Our life in community forms our most immediate apostolate since we are called there to assist one another in charity and unity, by our prayers and by all our other activities (Const. 21.1).
Perhaps it is easier to see the person at a distance as “neighbor” than the confrere at one’s side. But the truth is that the one who is part of daily life in the same house, eating at the same table, is the most immediate presence of Christ. The call of Christ in the person at one’s side cannot be ignored in the name of someone at a distance. No, it is the same Christ whose cry begins very close and whose echo is heard from far away. Can husband neglect his wife, parents be disinterested in their children, friend abandon friend, all under the pretext of service to the wife, the child, the friend of someone else? The connections already established, at least by charity if not by justice, must get preferential attention, but without forgetting others. Religious profession, and especially in an Augustinian community, creates an incontestable bond with the confrere, such that negligence gives a bad taste with regard to pastoral involvement outside. How is it possible to offend Christ at hand in order to honor him further away? No one can trample Christ underfoot in order to reach him.
The clan is not a market where we come to look, only to scatter afterwards. (Bakongo)
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