Apostolic and Spiritual Life Must Begin in Christ

Pope Receives Augustinian Recollects

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 5, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II reminded a group of Augustinian Recollects that «to start from Christ» is the key for all apostolic and spiritual action.

The Holy Father received 40 participants of the order’s general chapter in audience on Friday.

Religious from Italy, Spain, the Philippines, Panama, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the United States have been meeting in Rome since Oct. 18 to take part in an «extremely important event for everyday community life, in syntony with the historical development,» explained the general secretariat of the 53rd Chapter in a note sent to ZENIT.

«I exhort you to take very much into account in your reflections and deliberations the key that I have indicated for all apostolic and spiritual programs: ‘to start from Christ’ — John Paul II said –; ‘this program of old is ours for the third millennium,'» the Pope said quoting «Novo Millennio Ineunte.»

In this context, the Holy Father reminded them that «the profound spiritual life» becomes «fascinating testimony» «at the beginning of the third millennium, bringing clarity into the confusion that an increasingly globalized world can occasion, radiating peace and hope in so many convulsed situations, manifesting the ineffable beauty of God in face of the lack of supreme values and giving proofs of his love for each human being, created in his image, although so many times disfigured and subjected to a destructive mentality, uncooperative and exclusive,» he stressed.

«[P]rogress in the supernatural life.» — «foundation of assiduous prayer and participation in the sacraments,» «in particular the Eucharist» — is also a «fundamental premise for fruitful apostolic action,» the Pope clarified.

The Order of Augustinian Recollects arose in Spain in 1588 as a reform within the Order of Augustinians. Today it is present in 18 countries of America, Europe and Asia and enjoys a continual increase of religious — 1,200 in total — of different nationalities.

The Chapter coincides with the celebration of the 1650th anniversary of the birth of one of the most influential fathers of the West, St. Augustine — Nov. 13, 354 –, Bishop of Hippo, philosopher, theologian and Doctor of the Church.

To celebrate the anniversary, on Sunday afternoon the Saint’s relics — usually venerated in Pavia — are expected to arrive in Rome, where they will remain until Nov. 15. The Augustinian Recollects of the general chapter of the order will receive the relics. The Holy Father will have the opportunity to venerate them in his private chapel in the Vatican.

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