The focus of prayer is not the self. A man may
spend hours meditating about himself, or be stirred by
the deepest sympathy for his fellow man, and no prayer
will come to pass. Prayer comes to pass in a complete
turning of the heart toward God, toward His goodness
and power. It is the momentary disregard of one’s per-
sonal concerns, the absence of self-centered thoughts,
which constitute the art of prayer. Feeling becomes
prayer in the moment in which one forgets oneself and
becomes aware of God. When we analyze the con-
sciousness of a supplicant, we discover that it is not
concentrated upon his own interests, but on something
beyond the self. The thought of personal need is absent,
and the thought of divine grace alone is present in his
mind. Thus, in beseeching Him for bread, there is one
instant, at least, in which the mind is directed neither to
one’s hunger nor to food, but to His mercy. This instant
In prayer we shift the center of living from self-
consciousness to self-surrender. God is the center
toward which all forces tend. He is the source, and we
are the flowing of His force, the ebb and flow of
RABBI ABRAHAM ]OSHUA HESCHEL
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1901-1972), educated in Germany, emigrated to the United States in 1940, fleeing Nazi persecution. His religious philosophy brings together traditional Jewish texts and modern questions to explore the reality underlying religion, including the living and dynamic relationship between God and humanity.
Nothing is more practical than finding God,
than falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
ATTRIBUTED TO FR. PEDRO ARRUPE, S.J. (1907-1991)
You created all people in your image.
We thank you for the astonishing variety of races and
cultures in this world.
Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of friendship,
and show us your presence in those who differ most from us,
until our knowledge of your love is made perfect in
our love for all your children;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lutheran Book of Worship
Oh God, I wish from now on
to be the first to become conscious
of all that the world loves, pursues, and suffers;
I want to be the first to seek,
to sympathize and to suffer;
the first to unfold and sacrifice myself
to become more widely human
and more nobly of the earth
than of any of the world’s servants.
PIERRE TEILLHARD DE CHARDIN, S.J. (1881-1955)
I am surprised that I am beginning to pray daily. I
began because I had to. I just found myself praying. I
can’t get down on my knees, but I can pray while
I am walking.
If I get down on my knees I think, “Do
I really believe? Whom am I praying to?” And a
terrible doubt comes over me, and a sense of shame,
and I wonder if I am praying because I am lonely,
because I am unhappy ….
But, I reason with myself, I am praying because
I am happy, not because I am unhappy. I did not turn
to God in unhappiness, in grief, in despair – to
get consolation, to get something from God. And
encouraged that I am praying because I want to
thank God, I go on praying.
No matter how dull the
day, how long the walk seems, if I feel low at the
beginning of the walk, the words I have been saying
have insinuated themselves into my heart before I
have done, so that on the trip back I neither pray nor
think but am filled with exultation … .It is so hard to
say how this delight in prayer has been growing on
Two years ago, I was saying as I planted seeds in
the garden, “I must believe in these seeds, that they
fall into the earth and grow into flowers and radishes
and beans. It is a miracle to me because I do not
understand it. The very fact that they use glib tech-
nical phrases does not make it any the less a miracle,
and a miracle we all accept. Then why not accept
You, neighbor God, if sometimes in the night
I rouse you with loud knocking, I do so
only because I seldom hear you breathe;
And I know: you are alone.
And should you need a drink, no one is there
to reach it to you, groping in the dark.
Always I harken. Give but a small sign.
I am quite near.
Between us there is but a narrow wall,
and by sheer chance; for it would take
merely a call from your lips or from mine
to break it down,
and that without a sound.
The wall is builded of your images.
They stand before you hiding you like names.
And when the light with me blazes high
that in my inmost soul I know you by,
the radiance is squandered on their frames.
And then my senses, which too soon grow lame,
exiled from you, must go their homeless ways.
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) was a German lyric poet who wrote works heavily influenced by mysticism.
Oh Mother, You are present in every form;
You are in the entire universe
and in its tiniest and most trifling things.
Wherever I go and wherever I look,
I see you, 0 Mother, present in your cosmic form.
The whole world – earth, fire, water, air -
All are your forms, Mother,
the whole world of birth and death.
Mountains, plants, animals living on land and in the water,
All moving and unmoving beings in this beautiful world
are full of Divine will, says Prasad.
Ramprasad, an 18th century Bengali poet-saint, addressed God as his own Mother. He had a vivid sense of God’s enormous power and universal presence.
What I want to achieve—
what I have been striving and pining to achieve these thirty years—
is self-realization, to see God face to face, to attain Liberation.
I live and move and have my being in pursuit of this goal.
All that I do by way of speaking and writing,
and all my ventures in the political field,
are directed to this same end.
I worship God as Truth only.
I have not yet found God, but I am seeking after God …
Often in my progress I have faint glimpses of the Absolute Truth, God.
Daily the conviction is growing upon me
that God alone is real and all else unreal.
MOHANDAS K. GANDHI
Attention — all Catholics from India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. You are always welcome in our parish church, and we invite you to the NOVENA OF OUR LADY OF VAILANKANNI, which will begin on Saturday, 30 August, and will take place every night at 7:00pm, until it concludes with a special Mass on Sunday, 7 September, at 7:00 pm. Please make your plans now and tell others
IN MY SOUL
RABIA OF BASRA
SUFI (C. 717-801)
In my soul
there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church
where I kneel.
Prayer should bring us to an altar where no walls or
Is there not a region of love where the sovereignty is
where ecstasy gets poured in itself
and becomes lost,
where the wing is fully alive
but has no mind or body?
In my soul
there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church
that dissolve, that dissolve