Monday, July 11, 2016

"Intimacy of the Heart" by Joan Chittister

Private prayer is the only genuine path to real intimacy 
with God. 
In private prayer we allow God to know us and 
we come to know God differently than distance or pomp 
or public rituals can ever allow.

Public prayer always presents us with the temptation 
to make our God 
either the place or the people with whom we pray. 
With all its grandeur and satisfaction, 
it can seduce us to believe that because there is
 prayer here, this place—these people—must be good. 
This kind of prayer can make religion itself an idol. 
Blinded by commitment to the group or the splendor 
of the place or the moral security that comes 
with being “obedient” to a system, 
we find cults and holy wars great and glorious things.

Only in the intimacy of the heart, steeped in the words 
of the One who is mercy and goodness, justice and 
peace, can we see clearly the laws 
we are really meant to follow, the life we are truly meant to live.

Then we come to realize that we all come into this world 
alone and we leave it the same way. 
There is no group, however strong their 
hold on our obedience, who, in the end, go with us to the
 bar of conscience.

     —from The Breath of the Soul: Reflections on Prayer 
by Joan Chittister (Twenty-Third Publications)

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