on prayer

Forgive the long hiatus, if you’ve noticed it. Maybe if I added a category–‘what I’m writing’–I would return here more often, and sketch some of the work I’ve been doing. At present, I am writing a chapter entitled ‘The Lord’s Prayer in the Life and Liturgy of the Church,’ for a handbook on prayer. In the course of my reading, I came across a passage too beautiful not to share.

For real absolute waste of time you have to go to prayer. I reckon that more than 80 per cent of our reluctance to pray consists precisely in our dim recognition of this and our neurotic fear of wasting time, of spending part of our life in something that in the end gets you nowhere, something that is not merely  non-productive, non-money-making, but is even non-creative, it doesn’t even have the justification of art and poetry. It is an absolute waste of time, it is a sharing into the waste of time which is the interior life of the Godhead. God is not in himself productive or creative. Sure he takes time to throw off a creation, to make something, to achieve something, but the real interior life of the Godhead is not in creation, it is in the life of love which is the Trinity, the procession of Son from Father and of the Spirit from this exchange. God is not first of all our creator or any kind of maker, he is love, and his life is not like the life of the worker or artist but of lovers wasting time with each other uselessly. It is into this worthless activity that we enter in prayer. This, in the end, is what makes sense of it. 

Herbert McCabe, ‘Prayer’ in God Matters, p. 225.

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