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Community: communion

St Augustine : Some Augustinians from Philippines, Indonesia, India, Korea and Australia
Some Augustinians from
Philippines, Indonesia, India,
Korea and Australia

The communion of life desired by Augustinians while on earth is a foretaste of the full union in God that will only be experienced in heaven, and is a path that leads to this eternal goal.

By the intention of Augustine, the communion of life resembles in its spirit that of the apostolic community described in the Bible in the Acts of the Apostles 2:42-48.

This Scriptural passage is virtually paraphrased in Chapter 1 of the Rule of Augustine, where it says, "First of all, since for this reason you have come together in community, live in the house in harmony and have one mind and one heart intent on God."

 
"And do not possess anything as your own, but have all things in common, and let things be distributed to you… according as each has need."
 
Writing in his Life of the Brethren, the Dominican scholar Jordan of Saxony (1190 - 1237, and not to be confused with an Augustinian of the same name) reflected on the thought and intention of Augustine, "We see that he based all his religion on the community, or, better still, on communion."
 
This Augustinian Christian communion is fourfold:
 
a) of living together under one roof,
b) of spiritual union,
c) of common possession of earthly goods, and
d) of proportional distribution of goods.
 
Among these four, priority must be given to spiritual communion, or otherwise living together would avail nothing. Augustine stated, "Many bodies, but not many spirits; many bodies, but not many hearts." (Ennar. In Ps 132,6), and "Our souls should not be many souls, but one soul, the one soul of Christ." (Letter 243, 4)
 
The spiritual identity of the Order had two foundations.
 
The first was the person of Saint Augustine from whom it received its concept of religious life, in particular the importance of the interior search for God and community life.
 
The second was the mendicant movement by which the Order of Saint Augustine became an apostolic fraternity.
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