Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Let My Prayer Rise Like Incense

"Forsake me not, O Lord!  My God, be not far from me!
 Make haste and come to my help, O Lord, my strong salvation!"

From a commentary on the psalms by Saint Augustine, bishop
“Lord, I have cried to you, hear me” (Psalm 140:1). This is a prayer we can all say. This is not my prayer, but that of the whole body of Christ. Rather, it is said in the name of his body. When Christ was on earth he prayed in his human nature, and prayed to the Father in the name of his body, and when he prayed drops of blood flowed from his whole body… What is this blood streaming from his whole body but the martyrdom of the whole Church? […]
“Let my prayer rise like incense in your sight; let the raising of my hands be an evening sacrifice.” (Psalm 140:2).
This is generally understood of Christ, the head, as every Christian acknowledges. When day was fading into evening, the Lord laid down his life on the cross, to take it up again; he did not lose his life against his will. Here, too, we are symbolized. What part of him hung on the cross if not the part he had received from us? …Christ, nailing our weakness to the cross… cried out with the very voice of our humanity: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Psalm 21:1).
The evening sacrifice is then the passion of the Lord, the cross of the Lord, the oblation of the victim that brings salvation the holocaust acceptable to God. In his resurrection he made this evening sacrifice a morning sacrifice. Prayer offered in holiness from a faithful heart rises like incense from a holy altar. Nothing is more fragrant than the fragrance of the Lord. May all who believe share in this fragrance.