Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Trinity and intercession

Petition is said to be the essence of prayer. While prayers of lament could be described as the most heartfelt and honest prayers. Prayers of praise are the most elevated of prayers. It could be argued though that contemplative and intercessory prayers represent the very heart of Christian spirituality. Meditating on and opening oneself up to the majestic greatness of the divine Word, according to von Balthasar, is the ultimate expression of love and submission to God. The contemplative prayer (das betrachtende Gebet) has a long tradition in Catholic spirituality. Intercessory prayer, by contrast, could be described as the most noble and most Christ-like prayer, as intercessory prayer puts the needs of others before one’s own. Thus, one could say that the contemplative and the intercessory prayer reflect Jesus’ double command to love God and to love our neighbor (cf. Matt 22:37–39). Total devotion to God and a self-giving love that seeks the greatest good for others, according to Jesus, summarizes the essence of the kingdom life.

We shall see that the authentic intercessory prayer flows out of a deep understanding of the Triune God and His ways (that is, out of contemplative prayer) and in correspondence with the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, the petitions of the Christians will be primarily intercession. To close the circle of interpretation, I conclude that Jesus’ intercession in life, death, and eternity can only be fully understood when it is seen and interpreted in the light of Moses and the prophets (the Old Testament).—Standing in the Breach, page 27

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