EVENTS OF 2019
The year 2019 has been full of events in our various circumscriptions. Here are some few important pieces of information.
Ordinary General Chapter 2019
The OGC 2019 saw the attendance of Friars from 4 African Circumscriptions and the representative of the House in Annaba (Algeria).
The fruitful deliberations of the Chapter led to the erection of the Delegations of Kenya and Tanzania to the Status of Vicariates.
(From left to right, Frs. R. Karanja, F. Wekesa, J. Davou, J. Abubakar, A. Ugbomah, K. Chabi, E. Daleng, G. Mizingi)
The Delegations of Tanzania and Kenya, celebrated the investiture of Seven new novices, and the Simple vows of eight newly professed brothers. Three are from Tanzania, Four from Kenya and One from South-Sudan. Congratulations.
(Newly professed brothers with the Delegation Superior Fr. Edgard)
Likewise, some brothers from Congo renewed simple vows, one took solemn vows, while one was ordained deacon last October.
(Brothers renewing simple vows in the Community Chapel in Kinshasa)
The Province of Saint Augustine Nigeria witnessed various events this year and most of them are reported in the 2019 Newsletter of the Province. We hereby present in pictures some of these happy events.
UAFA MEETING - KINSHASA 2019
AUGUSTINIAN WEEK IN THE VICARIATE OF CONGO
(SEMAINE AUGUSTINIENNE DANS LE VICARIAT DU CONGO)
The Augustinian week of 2018 had as its theme: "AUGUSTINIAN INTERIORITY AND INITIAL TRAINING OF PRIESTS". These meetings of the Augustinian week had taken place from October 4 to 10 and were animated by Sr. Perpétue Eulalie TIGRY, Sister of Saint Augustin of Benin. What can we learn from these seven days spent around Sister Perpetue Eulalie TIGRY?
The Augustinian interiority and the initial formation of priests pose the problem of the meaning of life of candidates for the priesthood and even of its foundation. Indeed, the question of the borderline between distraction and presence or the differentiation of two phenomena is at the heart of every man's difficulties and uneasiness. In fact, solving the problem of human extroversion requires a thorough reflection on self-knowledge and the process of internalization. This reflection was developed in four axes linked to a fifth, that of formation to the priesthood.
We note with perplexity that man unfortunately does not question himself. He gives little importance to the search for self-knowledge. He is busy submitting the creation. So that what might seem highly human is reduced to inhuman, and what might seem like an action is only agitation. Man surprises us by being more automaton than actor. He's extrovert. It should be noted that according to the Augustinian conception, evil is not in man. There is a provision because of his free will; however, the fact remains that man's perversion comes essentially from the corruption of his flesh by the soul.
The first consequence of this perversion of man is the fall from the universal to the particular. The perverse man is, in fact, incapable of apprehending the true good. This is why it gets bogged down in the private individual who takes on an absolute value in his eyes. The latter, in which man is part, leads him to a life of wandering, a logical sign of the fracture of his being. He then becomes incapable of interiority, and is the victim of all kinds of illusions from the outside world.
But when, through an effort of reflection and consistent behaviour, he works to take "possession" of himself, he embarks on a path that leads him to the true answer of his existential questioning. This journey according to Saint Augustine is the journey of interiorization; and the actual answer is interiority. In the return to God, faith precedes works, just as in all human endeavors intelligence precedes will.
He who therefore wants light must purify his heart, and he who wants to have a pure heart must turn to the light. This is why the starting point of conversion is, with faith, humility, which opens man's eyes to the impurity of his soul and forces him to accuse himself before God. For to confess one's sins is already to make common cause with God, it is, as Saint John writes, "to make the truth and come to the light".
To live the interiority, we must free ourselves from the flesh by turning entirely towards God. But it is a rather demanding process that also invites us to freedom. Freedom is being free from crime, that is, from any serious sin that makes us worthy of condemnation, such as homicide, adultery, fornication, theft, fraud, sacrilege, and other similar things.
He who is pure of such crimes, and it is the duty of every Christian, begins to lift his head towards freedom. But it is still only the dawn of freedom, not its perfection. The latter remains an ideal. For, writes Saint Paul, "I feel in my members another law that fights against the law of my spirit. I do not do what I want, and I do what I do not want" (Gal., V, 17). It is partly freedom, partly servitude. Full and complete freedom is reserved for the sky. But the interiority as it is lived in the depths of our hearts can already lead us there and to reach the Truth of which Augustine speaks.
This truth, which we have been talking about for a long time now and in which only we see so many things, do you think it exceeds our soul in excellence, that it is equal to it, or even inferior?
If it were inferior, it is not from her that we would judge, it is herself. Thus, because bodies are inferior, we judge them, and often we do not simply say that they are such and such, but affirm that they must be.
Augustine seeks the Truth, but above all he loves it and, to say this love, he finds words of poet, images sometimes almost untranslatable in French: "O Veritas, Veritas, quam intime etiam tum medullae mae animi mei suspirabant tibi ! (Confessions 3, 6, 10: CCL 27, 31)... "quas intendebam aures meas, dulcis veritas, in interiorem melodiam tuam ! "Conf. IV, 15. 27: CCL 27,54).
All specific training is based on human training. Formation in the priesthood is even more so, because the priest must be fully human in order to lead people to God. Without adequate human formation, all priestly formation would be deprived of its necessary foundation.
Thus, candidates for the priesthood must have a set of qualities that allow them to have a "balanced, strong and free" personality. Without these preliminary provisions, they will not be able to bear the weight of the responsibilities that will be theirs in the priesthood. This is why we need education in the truth of love; in loyalty, in respect for everyone, in a sense of justice, in fidelity to the word given, in true compassion, in coherence and in the balance of judgment and behaviour.
In conclusion, the Truth is in the heart of man because God dwells in us and this Truth according to Augustine is God. It is in us and the process of interiority makes it easier for us to access this God who is deep within each of us. This is done through the process of AD EXTERIORIBUS, AD INTERIORA, AB SUPERIORA; in other words, from the outside to the inside and from the inside to God.
Augustine as a human person did not escape this imperfection. It is our daily lot. He also lived outside himself; he had no access to his inner self. His conversion made him pass from the outside inside. It is God himself, in him, who throws him into the heart of his own intimacy and makes him born to himself. It is an experience that he expresses in terms that are both simple and never equalled and to which he invites us in his Confessions X, 27, 28.
By Brother Gabriel.