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Thoughts From A Twenty Year-Old Memento

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I was going through some of my old things in Antipolo yesterday and I found this memento from an Augustinian youth gathering held in Cartoceto back in the early 90s. I don’t know how to call it: it is something one hangs on the neck, and at its end, one finds the crest of the Order. Sometime in the late 90’s or early 2000’s, Fray Ricky Sagum, OSA made a copy of it for a local Augustinian youth gathering. But the quality was not the same.

After about twenty-years, this “necklace” still survives. It is not as conspicuous as a crucifix, and it goes nicely with the t-shirt and cargo shorts I normally wear. Besides, it is a good conversation piece.

The Order’s logo is a burning heart punctured by a dart and resting on a book. The image is based on the words of Augustine in the Confessions: “Vulnerasti cor meum verbo tuo et amavi te”. “You wounded my heart with your Word and I loved You.” Augustine was not referring to Rom. 13:13-14, the passage that he read at the moment when he decided to be baptized. He was thinking of the one Word of God that echoes through the pages of Scriptures. Like Cupid, the Word of God struck him with a dart (it is not accidental that torah comes from a root that also means shoot an arrow) and he says, “I fell in love with You.” The heart is of course that “restless heart” that will never find rest until it rests in God.

At the back of the crest is an Italian phrase that translates “anima una et cor unum in Deum” (un cuor solo e un anima sola proteso verso Dio), “one mind and one heart towards God”. “In Deum” evokes Augustine’s image of the Church as it continues its journey towards its true homeland, God Himself. The phrase “one mind and one heart” has been secularized in Filipino; it has become quite a catchphrase. In its secularized meaning, the phrase refers to the unity to which everyone is invited so as to support a particular barangay project, or a national movement. In this meaning, the phrase evokes many minds becoming one mind, and many hearts melding into one heart — the one mind and one heart of a moral person, whether it be a family, a municipality, or a nation. In Augustine’s mind, however, the “one mind and one heart” is that of the Total Christ — the Head and Body — together. Thus, many hearts and many minds become one mind and one heart in Christ with all the Pauline nuances of that phrase. So when we use “one mind and one heart on the way to God” as an expression of the Augustinian charism, we are actually saying that our lifestyle should reflect that of the pilgrim Church (“on the way to God”) — the Body of Christ whose members are one heart and mind with its Head.

This understanding of the phrase rules out any kind of individualism — it does lay a lot of stress on each individual member’s relationship with Christ as the Interior Master. “One heart and one mind” therefore is not to be understood as equivalent to making friends or making a community of friends. Augustine himself stresses that true friendship is not true unless it is the Holy Spirit that binds friends together. Or from another perspective, to love someone is not enough; one must love in God. I think what Augustine says on this matter in Book I of the De doctrina christiana need not be belaboured here. But it is a thought that should make one review the kind of friendship one tries to cultivate with others.

These thoughts evoked by a twenty-year old memento illustrate a point made earlier: that it is a good conversation piece. It can be a launch pad for a catechesis on Christian life in general and Augustinian life in particular. And it is good-looking too.

Originally posted 2012-03-27 21:16:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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