On August 28, 2013, Pope Francis spoke with Augustinian priests on the occasion of the opening of their General Chapter meeting in Rome. Here is the end of his homily which speaks eloquently of the restlessness that every follower of Christ should experience. This is the ‘restlessness of love’ that drives our Holy Father.
” Restless woman, this woman (St. Monica), who, in the end, says those beautiful words: cumulatius hoc mihi Deus praestitit! [my God has satisfied me sufficiently]. That for which she cried for, God gave it to him abundantly! And Augustine is heir to Monica, from her he receives the seed of restlessness. Here, then, the restlessness of love: always seeking, without stopping, the good of the other, of a loved one, of the one I’m responsible for, with that intensity that leads to tears. I am reminded of Jesus who weeps before the tomb of his friend, Lazarus. Peter, who, after denying Jesus, meets the rich gaze of mercy and of love and weeps bitterly. The father who awaits on the terrace for his son and when he is still far, runs to meet him; I am reminded of the Virgin Mary who with love follows Her Son Jesus to the Cross.
“How are we with the restlessness of love? Do we believe in the love of God and towards others? Or are we nominalists on this? Not in an abstract way, not only in words, but the real brother that we meet, the brother who is next to us! Do we let ourselves be restless for their needs or do we remain closed in ourselves, in our community that many times for us is a “comunita-comodita” [community-comfort]? There are times where you can live in an apartment without knowing who lives next door; or one can be in a community, without truly knowing his own brother: with pain I think of those who are consecrated that are not fertile, that are “zitelloni” [elderly bachelors]. The restlessness of love urges us always to go meet the other, without waiting for the other to show his need. The restlessness of love gives us the gift of pastoral fruitfulness, and we should ask ourselves, every one of us: how is my spiritual fruitfulness going, my pastoral fruitfulness?
“Let us ask the Lord for you, dear Augustinians, who begin the General Chapter, and for all of us, that he may preserve in our heart the spiritual restlessness to search for Him always, the restlessness to announce with courage, the restlessness of love towards every brother and sister. So be it.”