Father Dale's Columns in "The Word"
Prayers of Augustine
Mission and Ministry Villanova University
St. Augustine on Prayer
According to St. Augustine, we need not pray for what we need because God already knows what we need before we even ask. Instead, we ought to pray, he suggests, to increase our desire for God, and so that we might be able to receive what He is preparing to give us.
"The deeper our faith, the stronger our hope, the greater our desire, the larger will be our capacity to receive the gift, which is very great indeed. .... The more fervent the desire, the more worthy will be its fruits. When the Apostle tells us: Pray without ceasing (1 Thes 5:16), he means this: Desire unceasingly that life of happiness which is nothing if not eternal, and ask it of him alone who is able to give it."
Fr. Dale’s Tidbits,
This is the third summer of Ordinary Time (the long green season of the Church) where I have made changes to our service to introduce different liturgy into our services. The past two years the liturgy came from the approved supplemental worship booklet “Enriching Our Worship” as a means to enrich our liturgical prayers, and to listen to diverse ways the Spirit speaks to the Church and its people.
The first summer we used Eucharistic Prayer 3 from this supplemental worship booklet. The second summer (last year) we worshiped using Eucharistic Prayer 2. And this year we swerved from the supplemental back to the Book of Common Prayer using Morning Prayer, in place of the Liturgy of the Word, with Holy Communion from Eucharist Prayer A.
The instruction, or rubrics that permits combining Morning Prayer with Holy Eucharist can be found on pages 74 and 141 in the Book of Common Prayer.
Many have enjoyed the diversity of our liturgy, some not so much. I understand this, change is often difficult, unfamiliar words are cumbersome, as we rip over verbs and nouns in the ways we speak and pray about our interaction and relationship with God.
For many the familiar liturgy allows us to recite the prayers without the need of an open prayer book or worship booklet in hand. It doesn’t mean we do away with the prayer book, the prayer book provides the chance meeting of words and prayers we may not have noticed before, or taken time to prayerfully reflect upon this word or that word, this prayer or that prayer even if others around us progress on with the service. Maybe God has called others to rest in the meaning of a prayer or word. Resting in a word or prayer can be startling and comforting at the same time. It can be these moments of awakening that conform the heart and mind, or even reform how we see and respond to God’s Word and Christ’s examples.
For many Morning Prayer awakens fond memories of the Church, for others it is an introduction to something new and different. But, it is not new at all. Many, if not most, of the same prayers we are using this summer as our Liturgy of the Word are the same prayers from the first Book of Common Prayer produced in 1549, four hundred and sixty-seven years ago. The format of Morning Prayer has changed and the Elizabethan language has changed, but the poetic rhythm of the prayer has been maintained.
So, whether you appreciate and miss the poetic rhythm of Morning Prayer, or find Morning Prayer an excuse to stay home because there is no Eucharist, this summer offers both the harmonizing of rich and traditional prayers of one with the traditional observance of the Great Thanksgiving of the Eucharistic Meal.
This summer, as you find yourself and/or family visiting family or traveling for leisure, don’t forget to take your prayer book with you. There are daily devotions for morning, noon, and evening prayers for your continued walk with God beginning on page 137 of the prayer book. You may even encounter reassurance in one of the many prayers in the prayer book toward the back in the “Prayers and Thanksgiving” section beginning on page 810.
And, please don’t forget. Things are going to be busy at St. Andrew’s this summer, so when you are not on the road visiting family and friends, you can become a ‘Crazy Christian’ right here at St. Andrew’s.
See you in church,