Tuesday, April 3, 2012

St. Augustine: Praying the Psalms Rocks!

Whenever the Office of Readings gives us a passage from St. Augustine's Commentary on the Psalms, it's really a good idea to sit up and take notice. Because this commentary, besides illuminating the truths of our faith as do all the other readings, will usually give us valuable insights into, and additional motivation for, praying the Liturgy of the Hours.
This past Wednesday, Augustine again hit it right out of the ball park as he explained succinctly what the Church has been telling us about Christ in the psalms. He is there as the God to whom we pray, the Savior praying for us, and our divine Head praying with us. Here's a few salient excerpts, but it's worth looking up in your breviary to read the entire thing:
:... it is the one Savior of his body, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who prays for us and in us and is himself the object of our prayers...He prays for us as our priest, he prays in us as our head, he is the object of our prayers as our God....Let us then recognize both our voice in his, and his voice in ours.
We pray to him as God, he prays for us as a servant. In the first case he is the Creator, in the second a creature. Himself unchanged, he took to himself our created nature in order to change it, and made us one man with himself, head and body. We pray then to him, through him, in him, and we speak along with him and he along with us.
Isn't that mind-bogglingly marvellous, that we are privileged to pray to/with/in Christ in this way? That is why liturgical prayer (Mass and Divine Office) leaves any other prayer in the dust. Private devotions are great, but they are only a faint echo of liturgy. They must not be allowed to crowd out the greatest prayer of all.