Monday, February 28, 2011

Limitations and prayer

I've encountered several very insightful reflections along the following lines lately in my personal reading. Worth sharing, I thought. -- Br. Francis
Perhaps the best definition of an adolescent is that of someone who has not yet experienced his limitations, and therefore has not had to accept them. Prayer helps us by making us conscious of our limitations.

Every person, one day or another, becomes aware of his poverty as a creature. And since this experience is a crushing one, the natural temptation is therefore distractions, or, as Pascal said, diversions. There is an "impatience with one's limitations," a natural temptation that urges us to flee before such limitations.

We do not know what our real needs are, and we must learn them all over again each day. Prayer brings us back to what is most authentic in man's quest for happiness. Prayer makes us free; it preserves what is most fragile and most precious in us: the integrity of our desire, that desire which, in final analysis, is nothing but the need for God. This is what prayer preserves in us, and must teach us every day, this need for God, which is the distinctive, most profound trait that separates man from the animals. Man is the only being who turns to God to obtain what is lacking for his own fulfillment.

Does not the awareness of our limitations already imply a call from God? Does not prayer then appear as man's response to the invitation made to him by God?

Is not the true call of God almost always made in the discovery of our inadequacies?

-- Fr. Bernard Bro, O.P.
French Dominican priest, theologian, and author
Magnificat, February 2011, p.386-387

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