Pope Francis asked members of the Order of Saint Augustine gathered in Rome for the opening Mass of their meeting to be restless in continuing to seek the well-being of other people.
“Restlessness is also love, always seeking the good of others, of loved ones, with that intensity that also leads to tears,” Pope Francis said at the Basilica of Saint Augustine.
“The restlessness of love always encourages us to reach out to the other, without waiting for the other to express his needs,” he added Aug. 28.
Pope Francis presided over the Eucharistic celebration to launch the “general chapter” of the Augustinian order, which takes place every six years, and after several weeks of meetings results in choosing their new leader and setting out their aims until the next chapter.
The religious order gathered from five continents at the basilica alongside a number of other religious groups and lay men and women. Pope Francis greeted people who were waiting to see him along the street before entering the church.
Aug. 28 was the feast of Saint Augustine, who lived in modern day Algeria during the Roman Empire and converted to Christianity in his early thirties. The Order of Saint Augustine was founded in 1244 aimed at living and promoting the spirit of community as it was lived during the fourth the fifth centuries.
During his homily on Wednesday, the Pope spoke about the saint's restlessness, which ultimately led him to an encounter with God.
“Even in the discovery of God and in the encounter with Him, Augustine doesn’t stop, doesn’t rest, doesn’t become closed in on himself like those who have already arrived, but continues along the way,” he told the congregation.
“The restlessness of the quest for the truth, of the quest for God, becomes the restlessness of always coming to know Him better, and of going out of oneself in order to make Him known to others and this is the restlessness of love,” he explained.
The pontiff affirmed “the restless heart of Augustine has something to teach us,” which is “the restlessness of the spiritual quest, the restlessness of the encounter with God, the restlessness of love.”
“I would say to those who feel indifferent to God, towards the faith, to those who are far from God, or are abandoned, and even to us, with our distances and our abandonment towards God, little, perhaps, but there are so many in daily life: look into the depths of your heart,” he said.
“Look deep within yourself and ask yourself, do you have a heart that desires something great, or a heart that is put to sleep by material things?” the Pope remarked.
Pope Francis told the Augustinians that the saint’s restlessness became pastoral.
“Augustine is left with the restlessness from God, he never tires of announcing it, of evangelizing with courage, without fear,” he stressed.
He underscored that the saint did this “seeking to be the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, who knows his sheep, indeed, as I love to repeat, who smells like his flock, and goes out to seek those who are lost.”
The pontiff noted that St. Augustine lived what Saint Paul told Timothy, and encouraged the congregation to “announce the word, be urgent in season and out of season, announce the Gospel with the magnanimous, large heart of a Pastor that is restless for his flock.”
“Always go out towards God, go out towards the flock,” Pope Francis said. “You should always be on the journey, always restless, and this is the peace of restlessness.”