus have lost our memory. For us thoughts do not reveal the structure of the self. At best we have only diverse ‘insights’.