Augustine joins the Passion of Jesus starting in the Garden of the Olives and finishing on the Golgotha. Augustine comments on Psalm 141 together with the Passion narratives of Mark and Luke.
When Jesus was on earth, He prayed in His human nature and prayed to the Father in Heaven in the name of his body, the Church. When he prayed, drops of blood flowed from his whole body. Did this blood represent the martyrdom of the whole Church?
Augustine says: “Did you imagine the crying was over when he said ‘I have cried to you’? You have cried out but not as yet feel free frome care. If anguish is at an end, the Church, the Body of Christ, must suffer anguish until the end of time.
“It must not only say: I have cried to you, hear me, it must say as well: listen to the sound of my prayer when I call upon you. Let my prayer rise like incense in your sight, let the raising of my hands be an evening sacrifice.”
Augustine calls the evening Mass the sacrifice of the cross; the morning one the resurrection. Generally, this is understood as meaning that, when the day was finishing, the Lord laid down His life on the cross, to then have it again. How could God the Father ever abandon his only Son, one God with him? As Paul says: “Our old nature was nailed to the cross with him.” He cried with the very voice of humanity: “My God, why have you forsaken me?”
The evening sacrifice is the passion of the Lord, the offering of the victim that brings salvation, the holocaust accepted to God. In His resurrection, He made this evening sacrifice a morning one.
Prayer from a faithful heart rises like incense from a holy altar.
In the words of St Paul, our old nature was nailed to the Cross with Him to destroy our sinful body so we may be slaves no more to sin.
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