Thursday, October 16, 2008

yes, exactly

From The Anchoress:

What I am reminded, repeatedly, is that time is a construct - that everything is happening simultaneously. Right now, I am writing at my computer. Right now, I am voting at my local school. Right now, Christ is dying on a cross. Right now, He is making a covenant and receiving a kiss. Right now, Napoleon is heading to Waterloo. Right now, George Washington is facing defeat for the umpteenth time. Right now, I am being needlessly cruel to someone. Right now I am being born. Right now I am 78 years old and grousing that my kids never visit me. Right now, Obama has won the election. Right now John McCain has won the election.

This is why prayer has power. In the quantum world, where everything is occurring all at once, prayer changes things. Sacrifice changes things. Wisdom knows this - it is why every religious tradition, Eastern or Western, encourages prayer and sacrifice - because this is how you pierce illusions.

Last week Pope Benedict XVI said: ”He who builds only on visible and tangible things like success, career and money builds the house of his life on sand”…money vanishes,
it is nothing. All these things that appear to be real are in fact secondary. Only God’s words are a solid reality”. Yes. Everything is happening, all at once. What appears to be solid and three-dimensional would does not even exist between its busy atoms. That which the world regards as most ephemeral, and least grasp-able, is actually the solid platform upon which all illusions spin.

About a year ago, out of the blue - a friend of mine - a social studies teacher who is politically “interested” but not active, and who does not go to church - said to me: “I get the feeling that George W. Bush is going to be the last American president of “old” America, and Benedict is going to be the last pope of the “old” Catholic church.” She had a sense of things cresting, of a cusp being reached. Right now, a typesetter is laying down the words Dewey Wins! Right now, Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democrat nominee. Right now, George Washington is refusing a crown. Right now, Barack Obama is training ACORN workers. Right now, Margaret Sanger is preaching eugenics. Right now, a Pole is made Pope. Right now, Nero is watching Rome burn. Right now, Peter, that city’s first Bishop, is being crucified and turned upside down.
Right now, in prayer and in fasting, one may penetrate the illusions of the world and,
touching eternity, impact them. Obama may win this election. Obama may lose
this election. McCain may win this election. McCain may lose this election. No
matter what happens, we are entering a new era, and I believe everyone knows it. With the prayer and fasting, I am “in training” making myself ready for whatever comes, because whatever comes is going to be very different; it will jar us from all of our complacencies.


Tara said...

This is pretty heavy. I had to read it twice. And the bottom line is yes...change is indeed happening. Where that takes us we can only wait to see. Prayer does cross the barriers. There is much to come. Thanks for a great thought provoker today.

Happy said...

i am still not sure i have wrapped my head around this... it's an interesting theory. God IS outside time so His perspective on it and ours are different...

but I think what I'm stuck on in thinking about all of this at the moment (right now, lol) - is this idea that prayer really does change things - that somehow, God does actually allow us to influence what happens in time by what we pray - that it matters, what we do or don't do. and the whole fasting thing... fasting doesn't change God, but it changes me - it changes how I pray, it puts me in tune with how dependent I am upon God, it increases the intensity with which I pray and the passion with which I believe what I already believed...

I like that last line - the idea that prayer and fasting puts us in training for whatever is going to come because it will be different - that's true about anything. politics, relationships, life. and when we fast and pray, we position ourselves to be paying attention to what God wants to do, and to what He will do, in those moments to come.

Sara said...

thanks for the comments. this piece very much answers the mystic in me. theologically, we HAVE to get outside of time--Christ's death and sacrifice happened in such a way that it envelopes the whole of human history. full atonment for all sin that had happened up to that point or would happen until history is closed . . .

the part about prayer affecting thing that it seems to us are already done, or decided? I've wrestled with that one a fair bit actually. it seems to me that time affects our ability to believe--I *think* it's decided . . . but I know that I have prayed about situations that were in fact already "closed" though I didn't know it--does that mean that my prayer was useless? or "too late?" I don't believe that it does--I don't think that any prayer is useless.

the part that resonated mostly with me was the quote from Pope Benedict, that touches on this issue of the ephemerality of money that I've been wrestling with. that in fact the things that seem real to us are in fact smoke. That Matrix-like, our senses deceive us. Our perceptions are trapped and dulled by our own sin.