Concentrating the Mind
Adversity sometimes has the positive effect of concentrating the mind, and in dealing with adversity to discover—or perhaps re-discover the real priorities. The smooth flow of events can lull us into a torpor of complacency and cause us to lose sight of the essentials. The relative shortage of vocations in the northern hemisphere is forcing us to make various re-assessments, and sometimes to do things we should have been doing in any case. A number of happenings throughout the Order and in our own Province are pointing the way to the future in a constructive spirit of hope. The Prior General’s letter to the Order on the feast of All Saints of the Order is inspirational and challenging. No friar, no community can be excused for not pondering it deeply and responding to it. Fr Robert focuses on youth ministry, but ranges more widely, making clear the implications for our own life of seeking to influence the young.
The relative shortage of vocations in the northern hemisphere is forcing us to make various re-assessments, and sometimes to do things we should have been doing in any case. A number of happenings throughout the Order and in our own Province are pointing the way to the future in a constructive spirit of hope.
There is what could be the beginnings of something in our own Province. Following the province meeting on the next stage of our youth ministry, the council produced a plan to combine our ministry to the young within the aspirations to create an Augustinian centre in Hammersmith, with international cooperation of the friars. Nothing can be built without a certain amount of ‘blood and sweat and sighs and tears’, to quote a Churchillian expression, perhaps a bit over-stated in this case but making a point. We hope and pray that creating a lay community will receive the support that it needs and deserves. It will not be easy.
Other areas of the Order are dealing with their own situations. We read how the four Spanish provinces are pondering the possibility of forming one single province. To bring together under one head four vibrant provinces, each with its own powerful tradition will call for the spirit of ‘one mind and one heart on the way to God’, much prayer, much generosity of spirit—they look to the General Chapter of 2016. In South America, the various elements of the Order in Brazil are planning to unite and form one province of their own during the General Chapter of 2013—a sign of the youth and growth which is a feature of several areas in Latin America.
In Asia-Pacific, Tony Banks OSA tells how he helped convene a gathering of friars who have earned post-graduate qualifications, in order to promote Augustinian scholarship there for the next generation emerging in Asia, Africa and Latin America.