bls reminds us again of the truly important things that give us perspective. In harmony with that, Br. Stephen of Sub Tuum has made available the Cistercian Office of the Dead from Spring Bank’s new psalter.
I’ve just finished Michael Casey’s Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina which I highly recommend. While discussing it with the other adult ed teacher at church on Sunday we found ourselves talking about the great overarching hermeneutical principles, our preeminent guides to how we find meaning in the Scriptures. I returned, as always, to what I consider to be Augustine’s best phrasing of what all the Fathers and the Church rightly teach:
…Whatever appears in the divine Word that does not literally pertain to virtuous behavior or to the truth of faith you must take to be figurative. Virtuous behavior pertains to the love of God and of one’s neighbor; the truth of faith pertains to a knowledge of God and of one’s neighbor. For the hope of everyone lies in his own conscience in so far as he knows himself to be becoming more proficient in the love of God and of his neighbor. . . . Scripture teaches nothing but charity, nor condemns anything except cupidity, and in this way shapes the minds of men. (Augustine, On Christian Teaching, 3.10)
This indeed is Christian proficiency—growth in love and virtue. And, mentioning again one of the gems from Thornton’s book of the same name, he reminds us that there is an objective standard by which we can learn if our prayer life/habits are effective: our prayer is working if we find that we are sinning less—and therefore loving more.