Lent Quotes: St. Augustine on Persevering in Prayer

March 12, 2012

Will at Prydain posted this last week. St. Augustine is writing on Psalm 66, especially vs. 19 – 20

But truly God has listened;
        he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
    Blessed be God,
        because he has not rejected my prayer
        or removed his steadfast love from me!
(Psalm 66:19-20 ESV)

May these words encourage us to persevere in prayer,

DELAYS, NOT DENIALS.

So long as we are here, let us ask this of God, that He will not “remove from us our prayer, and His own mercy;” that is, that we may perseveringly pray, and He may perseveringly pity. For many grow languid in praying; and in the freshness of their conversion they pray fervently, afterwards languidly, afterwards coldly, afterwards negligently; they become, as it were, careless. The enemy is awake; you are sleeping. Our Lord Himself, in the Gospel, gave us the precept, “that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;” and He gives us an illustration from the unjust judge. Therefore let us not faint in prayer. Although He delays that which He is going to grant, He does not take it from us; since we may be confident of His promise, let us not faint in praying; and even this not fainting comes of His own bounty. Therefore he said, “Blessed be my God, who has not removed my prayer, and His mercy from me.” When you see that your prayer is not removed from you, be of good heart; for His mercy is not removed from you.

–St. Augustine on Psalm lxv. (our Ps. lxvi.)


Lent – cleaning house / cleaning our souls

March 12, 2012

I found the following reflection in the process of following various links for Lent devotionals at diverse blogs last week.  I apologize that I can’t remember whom to give a hat tip to for directing me to this excellent devotional by an Orthodox blogger comparing her messy house (and the ways she typically tries to avoid it or tame the mess)  to her messy soul… it’s a powerful analogy!

It’s embarrassingly remarkable really, how, despite talking about the mess, obsessing over the mess, buying stuff to tame the mess, at the end of the day my house remains no cleaner than before. Unless I bite the bullet, roll up my sleeves and surrender to the terribly untitillating  effort required to transform that which is hectic into an oasis of calmness and simplicity, peace will elude me.  […]

Yes, it’s my soul I’m alluding to here, my disheveled soul, which I’m too distracted on my own to recognize is in need of some serious TLC so the Church, out of Love, points its cluttered state out to me.  And she knows I’m too weak to care for it all by my lonesome, so here I am, hand-in-hand with an entire community of Orthodox Christians from all around the world at the starting line of a Church assigned season of quiet prayer, reflection and preparation.   We simplify our diets, which aids in controlling our impulsivities. Mindless gorging, speaking, reacting or spending is terribly addictive and counterproductive, not to mention spiritually deafening. We attend Church services, beautiful services, lengthy and frequent services so imperative for keeping us focused on the aim at hand, and accessing the Christ hungry depths of our spirits too often smothered by earthly diversions.

[…]  Lent is not a pass/fail endeavor – it’s not a test, but rather a mystical means of healing and enlightenment I’d be very, very foolish not to take advantage of. The work of fasting won’t make God love me more – I’m very thankful to already, no matter what I do or don’t do, be loved by Him unconditionally. On my prayerful days, my forgetful days, my relapse days, my exhausted days, He is forgiving and full of grace. It will however affect the quality and fruitfulness of my day-to-day life here on earth. Waking up to a soul that’s been tended to feels tranquil and meaningful. I’m more generous, hospitable, courageous, patient, when I’m a good and faithful steward of my spiritual blessings.

Come, my fellow laborers, let us pace ourselves together, and with joy, throughout these forty days of work. Let us prune, water and feed our souls that Love may bloom , remaining confident, always secure in the promise that on the other side of our Lenten efforts lies the victorious Resurrection of all Life, all Purpose and  all Hope!

The full reflection is here. 

A good reminder and exhortation!  I highly recommend reading the full blog entry as it’s really a powerful reflection on decreasing the “clutter” in our spiritual lives, and the wonderful opportunity Lent gives us to be refreshed and renewed in the Lord’s presence.



From Mark 5

March 12, 2012

Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?'” And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” (Mark 5:25-34)
      Thank you, Holy Spirit, for the testimony this woman gave to Jesus and those around him. We ask you to raise up many to give their testimony about what Jesus has done for them in their lives. Empower the testimonies that are given at the Diocesan Convention.

And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” 20And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. (Mark 5:18-19)
      Jesus, you told the Gadarenes demoniac to tell his family and friends the great things God has done for him. Help each of us hear this as a personal call to share with our family and friends what you have done in our lives.

But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat. (Mark 5: 43) To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; (Ecclesiastes 3:1,7b)
      Father, please help each of us know when it is time to share with others what you have done for us and when it is time to be silent. There is a time and a place for each. Help us discern the time and place for giving our witness.

      Holy Trinity, one God, bless and anoint the witness of each person who gives their testimony at the Diocesan Convention. Let their testimonies pierce our hearts as Peter’s did on the day of Pentecost: Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37)

Monday: 80 * 77, [79]; Gen. 44:18-34: 1 Cor. 7:25-31: Mark 5:21-43
Tuesday: 78:1-39 * 78:40-72; Gen. 45:1-15: 1 Cor. 7:32-40: Mark 6:1-13

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Start now reading and reflecting on the lessons for Sunday so that you can receive all that God has for you (John 6:4-15; Ephesians 2:4-10; 2 Chronicles 36:14-23; Psalm 122).

***** Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2012
From: Nigel Mumford
Subject: Daily Quote…
      In all things and in all situations in life there is an “Advocate for that”. There might even be an App for that too… But please don’t forget The Advocate.

Albany Intercessor


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