Thursday, July 24, 2008

Prayer is Freedom

Talk about a powerful phrase. What more do we need than that? I read this last night in Thomas Merton in Alaska: The Alaskan Conferences, Journals, and Letter. Prayer is freedom. Because when we turn our hearts and awareness to God, we instantly transcend anything that seems to bind or separate us. Here's how Merton puts it:

    "...prayer is our real freedom. It is the liberation from the alienation that I have been talking about.

    It is in prayer that we are truly and fully ourselves and we are not under any other power, authority, or domination. We have to see what that means. 'He has put all things under His feed and made Him ruler of everything, the head of the Church which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills the whole creation.' You have to spend your whole life going over and over again through a passage like this. It is the only way you can ever get anywhere with it. You don't just read it a few times and then read it with a commentary. You keep coming back to it, and maybe after fifty years of chewing on it you begin to see what it really means." (p. 113-114)

Of course, Merton is talking about cognitive understanding here, but the good news is that it's something we can leave behind as we practice the presence of God. Prayer is freedom from all illusion that tempts us to believe that there is such a thing as "not God."

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