The Rule of St. Augustine has a very short chapter on prayer, just four parts, this is part one:

Be assiduous in prayer (Colossians 4:2), at the hours and times appointed.

What does it mean to be assiduous in prayer?
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines assiduous as “marked by careful unremitting attention or persistent application”.

Do you have a specific time of the day to pray? (Upon waking, after dinner, before sleep?)
Are are you persistent in keeping that time?
Do you give Jesus (or God the Father or The Holy Spirit) your unremitting attention while you pray?

While talking to God, or praying throughout the day is a great practice, having a specific time to grow in relationship with or just relax in the presence of the Holy Trinity is something that everyone should do. No matter when you pray or how long you pray for, the choice is yours but make the decision to have a specific time to pray. Then be assiduous about your prayer.

“He prays for us, as our Priest; He prays in us as our Head; he is prayed to by us, as our God.”

(St. Augustine, from a Sermon on Psalm 86, “Expositions on the Book of Psalms”)

 

My notes:
This is a brilliant summary from St. Augustine of how Jesus prays.
As our Priest: “A priest is an authorized mediator who offers sacrifice to God on behalf of others, Christ is the perfect priest, for he is perfectly united to God in His divinity and fully united to us in His humanity,” (Scott Hahn, ed., Catholic Bible Dictionary (New York; London; Toronto; Sydney; Auckland: Doubleday, 2009), page 725.) See the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1544 for more details.

As our Head: This is from St. Paul’s theology of the relationship between Jesus and His church, Jesus is the head and we are the body. For more details see 1st Corinthians chapter 12.

As our God: Jesus prays by receiving our prayers. The knowledge of and understanding of Jesus as the second person of the Holy Trinity defines as as Christians. It is the essence of who and what we are.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

You are praising God when you do your days work. You are praising him when you eat and drink. You are praising Him when you rest on your bed. You are praising him when you are asleep. So when are you not praising Him? (Augustine Day by Day, Catholic Book Publishing Co. 1986, page 27)

My notes: While St. Augustine is giving a commentary on Psalm 147, he diverts into St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. St. Augustine makes the point that both the Psalm and St. Paul teach that everything we do should be a praise of God (praising God is what we hope to be doing for all eternity…). I could add a few modern examples: pray when driving your car, when heating food in the microwave oven, when walking down a hallway at work or a walking in a parking lot, or when cutting the grass, shoveling snow or washing dishes. There are lots of opportunities during the course of a typical day to pray and praise God.

For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.  John 5:21.

WeHaveBecomeChrist

 

My notes:  The quote above is from St. Augustine’s Lectures on the Gospel of John (21,8), on the verse above.  The question Augustine asks if profound: Do you understand what God’s grace really is? The gift of the Holy Spirit, eternal life!

“Yet Teresa had her faults, for saints are not born out of the blue. They are weighed down with the same weak human nature we all have, and they experience the same temptations. The difference is that they say a complete Yes to the healing grace God offers to everyone, whereas most of us say “maybe”, or “somewhat”, or “wait a while … not yet”. (page 15)”

Fr. Thomas Dubay, Fire Within: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and the Gospel—On Prayer (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989),

My notes:
In this chapter Fr. Dubay explains background story of the two main people in the book: St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. The one important point I got from this chapter is that having a wonderful/fantastic/outstanding prayer life is part of the will of God. It is not just the will Jesus that we go out and feed the poor, cloth the naked (see Matthew 25 “The Judgment of the Nations”). Our God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) wants to be in a deep personal relationship with us, a relationship centered on prayer. We need to say yes to having a better prayer life, and then do what is necessary to improve our prayer life.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18).

“This text, too, is an excellent summation of much of this present work, namely, the gradual but inevitable transformation of a generous person that accompanies parallel growth in depth of communion with the indwelling Trinity. They who think that fullness of contemplation is meant to be confined to an elite few do not understand the contents of Sacred Scripture. Nor do they understand the great patristic commentators (e.g., St. Gregory of Nyssa in the fourth century) who join with John and Teresa in writing of this transformation.”

Thomas Dubay, Fire Within: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and the Gospel—On Prayer (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989), page 11.

My comments: Fr. Dubay is making the point the degrees of glory that St. Paul describes are a growth in depth of prayer, and growth in living the message of the Gospel of Jesus, and that message is Love.

The Son, radiant Image of the Father’s glory, proclaimed that He had come to cast a fire upon the earth and that He longed for it to burst into blaze… (see Luke 12:49)

In our day the divine fire has not been extinguished. The consuming conflagration has not been contained. The proven incapacity of committees and clubs, speeches and surveys, electronics and entertainment profoundly and permanently to change vast numbers of people for the better has to be conceded. As the experience of the centuries attests, true transformations in the world and in the Church continue to come about only through the interventions of men and women on fire—that is, through saints...

Indeed, at this very moment, deep and lasting changes in the Church are being brought about by a faithful few who are burning interiorly as a consequence of the deep prayer given by the Holy Spirit, who renews the face of the earth in ways other than our own.

Thomas Dubay, Fire Within: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and the Gospel—On Prayer (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989), Page 1.

 

My Notes:  I love Fr. Dubay, I have read three books by him and this is my fourth.  I will be making a series of posts from this book.  I need to balance posting too much material from a copyrighted book with the very real need to light people on fire with a deep prayer life from the grace of the Holy Spirit. While Fr. Dubay passed into eternal life a few years ago, I think he would be pleased with my plans. I plan to do this by selecting selecting the best-of-the-best quotes.  I have just started reading this book, so I do not know how much I will be commenting on it, but I can guess that Fr. Dubay needs very little help from me to teach about prayer.

My reviews of other books from Fr. Thomas Dubay:

Prayer Primer: Igniting a Fire Within

Deep Conversion / Deep Prayer

Seeking Spiritual Direction How to grow the Divine Life Within

 

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