Quote For The Day

Nov 3 2013 @ 11:28am

Agony_in_the_Garden

“We ought not to be surprised or wrongfooted if in our prayers we do not have the feeling that we are simply talking to another person just like us. If we are somehow included in Christ’s relation to God the Father, it will not be as if we were relating to an individual on the other side of the room. Something is going on that is deeper than that, but no less personal, no less a real relationship, but something that doesn’t depend entirely on how we feel and what we think: a pouring-in of God’s love that will steadily transform us from inside. We are growing into mature life — growing into a grateful and secure awareness of ourselves that is always reaching out in what may feel like a blind love and searching for an Other beyond words and ideas, receiving always the influx of gift that makes us what we are, yet normally unable to say quite how this works. Praying in Christ, in the way a writer like St John of the Cross sketches it, is being carried on an invisible current of love that is sometimes discernible to us, but often (painfully) not…

In other words, the path of contemplative prayer is a working out of the whole vision we have been thinking about, the process that the creeds try to codify — moving deeper into trust as we discover what it means to be the object of an eternally trustworthy love. It is the outworking of what Martin Luther and his followers called ‘justification by faith’ — the belief that it is trust that sets you right, not achievement, success, perfomance, but the confidence that something has been shown and shared with us in the history that the Bible records which makes it possible for us to risk putting our hands into the hands of God. And when we pray, that is what we do; we put out our hands, as relaxed and open as we can make them, free, aware, without fantasies and projections, into a darkness that is God’s welcoming touch,” – Rowan Williams, Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief.

(Image of Agony in the Garden, by Andrea Mantegna, 1460, via Wikimedia Commons. The painting portrays Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsamane, not long before his crucifixion.)