Friday, July 30, 2021
Thursday, July 29, 2021
At ﬁrst men sought mutual understanding by taking counsel with one another, but now we understand one another less and less. There is a gap between the generations. It will soon widen to be an abyss. The only bridge is to pray together, to consult God before seeking counsel with one another. Prayer brings down the walls which we have erected between man and man, between man and God.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 266–67
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
The alternative to praise is disenchantment, dismay.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 263
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Monday, July 26, 2021
Friday, July 23, 2021
Thursday, July 22, 2021
Though often I do not know how to pray, I can still say: Redeem me from the agony of not knowing what to strive for, from the agony of not knowing how my inner life is falling apart.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 259
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Prayer is a perspective from which to behold, from which to respond to, the challenges we face. Man in prayer does not seek to impose his will upon God; he seeks to impose God’s will and mercy upon himself. Prayer is necessary to make us aware of our failures, backsliding, transgressions, sins.
Prayer is more than paying attention to the holy. Prayer comes about as an event. It consists of two inner acts: an act of turning and an act of direction. I leave the world behind as well as all interests of the self. Divested of all concerns, I am overwhelmed by only one desire: to place my heart upon the altar of God.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 259
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
What is a soul without prayer? A soul runaway or a soul evicted from its own home. To those who have abandoned their home: The road may be hard and dark and far, yet do not be afraid to steer back. lf you prize grace and eternal meaning, you will discover them upon arrival.
How marvelous is my home. I enter as a suppliant and emerge as a witness; I enter as a stranger and emerge as next of kin. I may enter spiritually shapeless, inwardly disﬁgured, and emerge wholly changed. It is in moments of prayer that my image is forged, that my striving is fashioned. To understand the world I must love my home. lt is difficult to perceive luminosity anywhere if there is no light in my own home. It is in the light of prayer’s radiance that I find my way even in the dark. It is prayer that illumines my way. As my prayers, so is my understanding.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 258–59
Monday, July 19, 2021
Friday, July 16, 2021
Prayer as an episode, as a cursory incident, will not establish a home in the land of oblivion. Prayer must pervade as a climate of living, and all our acts must be carried out as variations on the theme of prayer. A deed of charity, an act of kindness, a ritual moment—each is prayer in the form of a deed. Such prayer involves a minimum or even absence of outwardness, and an abundance of inwardness.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 258
Thursday, July 15, 2021
Prayer is either exceedingly urgent, exceedingly relevant, or inane and useless. Our ﬁrst task is to learn to comprehend why prayer is an ontological necessity. God is hiding, and man is defying. Every moment God is creating and self-concealing. Prayer is disclosing or at least preventing irreversible concealing. God is ensconced in mystery, hidden in the depths. Prayer is pleading with God to come out of the depths. “Out of the depths have I called Thee, O Lord” (Psalms 130:1).—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 258
I like that: theology is a palimpsest. It adds an urgency and relevance to prayer that otherwise might be lacking.
May your theology ever be enlightened by your prayer life!
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
I cannot say that I feel complacent about our chances for peace. Our terrible sin is in not giving peace absolute priority and in failing to realize that to attain peace, we have to make sacriﬁces. We are ready to make sacriﬁces for the sake of war, but not, apparently, for the sake of peace.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 255
Monday, July 12, 2021
Not a whole lot has changed in the last fifty years, has it? About the only difference is that now we say "Black" instead of "Negro" and that racism has become even more blatent among some people.
I wouldn't call either of those progress. Would you?
Friday, July 09, 2021
He hits it on the head here. We take life for granted, ignoring the beauty all around us. I'm reading The Nature of Oaks right now (on Jim Eisenbraun's recommendation). It's causing me to look around with even more wonder and awe at God's creation. Truly, fearfully and wonderfully made!
Thursday, July 08, 2021
Well, he got part of it wrong. It seems all we sense anymore is outrage! But other than that, he got it right. We still are choosing death, blindness, callousness, helplessness, and despair. We think the person who can prove to be the most victimized is the winner. That's not the sign of a healthy society!
Wednesday, July 07, 2021
Anyway, I digress. The Curmudgucation blog has a marvelous parable. Do read it. It isn't very long. Go! Read it! Or, in the words of Augustine, "Click! Read!" (or something like that…)
I was reading in Hebrews today, where the author says that humanity was created a little lower than the angels. Today's excerpt from Heschel fits in well here. We have lost site of who we are, what we were created to be. We have become drunk with our own power, little realizing that with power comes responsibility—responsibility for how we use that power, whether for good or ill. Unfortunately, we have largely used that power for ill. And the earth shows it.
But you can't abuse power forever without repercussions. And we are beginning to feel those repercussions in our climate. And in the dissolving of our social networks.
But, like the infamous "cows of Bashan" in the book of Amos, we ignore them. As long as we have full stomachs and entertainment, all is well. Except, just as Amos says, all is not well and at some time the bills will come due.
I pray that God will be merciful!
Tuesday, July 06, 2021
His thoughts are not our thoughts. Whatever is revealed is abundance compared with our soul and a pittance compared with His treasures. No word is God's last word, no word is God’s ultimate word…
The Torah as given to Moses, an ancient rabbi maintains, is but an unripened fruit of the heavenly tree of wisdom. At the end of days, much that is concealed will be revealed.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 245
Friday, July 02, 2021
In search of exaltation man is ready to burn Rome, even to destroy himself. It is difficult for a human being to live on the same level, shallow, placid, repetitious, uniform, ordinary, unchanged. The classical form of exaltation is worship. Prayer lifts a person above himself. Life without genuine prayer is a wasteland.
But exaltation is gone from the synagogue, from the church, and also from many a classroom and university. The cardinal sin is boredom, and the major failure the denial to our young of moments of exaltation. We have shaped our lives around the practical, the utilitarian, devoid of dreams and vision, higher concerns and enthusiasms. And our religious leadership suffers from a me-too attitude toward fad and fashion, accommodation and progressive surrender.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 228