Monday, October 13, 2008

More thoughts on prayer...


Dear Parish Faithful,

Steve Wendland responded to my latest meditation - "Fragments for Friday" (10/10) - with a very thoughtful and very honest "meditation" of his own. He is willing to share it with all of you. I have the strong sense that he has articulated many of our own concerns, questions, and even doubts about prayer and how it is meant to draw us closer to God. Steve and Emma, of course, have been compelled to learn about prayer in a way that we probably have not. It is less abstract for them in the light of Elias' illness. Something like being tossed overboard far away from the shore and learning how to swim on the spot. Be that as it may, please read Steve's response carefully.

Perhaps we can schedule a discussion on prayer before or during Great Lent of next year and talk through some of these difficult issues about prayer.

Fr. Steven

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Fr. Steven,

Thank you for your thoughts on prayer. This is definitely something that I struggle to understand. It seems that there is a difference between just praying on one side and then entering into a life of prayer on the other. In the former one can pray daily and earnestly, while struggling to see the difference between the power of prayer and mere chance, where the world seems absurd and pointless. In the latter it seems that one is brought up into the mystery of the Trinitarian God, beyond all categories and into a relationship of Love, where we find a foretaste of things to come. It seems that we often bounce back and forth between two different worlds, where in reality there is only one. Sometimes it becomes tiresome to be living only in the world that appears absurd and meaningless, because true prayer becomes almost impossible and at times similar to a catch 22. By this I mean that when we begin to struggle, these mysteries are not immediately revealed to us and we most continue in a sort of blind faith. And when we do nothing it often appears to yield the same fruit.

Basically what I am saying here is that I desire to move to another level of faith or understanding. I also wonder if others struggle with some of these thoughts? Again, thank you for your thoughts on pray. It seems to be our primary way to communion with God but yet is probably more misunderstood and misused than anything in our somewhat pseudo-Christian culture. Much harm has been done to the views of how God relates to mankind, what He wants for us and how He saves us.

Stephen Wendland

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