Saint Augustine (354-430) ON PRAYER

[This is the seventeenth of a series of posts featuring a saint, mystic, or writer to include some of their thoughts on prayer as well as a prayer written by or ascribed to him or her.  Today is this saint’s Feast. For more about him, visit the Saint of the Day blog on the right column of this blog.]

What can be more excellent than prayer;
what is more profitable to our life;
what sweeter to our souls;
what more sublime,
in the course of our whole life,
than the practice of prayer!

To call on God is to invite him into your heart: but will you dare to invite so great a Father when you have no dwelling fit for him? Your heart is full of evil desires, and yet you invite him in.

Enter into yourself,
leave behind all noise and confusion.
God speaks to us in the great silence of the heart

Enter then into your heart,
And if you have faith,
You will find Christ there.
There He speaks to you.
I the preacher,
Must raise my voice,
but He instructs you
more effectively in the silence.
I speak in sounding words;
He speaks within.

A Prayer by St. Augustine
Too late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient,
O Beauty so new. Too late have I loved you!
You were within me but I was outside myself, and there I sought you!
In my weakness I ran after the beauty of the things you have made.
You were with me, and I was not with you.
The things you have made kept me from you –
the things which would have no being unless they existed in you!
You have called, you have cried, and you have pierced my deafness.
You have radiated forth,
you have shined out brightly,
and you have dispelled my blindness.
You have sent forth your fragrance, and
I have breathed it in, and I long for you.
I have tasted you, and I hunger and thirst for you.
You have touched me, and I ardently desire your peace.

Confessions, X, 27, 38

[PHOTO by Daderot of a stained-glass window of St. Augustine by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933) , in the Lightner Museum, St. Augustine, FL. Now in the public domain and made available on Wikimedia Commons.]


About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
This entry was posted in Prayer, Quotations. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Saint Augustine (354-430) ON PRAYER

  1. Kristen O Harrison says:

    What a beautiful prayer…very poetic

  2. Anne Comeaux says:

    Thank you Paul, for reminding me of the fact that Augustine is forever relavent. Meaningful in the 5th century; extraordinarily real and necessary in the 21st century. Beautiful.

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