Yesterday evening Pope Francis said Mass at the Basilica of St. Augustine in Rome with members of the Augustinian order, celebrating with them the feast day of their founder, St. Augustine of Hippo. The Holy Father’s homily focused on what is perhaps the most famous quote from the great Doctor of the Church, from the first chapter of his Confessions: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
Vatican Radio has excerpts from Pope Francis’ homily:
The restless heart of Augustine has something to teach us, the Pope said, inviting us to reflect on “the restlessness of the spiritual quest, the restlessness of the encounter with God, the restlessness of love.”
The Pope said, “I would say to those who feel indifferent to God, towards the faith, to those who are far from God, or are abandoned, and even to us, with our ‘distances’ and our ‘abandonment’ towards God, little, perhaps, but there are so many in daily life: look into the depths of your heart, look deep within yourself, and ask yourself: Do you have a heart that desires something great, or a heart that is put to sleep by material things?”
The restlessness of Augustine lead him to an encounter with Christ, the Pope continued, but it did not induce him to turn in on himself. “Even in the discovery of God and in the encounter with Him, Augustine doesn’t stop, doesn’t rest, doesn’t become closed in on himself like those who have already arrived, but continues along the way. The restlessness of the quest for the truth, of the quest for God, becomes the restlessness of always coming to know Him better, and of going out of oneself in order to make Him known to others. And this is the restlessness of love.”
And, the Holy Father insisted, this restlessness becomes pastoral: “Augustine is left with the restlessness from God, he never tires of announcing it, of evangelizing with courage, without fear, seeking to be the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, who knows his sheep (cf. Jn 10,14), indeed, as I love to repeat, who ‘smells like His flock,’ and goes out to seek those who are lost. Augustine lives what Saint Paul tells Timothy, and each one of us: announce the word, be urgent in season and out of season, announce the Gospel with the magnanimous, large heart (cf. 2 Tim 4, 2) of a Pastor that is restless for his flock. The treasure of Augustine is precisely this attitude: Always go out towards God, go out towards the flock … He is a man in tension between these two ‘goings’; not to ‘privatize’ love … always on the journey! You should always be on the journey, says the Father. Always restless! And this is the peace of restlessness.”
But restlessness, he concludes, is also love, “always seeking … the good of others, of loved ones, with that intensity that also leads to tears.” The restlessness of love, he said, “always encourages us to reach out to the other,” without “waiting for the other to express his needs.”
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