Tag Archives: point of view

Fasting, According to Augustine

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, March 12, 2017

St. Augustine mosaic

Fasting, According to Augustine

Another view on fasting, and a fascinating view, at that. Augustine was a brilliant teacher of rhetoric before his conversion. He brought that well-honed skill at debate and discussion into his life as a Christian, too. Here he describes fasting, referencing Matthew 6 (where Jesus gives directions on fasting).

I was so struck by one statement of his: “It is evident from these precepts that our entire striving is to be directed toward inward joys, to keep ourselves from seeking outward rewards and becoming conformed to this world.” [1]

Directed toward inward joys—while fasting. Wow! Inward joys! What a different point of view about fasting. Augustine tells his readers that they ought to oil their hair. Oil was celebratory, Jesus said to anoint ourselves (or, something comparable, given each different culture) and that is what people who fast regularly ought to consider doing.

A second statement hit home, too. “With the same intent he will be washing his face, that is, cleansing his heart whereby he is to see God, with no veil intervening.” [2] The concept of the veil (seen worn by Moses after he came down from the mountain) is fascinating: not only should the one who fasts do so with a joyful heart, but moreover, there will be nothing—no go-between, no nothing—acting as a separation or a mediator between us and God. (How awesome is that?) We have direct access to God.

And, that’s just a sample of what Augustine said in this pamphlet. There are other riches here, too. What a jam-packed statement. Let’s pray.

Gracious God, You truly are gracious, merciful and awesome. Continue teaching me—us—on how to come to You in prayer and fasting. In Jesus precious name we ask these things, amen.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er.

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 68.

[2] Ibid, 69.

PEACE = Tranquility

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, March 6, 2016

PEACE = Tranquility

Last Tuesday, I attended the senior group at St. Martha’s Catholic Church in Morton Grove to speak to them about PEACE. I started my talk with how divided the country was today. Talking about various kinds of division, I mentioned how much general, free-floating fear and anxiety have also shot way up.

Isn’t the country more and more divided now? I talked about the lack of PEACE and what we can do about it. Several ideas about how to lessen the animosity between people and between groups of people.

I also gave them some background on my Pursuing PEACE Project, and asked if any of the seniors would be willing to give me their personal definition of PEACE. Several of them were eager to give me their points of view.

Today’s definition comes from a quiet woman sitting by herself. After my presentation, I circulated around the room and asked a number of people about PEACE.. I went up to her and asked my question: “What is your personal definition of PEACE?”

Irene Bauer said—in what I assumed was her normal, soft-spoken way of delivery— “My definition of PEACE is tranquility.”

When I asked her a little further understanding of what she wanted of PEACE, she also mentioned that “if everything is tranquil, then you can have peace of mind.”

I thought about that, and tried to echo it back to her. She nodded. (Not saying another word.) I then asked another clarifying question. “So, one good way of you having a peaceful mind is for the outside environment to be quieter and not so full of fighting.” She paused for a moment, considering what I had just said. And, nodded again.

Dear Lord, such a gentle, quiet definition from this quiet lady. I pray for her, and for all people with a similar quiet, tranquil point of view. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

PEACE = Serenity

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 27, 2016


PEACE = Serenity

Continuing the journey today; continuing the listening tour. I am traveling around to various locations over the next weeks in my efforts to pursue PEACE.

My friend and colleague from St. John’s Lutheran Church, Rev. Joe McInnis, invited me to attend the church he pastors, in Wilmette, Illinois. I was so glad I had the opportunity to attend there this afternoon.

After the service, I had the opportunity to ask several people their opinion of PEACE. What is their personal view of the word PEACE?

Dave Rundell knew at once. He wrote it out immediately. PEACE = Serenity.

He has a ready smile and an engaging manner. He gave me a little more information about this definition. Dave referred to the Serenity Prayer as he was finishing up the sign with his personal point of view. “When I am walking in a right way with God, then I feel whole, complete.”

“Serene?” I asked. Dave grinned at me. “Exactly.”

I can relate. I know well the feeling that things in my life may be spinning out of control. It’s good that I can let go of the things that fall into God’s area of operations.

God willing, may there be serenity and peace in both Dave’s life and mine. Dear Lord, may it be so!


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er