I should like to speak to you about my prayer, O Lord. And though it often seems to me that You pay little heed to what I try to say to You in my prayers, please listen to me now very carefully.

O Lord God, I don’t wonder that my prayers fall short of You – even I myself often fail to pay the least attention to what I’m praying about. So often I consider my prayer as just a job I have to do, a duty to be performed. I ‘get it out of the way’ and then relax, glad to have it behind me. When I pray, I’m at my duty, instead of being with You.

Yes, that’s my prayer. I admit it. And yet, my God, I find it hard to be so sorry for praying so poorly. How can a man hope to speak with You? You are so distant and so mysterious.

When I pray, it’s as if my words have disappeared down some deep, dark well from which no echo ever comes back to reassure me that they have struck the ground of Your heart.

Is my life really no more than a single short aspiration, and all my prayers just different formulations of it in human words?

Is Your silence when I pray, really a discourse filled with infinite promise, unimaginably more meaningful than any audible word You could speak to the limited understanding of my narrow heart – a word that would itself have become as small and poor as I am?

I suppose that’s the way it is, Lord … If my life is supposed to be one single prayer, and my praying is to be part of this life carried on in Your presence, then I must have the power to present my life, my very self to You.

Karl Rahner

Jakarta, 26 July 2018 [Memoria of Saints Joachim and Ann, the parents of Saint Mary]

A Christian Pilgrim


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