Perspective

Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Prayer and desire

[...] I think that what seems to be our sheer incompetence in prayer is actually the place where something is happening: it is God invading our willed vulnerability. I think a lot of people try to pray and then give up. They feel it isn’t right for them, that they aren’t good at it. But prayer is not like riding a bicycle or getting a good grade on a term paper. It’s something sui generis precisely because relating to God isn’t like relating to anything or anyone else. That’s the first and most important point: we should always pray as we can, not as we can’t.

[...]

But how do we even begin to order those desires? This cup of tea we’re having now seems pretty harmless, especially since I’ve got a sore throat, yet like that cup of tea, sleeping with someone else’s husband might also seem highly attractive at times, but it would work out to be truly destructive. How do these desires relate to the tug inside our naked hearts, to our longing in the darkness, to that source of our being that is the only final goal in which real satisfactions lie? Desire isn’t simply about sex; the tether of desire is the lot of humanity, and it requires spiritual and moral discernment. And theologically, I think our goal is to spread out these desires before God, to have them find their proper place ....

From Prayer as Divine Propulsion: An Interview with Sarah Coakley, Part I (h/t Lee).

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