How to pray without ceasing

The following paragraph comes from Augustines sermon on Ps 37[38], whose title includes these words: for a remembrance of the sabbath; hence a couple of the comments below.All my desire is before you (Ps 37[38], 10) Not before human beings, who cannot see the heart, but before you is all my desire. Let your desire before be him, and the Father who sees in secret will reward you (Mt 6:6). For that very desire of yours is your prayer, and if your desire is continuous, your prayer is continuous. For the Apostle did not speak in vain when he said, Pray without ceasing (1 Th 5:17). Does he say this so that well be kneeling without ceasing, prostrate without ceasing, raising our hands without ceasing? If thats what we call praying, then I think its impossible to be praying without ceasing. Theres another, inward, prayer without ceasing: desire. Whatever youre doing, it you desire that sabbath, you dont cease to pray. If you dont want to cease praying, dont cease desiring. Your continuous desire is your continuous voice. You grow quiet if you stop loving. Who are those who are silent? The ones of whom it is said: Because wickedness has abounded, the charity of the many will grow cold (Mt 24:12) Charity is cold when the heart is silent; charity is hot when heart cries out. If your charity remains, you are always crying out; if youre always crying out, you are always desiring; if you desire, you remember your rest. (Augustine, Enar. in Ps 37, 14; PL 36, 44)

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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