Proving God Experimentally


Aristotle managed to prove the existence of the First Cause from first principles and reflections on world around him.  Thomas Aquinas went further and showed that the First Cause must have Intellect and Will in a manner analogous to human intellect and will (or, rather, vice versa, for the causality runs the other way).  But I know of only one way to prove God “with all the trimmings”: that is, to become convinced that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that God is Father, Son, and Hol … [Read more...]

Arriving at Amen: An Interview with Leah Libresco


Leah Libresco, of the Unequally Yoked blog here at Patheos, has written a book entitled Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers That Even I Can Offer.  I hope to offer a full review of Leah’s book sometime in the next week or so (capsule summary: I liked it); in the meantime I’ll just say that Leah’s unique—I might say inimitable—take on certain common Catholic prayers and devotions will cause you to see them in a new light, and perhaps understand and appreciate them more than ever before. That … [Read more...]

Living on a Prayer Trigger


St. Paul tells us to pray without ceasing.  Just what that means is not entirely clear; opinions range from continuously (literally, every waking moment) to continually, on a very regular basis.  In the Eastern tradition, for example, it's a recognize devotion to say the Jesus prayer under your breath as continuously as possible.Me, I come down somewhere in the middle.  As I related few months ago, I have a regular daily prayer schedule as a Lay Dominican, so I certainly do pray co … [Read more...]

Prayer and the Big Game: Can You Pray Before You Play?


It's so typical a moment that it's become trite: the athlete steps out for his big moment, crosses himself, and goes on to the glory of victory...or, possibly, the agony of defeat. And every so often I hear this kind of thing: "Yeah, like God's going to win the game for him." Last Superbowl Sunday I heard several people talking about praying for their team and then dismissing it, because "Of course, God doesn't get involved in sports."We've got some interesting things going on here: … [Read more...]

On Praying for What You Really Want

Should I ask God for what I want? Is it arrogant to ask the Lord of Creation to listen to my requests, or to think that they might affect the way things are? Ought I instead to assume that God knows what I need and pray simply for His will to be done?I see these questions come up time and again. I've asked them myself, and I often see others asking them. My basic response has always been that we should ask God for what we really want, when we want it, and then trust in Him to give us … [Read more...]

When Prayer becomes Mortification

I first started praying the Liturgy of the Hours in the mid-winter of 2008, a few months after my reversion to Catholicism. At that time it was all exciting and new, and I looked forward to my prayer times every day; but that's not why I adopted the Liturgy of the Hours as a personal devotion. And then, when I became a Lay Dominican, I necessarily embarked on a life of diligent prayer. Per the rule, I am to pray a significant fraction of the Liturgy of the Hours, a daily rosary, daily mass … [Read more...]

The Desolation of the Draggin’

The Anchoress wrote last week about her experience of desolation in Penn Station. She was people-watching, a favorite activity, and then everything changed:I wouldn’t presume to say that anything was being communicated to me, but I nevertheless had a glimpse — or an overwhelming “sense” — of something. In that brief flash I knew that hovering over us, near us, within us, all about us, was an awful, unstoppable ache of love and sadness; a sense of “Oh, my people! How often I have wanted to ga … [Read more...]

Wishful Thinking vs. Prayer

It occurred to me after finishing this post that perhaps the individuals in question believe that affirmations actually change objective reality, as opposed to one's attitude. It seems that there are people who believe this.In my view, though, this is to confuse wishful thinking with prayer. Prayer—I'm speaking particularly of prayer of supplication—isn't simply a matter of warm positive thoughts, prayed with intensity, as though I can will something to happen without taking concrete act … [Read more...]

Listening to God Redux

I don't know whether Tom McDonald's latest post was inspired by my post on Listening to God or not, but it's well worth your time. My post focused narrowly on my personal experience in prayer, and on the human dimension. (You can't say everything at once, darn it!) But as Tom points out, every instance of human prayer is a response to a conversation initiated by God, however it seems at the time. … [Read more...]