Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Edith Stein and the Trinitarian character of prayer

Rita at tigerish waters has posted the text of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity's prayer "O my God, Trinity who I adore .." to mark Sunday's feast of the Holy Trinity.

St Edith Stein has an essay entitled "The Prayer of the Church" which opens with a passage reflecting on the Trinitarian form of Liturgical prayer. She does go on to say that all prayer is prayer of the Church, even what we might term "private" or "devotional" prayer. The Trinitarian character thus extends to all prayer.

“Through him, with him, and in him in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, for ever and ever”. With these solemn words, the priest ends the Eucharistic prayer at the centre of which is the mysterious event of the consecration. These words at the same time encapsulate the prayer of the church: honour and glory to the triune God through, with and in Christ. Although the words are directed to the Father, all glorification of the Father is at the same time glorification of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, the prayer extols the majesty that the Father imparts to the Son and that both impart to the Holy Spirit from eternity to eternity.

All praise of God is through, with and in Christ. Through him, because only through Christ does humanity have access to the Father and because his existence as God-man and his work of salvation are the fullest glorification of the Father; with him, because all authentic prayer is the fruit of union with Christ and at the same time buttresses this union, and because in honouring the Son one honours the Father and vice versa; in him, because the praying Church is Christ himself, with every individual praying member as a part of his Mystical Body, and because the Father is in the Son and the Son the reflection of the Father, who makes his majesty visible. The dual meanings of through, with and in clearly expresses the God-man’s mediation.

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