My Photo
Location: California, United States

Friday, August 25, 2006

We Cried Like Lost Children ...

The Karl Rahner book I sent for - The Need and the Blessing of Prayer - has come. The chapters are taken from sermons he gave in a bombed-out Munich, Germany during the Lent of 1946. As I flipped through it, I found a part that made me stop and read - it seemed to be speaking to me, though I'm not in the terrible circumstances of those who heard these sermons preached. Here's part of one of the sermons, on petitionary prayer, below ... ...


... We prayed, and God did not answer. We cried, and he remained mute. We wept tears that comsumed our hearts. We were not allowed before his countenance .... We would have shown him why we have every reason to despair, because of his silence. We would have had endless material on file: the unanswered prayer for babies who starved to death, the unheard complaint for the little ones who suffocated from tonsillitus, the misery of violated young women, of children who were beaten to death, of the exploited labor slaves, of betrayed women, of those crushed by injustice, of the "liquidated", of the cripples, of those dishonored ...

... We would have appealed to his Son who knows how we feel emotionally and physically because he shared our life. We would have done all that, we actually did all of that. For we have prayed. We have prayed. We have begged. We have lifted ardent, entreating words to heaven. It didn't do any good. We cried like lost children who know that in the end the policeman will take them home. But no one came who wiped our tears away and consoled us ...

.... this brutal conclusion ... There is no purpose in praying. There is no God to hear a prayer of petition, he doesn't exist at all, or he dwells in such dreadful glory that the scream of need doesn't penetrate the ear of his heart ...


Well, it goes on, of course, but I haven't read that far yet. I sincerely hope that Rahner will resolve, in a way that works, this problem of unanswered prayers, for I too find myself crying like a lost child.


Blogger Jeff said...


I sincerely hope that Rahner will resolve, in a way that works, this problem of unanswered prayers, for I too find myself crying like a lost child.

I hear you... I wish I knew more about Rahner than I do. You've piqued my interest with those passages of his. You'll have to tell us all what he winds up saying.

11:25 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Jeff,

I wasn't so satisfied with what he came up with, but it was interesting. He gave Jesus, and his prayer in the garden before he was arrested, as a model for petitionary prayer

... that it's ok to ask for what youy really want and need, no matter how earthly (Jesus asking that the cup pass him by), but that then we should trust God and allow his will to be done, whatever that might be, as Jesus did.

The thing I don't like about this is that it seems to imply that whatever does end up happening, is God's will. I don't believe that's always true ... I'm not sure I think it was necessarily God's will that Jesus die, for instance.

9:51 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...


Have you ever heard of this book?

I have a copy of it, but I haven't read it in depth. Skimming it over, it looks pretty interesting.

3:14 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Jeff, no, I haven't seen that before. It looks very good, though, so I just ordered it from Amazon. Thank you very much - I've been getting more and more depressed lately, but maybe this book will help.

1:18 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home