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Repost: Augustine, Prayer, Henry Chadwick.

October 24, 2016

Repost: Augustine, Prayer
‘Prayer’, Augustine..quote by Henry Chadwick
October 23, 2011

“In his twelfth book of the City of God Augustine mounted a full-scale assault on the dogma of the eternal cosmic cycle. It had no room for creativity, uniqueness, the absoluteness of divine grace.

On the other hand many sermons of Augustine warned that prayer is neither informing God nor cajoling him into a change of mind, but is the way to conform our wills to his. For God’s will and purpose are ‘sempiternal’. Not only God but indeed man can will a change without changing his will, without being inconsistent overall with long-term designs. Moreover, Augustine was deeply aware of the dangers of disappointment in petitionary prayer. In such experiences one ought to reflect that we often love the wrong things, and that if our prayers were then answered positively it could be a manifestation of divine wrath. Answers to some egocentric prayers could be punishments… He knew well enough the hazard of excessive anthropomorphism. Of the unchanging presence of God to his world, he wrote confidently: ‘The Creator maintains the created order from the innermost and supreme hinge-point of causation’ ( T iii. 16). Among the things the pagan philosophers didn’t see he numbered the fact that time and the historical process have critical turning-points in the hidden wisdom of God (CD ix.22). (Henry Chadwick, ‘Augustine’, pages 72-73).”

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