Friday, April 22, 2005

On Prayer - the door swings both ways

St. Augustine of Hippo
Expositions on the Psalms

2. "I will pour out before Him my prayer" (ver. 2). What is, "before Him"? In His sight. What is, in His sight? Where He seeth. But where doth He not see? For so do we say, 'where He seeth,' as though somewhere He seeth not. But in this assemblage of bodily substances men too see, animals too see: He seeth where man seeth not.

For thy thoughts no man seeth, but God seeth. There then pour out thy prayer, where He alone seeth, who rewardeth. For the Lord Jesus Christ bade thee pray in secret: but if thou knowest what "thy closet" is, and cleansest it, there thou prayest to God. "But thou," saith He, "when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and shut the door, and pray to thy Father in secret, and He who seeth in secret shall reward thee." If men are to reward thee, pour out thy prayer before men: if God is to reward thee, pour out thy prayer before Him; and close the door, lest the tempter enter. Therefore the Apostle, because it is in our power to shut the door, the door of our hearts, not of our walls, for in it is our "closet,"--because it is in our power to shut this door, saith, "neither give place to the devil." But what is to "shut the door"? This door hath as it were two leaves, desire and fear. Either thou desireth something earthly, and he enters by this; or thou fearest something earthly, and he enters by that. Close then the door of fear and desire against the devil, open it to Christ. How dost thou open these folding doors to Christ? By desiring the kingdom of heaven, by fearing the fire of hell. By desire of this world the devil entereth, by desire of eternal life Christ entereth; by fear of temporal punishment the devil entereth, by fear of everlasting fire Christ entereth . .
. .

No comments:

Post a Comment