Free & Fit Third Advent Reflection - Augustinian Prayer

Free & Fit Third Advent Reflection - Augustinian Prayer

Final Project: Advent Sermon Reflections

As part of my research and reflection assignment project I am going to write three sermons, short homilies, based upon three of my personal reflections from class this past Fall. They will include the Holy Spirit prayer we pray at the start of class from Augustine, the intentionality and focus of Husserl through creating mental brackets and direct intentionality and then, finally, Hegel and his perspective on how all Art has meaning and that its original creator has a design and purpose for its existence.

Final Project Sermon One – Augustinian Prayer

Selected Prayer

“Breathe in me O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. ... Draw my heart O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy (Augustine).”

Selected Lectionary Readings Third Sunday of Advent

Psalm 146:5-10

146:5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God, 146:6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;

146:7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; 146:8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.

Matthew11:2-6

11:2 When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples. 11:3 and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?"11:4 Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see:11:5 the blind receives their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.11:6 And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me."

Refection by Tim Cheux

“Breathe in me O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy”. As we approach the Jesus candle in Advent we rejoice in our Lord and Savior’s arrival into our lives and what Joy that brings. In the passage from Matthew for today’s readings it reminds us of the arrival of Jesus to the people of his time and the questions they asked. John the Baptist, not aware of who Jesus was, seeks to find out his identity. In reference to asking if Jesus is the Messiah John asks, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" Let us pause at that thought, and as Augustine encourages us pray, Breath in me O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.” Imagine the process of John sending a disciple to find out if Jesus is the Messiah. You hear stories about the miracles, the different healings and teachings of Jesus who is by many perceived to be the Messiah, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords and the Son of God. God made man.

How would you respond as Johns messenger when Jesus tells you to inform John of what you see? Jesus instructs the messenger to tell John “the blind receives their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.” When we pause at this moment how does the Holy Spirit lead you, how would you convey to John who Jesus is. This is a question which we all struggle with today. How often do we seek to share the answer to this question and how often are we open with other people sharing who Jesus is? When praying for Holiness I am reminded of the Leviticus Holiness code from 17 to 25 and all the laws which teach us how we should love, but here Jesus is not teaching us religion. He is teaching us experience. An encounter. Jesus wants us to share our personal relationship with him into out own personal relationships with our friends and family. To be Holy, is to speak about the Holy One. How will you share your Joy of Jesus this Advent?

“Draw my heart O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy”. Jesus informs the messenger of the works that he is doing, not to prove his worth by the works themselves, but so that the messenger can attest by his own eyes that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is challenging the messenger if he believes in what he sees. In our Psalm for today it reads that the Lord is someone who will executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. These characteristics, miracles and actions all point to our Gospel from reading today and the eye-witness account of Johns messenger. However, we do not know what the messenger felt when these things happened, how he prayed and what he said in response to John. Augustine helps us to imagine what he might pray; to pray for a love that is Holy and pleasing to God. To be Holy is to love what is Holy. How will you share your Joy of Jesus this Advent?

Strengthen me O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Jesus is challenging Johns messenger hear to defend what is Holy. Jesus says, “blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me." Imagine be challenging by Jesus to not take offence. He challenges all your ideals, all of what you know, and all that life has taught you and that you should simply believe in him. Just like in Romans 10:9-10 it says, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” It really can be that simple, but are we truly living out our faith if we do not declare our struggles, but simply saying what we believe is that enough? Jesus does not assure us that we will not be without trouble. No! He in fact guarantees that we will experience troubles, but that she should take heart for he has overcome the world. Yet here in today’s passage, Jesus wants to make it simple for us, not to be overly theologically complex, difficult or overly intellectually challenging. Instead he just asks that we believe that we have faith and follow him. Today how can you be Holy and declaring Jesus as your Holy. How will you share your Joy of Jesus this Advent?

Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. We close with Augustine’s almost Benediction like end to his prayer. Filling us up with hope so that we may share the joy of Jesus Christ with a faith filled presence of the Holy Spirit wherever we go. Augustine’s seeks to Guard us, and Ephesians 6 helps us to remember how to guard ourselves. Ephesians 6:10-11 reads A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. So, let’s not forget, lets no grow weary and let’s keep on running the race marked us before us to follow Jesus Christ. This Advent let’s all make sure that we share the love and joy of Jesus Christ. How will you share your Joy of Jesus this Advent?

In Jesus name. Amen

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