Saint Augustine (354-430) ON PRAYER – II

[This is the ? 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.  He is the most influential Christian thinker until was replaced by Saint Thomas Aquinas.]

Where so ever you are, 
where so ever you may be praying, 
God who hears you is within you, 
hidden within, 
or God who hears you 
is not merely by your side, 
and you have no need 
to go wandering about, 
no need to be reaching out to God 
as though you would touch him with your hands. 

Your desire itself is your prayer, 
and if your desire is continuous, so is your prayer. 
It was not without reason that the Apostle said: 
“Pray without ceasing.”  
We cannot be constantly genuflecting or 
prostrating ourselves or lifting our hands, can we? 
It is not with reference to such actions as these 
that we can speak of “praying without ceasing.”
There is however another prayer that is really ceaseless: 
it is interior and consists in desire…. 
If you do not wish to leave of praying, 
then do not leave off desiring.

Empty that which is to be filled. 
Consider that God wants to fill you up with honey. 
But if you are already full of vinegar, 
where will you put the honey? 
What was in the vessel must be emptied out, 
the vessel itself must be washed out 
and made clean and scoured, 
hard work though it may be, 
so that it may be made for something else, 
whatever it may be.

Pray as though everything depended on God. 
Work as though everything depended on you.

A Prayer Written By Saint Augustine
Lord Jesus, let me know myself and know You.
And desire nothing save only You.
Let me hate myself and love You.
Let me do everything for the sake of You.
Let me humble myself and exalt You.
Let me think nothing except You.
Let me die to myself and live in You.
Let me accept whatever happens as from You.
Let me banish self and follow You,
and ever desire to follow You.
Let me fly from myself and take refuge in You,
that I may deserve to be defended by You.
Let me fear for myself, let me fear You,
and let me be among those who are chosen by You.
Let me distrust myself and put my trust in You.
Let me be willing to obey for the sake of You.
Let me cling to nothing save only to You,
and let me be poor because of You.
Look upon me, that I may love You.
Call me that I may see You,
and forever enjoy You.

Saint Augustine (354-430) on Prayer – II


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.
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