Sunday, December 20, 2009

Theology and Prayer

Contemplation is liturgical, if we understand liturgy in its fullest sense. In practice, the liturgy brought about in the community's service of worship can bring to our attention only a tiny part of God's word in holy scripture. Even the Liturgy of the Hours, the breviary, encompassing as it does the annual calendar of feasts, cannot contain the whole of scripture. Thus the liturgy points beyond itself to our personal contemplation of the word.

Somewhere there must be in the Church someone who is listening in adoration to that word of God which is not to be found in the Church's official missal and breviary. For, obviously, the purpose of the word is not fulfilled by those countless people who study the Bible in intellectual curiosity and for the love of learning. Theology and exegesis can border on prayer, but they are not of themselves necessarily prayer. Not explicitly, at least. All acts of the Christian life, whether of the intellect or not, should be accompanied by an openness for worship, like a basso continuo accompanying the soul, and this applies to the act of theology and exegesis, too.

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