Wednesday, October 23, 2002

How and why we pray: this week's Office of Readings

This week's Office of Readings readings are from a letter of St. Augustine to Proba, all about how and why we pray. Yesterday's passage was an exposition on the Lord's Prayer, and today's about how all rightly prayed prayers are in fact included in the petitions of the Our Father. Today's selection concludes:

We must search out the life of happiness, we must ask for it from the Lord our God. Many have discussed at great length the meaning of happiness, but surely we do not need to go to them and their long drawn out discussions. Holy Scripture says concisely and with truth: Happy is the people whose God is the Lord. We are meant to belong to that people, and to be able to see God and live with him for ever, and so the object of this command is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience and a sincere faith.

In these three qualities, "a good conscience" stands for "hope." Faith, hope, and love bring safely to God the person who prays, that is, the person who believes, who hopes, who desires, and who ponders what he is asking of the Lord in the Lord's Prayer.

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