The Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus, He his really and truly present,  that is the reality.

St. Augustine explains the symbolism:

“ ‘The Body of Christ,’ you are told, and you answer ‘Amen.’ Be members then of the Body of Christ so that your Amen may be true! Why is this mystery accomplished with bread?… Consider that the bread is not made of one grain, but of many. During the time of exorcism [before baptism], you were, so to say, in the mill. When you were baptized you were wetted with water. Then the Holy Spirit came into you like the fire that bakes the dough. Be then what you see and receive what you are.”  (St. Augustine, Sermon 272)

I am currently leading a Bible Study class for my Parish, an 11 week course on the Psalms. (This is the 5th Bible Study I am leading.) Note: The class materials are purchased from a company and are excellent, more information here.

I provide for the students additional material, to help them learn. Since we are in Lent I wrote a short, two page commentary on Psalm 51. This commentary is available on the right side of the blog in the section labeled “My Documents”.

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.

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