I find it sadly ironic that in order to prepare to write or speak or preach about prayer, we busy ourselves with books and journals and lectures rather than quiet ourselves in the mystery and rest of prayer.
It's as if we believe that God can be quantified, demystified. As if we believe that we can explain the journey without ever having walked the road. We cannot give what we do not have. So we must be careful not to make an idol of study, or knowing; and we must pray.
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Mysticism is necessary in our relationship to Mystery. It is necessary in our union with Mystery.
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Our relationship with God is a relationship with the Other. And while friendship or marriage are wonderful metaphors for such a relationship, they can only take us so far into the mystery of the Other. Stories will always reveal more about God than propositions. But even stories are inadequate. We go deeper into Mystery only to realize that we are where we began. And so we pray with the Church, "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me."