Let me know You, O Lord, who knows me: let me know You, as I am known. O Lord, the Power of my soul, enter into it, and fit it for you, that You may have and hold it without spot or wrinkle. This is my hope, therefore do I speak; and in this hope do I rejoice, when I rejoice healthfully. Other things of this life are the less to be sorrowed for, the more they are sorrowed for; and the more to be sorrowed for, the less men sorrow for them. For behold, You love the truth, and he that does it, comes to the light. This would I do in my heart before You in confession: and in my writing, before many witnesses.

Saint Augustine Bishop of Hippo, The Confessions of St. Augustine, Book 10, chapter 1.


You are my God; have mercy on me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all the day. (Psalm 86:2-3)

1. No greater gift could God have given to men than in making His Word, by which He created all things, their Head, and joining them to Him as His members: that the Son of God might become also the Son of man, one God with the Father, one Man with men; so that when we speak to God in prayer for mercy, we do not separate the Son from Him; and when the Body of the Son prays, it separates not its Head from itself: and it is one Saviour of His Body, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who both prays for us, and prays in us, and is prayed to by us.

St. Augustine of Hippo, “Expositions on the Book of Psalms,” in Saint Augustin: Expositions on the Book of Psalms, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. A. Cleveland Coxe, vol. 8, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1888), pages 409–410.

My Notes: Our prayer to the Father for mercy is the one same prayer of Jesus to the Father for the same mercy. Jesus prays with us, we have the same prayer: mercy.

Perhaps the most humbling aspect of the attempt to engage in prayer is the difficulty of controlling one’s thoughts. Yet the mercy of God is revealed in the divine patience toward such failures of attention (Explanation Of The Psalms. Ps. 85.7). In fact, the very difficulty, even impossibility, of controlling thoughts Augustine considered to be evidence of the necessity of grace (On The Gift Of Perseverance. 8.19–20).

Rebecca H. Weaver, “Prayer,” ed. Allan D. Fitzgerald, Augustine through the Ages: An Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999), page 673.

My notes:
The above quote (bold emphasis added by me) concerns the mental focus we need to learn so we can pray better. Two of the additional attributes of disciple that St. Augustine teaches are:

1) Pray at set times. Not at just one time of the day, but multiple times through the day.
2) Use short prayers. Two good examples are:

a) The Jesus prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
b) The Doxology – “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.”

So ask Jesus for the grace necessary to focus better when you pray (pray for help to be better at prayer).

The first step in the interpretation of Scripture, says Augustine, is to be moved by the holy fear of God, by which we seek to do his will. Fear of God reminds us that we are mortal and thereby curtails our foolish pride.

The second step is to attain piety. Piety makes us meek readers of Scripture. Otherwise we tend to defend our vices against Scripture’s condemnation or to place ourselves above Scripture in other ways. To learn from Scripture, we must be docile to God speaking through it.

The third step in the interpretation of Scripture consists in knowledge. The reader of Scripture comes to know that we must love God for his own sake, and we must love our neighbor and ourselves in reference to God. This knowledge challenges us to realize that our loves have not been well ordered; we have loved creatures to the contempt of the Creator. In fear of God and piety, the interpreter of Scripture must begin, therefore, by lamenting his sins.

The fourth step is to gain fortitude. Such fortitude enables us to seek justice and extract ourselves from the love of the world, so as to learn to love eternal things—the Trinity—as we should.

The fifth step is mercy. Loving our neighbor purifies our minds and hearts so that we can love the Trinity.

When we love our enemy, we have arrived at the sixth step, purity of heart. This step involves dying to the world, so that our joy comes from the light of the Trinity and we do not allow the desire to please others and avoid adversity to cause us to turn from the truth that challenges us.

The seventh and final step in the interpretation of Scripture is the peace of wisdom.

Matthew Levering, The Theology of Augustine: An Introductory Guide to His Most Important Works (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), pages 9–10.
(Note: Professor Levering is writing here about St. Augustine’s book “On Christine Doctrine”.)

In our earthly lives God works in us; in eternal life God will rest in us, and we in God—although God is “always working and always at rest.” ( Confessions 13.37.52) Because God never ceases to do good, we exist and share in his life. He is peace, and we are called to share in his peace. But how can we know this peace who is the Triune God? Only, Augustine answers, through the receptivity of passionate prayer (see Matthew 7:7–8).

Matthew Levering, The Theology of Augustine: An Introductory Guide to His Most Important Works (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), page 110.

My notes: Professor Levering is commenting on St. Augustine’s “Confessions”, book 13, chapter 37, which is at the very end of Confessions. So our coming to know and experience peace can only happen with our receiving peace from God, through our passionate prayer life.

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)

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.