Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Augustine on Praying the Psalms plus Q&A

Today in the Office of Readings St. Augustine describes the top reason for praying the Liturgy of the Hours. That is, he describes that barely comprehend-able union we have with Jesus when we pray His very own prayer to the Father, and pray it in union with his body, the Church. Here are a few bits of it:

 ...when we speak with God in prayer we do not separate the Son from him, and when the body of the Son prays it does not separate its head from itself: 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.

Amazing, isn't it? Sort of makes you want to fall on your knees and say, "Lord, depart from me, for I am  sinful man."  

To be clear, I don't think Augustine was referring only to praying the psalms, let alone only the Divine Office. But given the meaning of liturgical prayer, we can see that what Augustine says applies to holy Mass and to the Divine Office in an even more intense way than they do to private prayer.

Welcome, new blog follower W.E. Butcher.

It's weekly Q&A time. Nearly any question or confusion about the Liturgy of the Hours can be answered here either by me or by another alert reader of this blog. For example, yesterday, I had my own question about the parenthetical "alleluias" in the Office of St. Joseph addressed by several people in this post. So realize that when you submit a question here, it will be reviewed not only by me, but by any number of experienced and knowledgeable people...psalmsayers...breviaristas....Divine Office managers...whatever.

PS Look for a book giveaway soon!