Thursday, March 01, 2012

The Tenth Day of Lent

God of My Life
~Karl Rahner, SJ

Only in love can I find you, my God.
In love the gates of my soul spring open,
allowing me to breathe a new air of freedom
and forget my own petty self.
In love my whole being streams forth
out of the rigid confines of narrowness and anxious self-assertion,
which makes me a prisoner of my own poverty and emptiness.
In love all the powers of my soul flow out toward you,
wanting never more to return,
but to lose themselves completely in you,
since by your love you are the inmost center of my heart,
closer to me than I am to myself.
But when I love you,
when I manage to break out of the narrow circle of self
and leave behind the restless agony of unanswered questions,
when my blinded eyes no longer look merely from afar
and from the outside upon your unapproachable brightness,
and much more when you yourself, O Incomprehensible One,
have become through love the inmost center of my life,
then I can bury myself entirely in you, O mysterious God,
and with myself all my questions.

Often derided, if not unread, because of his difficult prose, Father Karl Rahner nevertheless proved to be one of the great spiritual masters of the 20th century. This prayer - one I have used many times in my own life - stands as one of the reasons I return both to his spiritual and theological writings. This prayer reminds us of our true center: the God who has called us into being, who sustains us, who gives us life, and who loves us. God isn't a problem to be solved but, rather, a mystery to be embraced.

1 comment:

Bonnie T. said...

His prose reminds me of this poem by John Donne:
Batter my heart, three person'd God; for, you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn and make me new.
I, like an usurped town, to'another due,
Labour to'admit you, but Oh, to no end,
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weake or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you,and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy:
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again;
Take me to you, imprison me, for I
Except you enthrall mee, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.