Murals (2008) by PHANTAST - Graffiti - Cultural Music & Art Association inc. - 98 Milne St. Benleigh

Scan 131140001ruga"MY GOD, WHY  HAVE YOU ABANDONED ME"! 

Our prayer may come down to simply being in the pesence of God. This may not always be a source of satisfaction for us, but it can lead to a real sense of what it means to depend on God. Thomas Merton warned that prayer cannot be measurred in terms of "usefulness". In other words, its value cannot be calculated on the basis of "what we get out of it", or whether we have a series of emotional "highs" or come to clear conclusions.  When these things happen, it is a bonus and reason for gratitude, but prayer is above all a matter of complete self-surrender.

Merton and others have said that we must be prepared to "waste time" with God and for God; that is, we must be willing to give time to God absolutely, simply because God is our loving creator to whom we owe everything. When  we say that prayer cannot be measured in terms of usefulness, we do not mean of course that it does not have fruitful effects, but usefulness is not its purpose. In the same way, friendship provides many benefits, but if these were the sole purpse for cultivating a friendship, there is really no friendhip at all but only a business relationship.

Some of the great saints wrote in their spiritual diaries of times of dryness, when God seemed remote and prayer itself was a tedious process - in our prayer, we have to learn patience to travel the weary path that takes us through the dry places. Some spiritual writers have remarked that these dry stretches can almost be seen as a sign of progress in prayer, as we are drawn more and more into the mystery of the cross and share that experience which caused Jesus to cry out: "My God, why have You abandoned me"? (Peter Gagen).


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