Through the apostolate (the ministry undertaken for the Church), Augustinians join the universal mission of the Church which proclaims the Gospel to all people.
Apostolate, therefore, is seen as an integral part of Augustinian religious life.
Augustine emphasised that the apostolic work must be a free service in love, and not undertaken by the force of necessity.
It was a call for assistance from one's mother, the Church.
He wrote, "It is by the grace of God that the friars love together. It is not the result of their own doing or their own merits; rather, it is a gift of God." (Exposition of Psalm 132, 10: PL 41, 647)
This is what the Rule of Augustine means in stating that all obligations should be observed in a sort of charity "as lovers of spiritual beauty… not as slaves living under the yoke of law but as persons living in freedom under grace." (Rule, Chapter 8)
For Augustine the duties of the external apostolate and of interior prayer are to be integrated and mutually reinforcing. He wrote that both should carefully be made to happen so harmoniously "that neither the joyous taste of truth and contemplation is lost, nor the demands of love and the apostolate made burdensome." (City of God, 19, 19: PL 41, 647)
Through ministry Augustinian communities find new strength and incentive, for apostolic works are an expression of and an increase in the love of the Christ who is not only encountered in the faces met in ministry but also in the friar's own heart during his times of prayer.
For an Augustinian, therefore, the apostolate (the ministry undertaken for the Church) is an exterior activity springing from a deep interior life.
Neither apostolic activity nor prayer make the greatest sense nor offer the greatest benefit if both are not vigorously practised. ID0942