Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What Did They Know That We Don't?

" For those of us who are not Catholic or Orthodox, this is the history of the Church we were often taught: Jesus came, Jesus died, Jesus rose again, and Jesus ascended into heaven.  Paul wrote his letters and made his mission trips.  The Pilgrims brough religious freedom to America.  There was a revival in the 1800s, and the real Church was born.  That history is a little like saying that American history is the story of the first Thanksgiving, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and D-Day.  Some other stuff went on, other stuff that shaped us, bound us together, and made us one.

But the truncated view of the Church many of us were taught has left us with some questions and some fears about the ancient ways of the Church, the ancient ways that sustained the Church in the first place, the ways that made it possible for there to have been any Church for the Pilgrims to bring over.

One of the obstacles to embracing this way of prayer is our ignorance of and our fear of the anvient, our fear of anything that is too close to the Catholic Church.  We are afraid that such prayer will lead us astray somehow, and that sch liturgical prayer is dead and lifeless and rote....What I am afraid of is that the ones who went before us, who sustained the Church for the eighteen hundred years before the revival broke out here, may have known something that I do not know.  They sustained the Church, not me.

And this prayer is one of the ways they did so."

In Constant Prayer, Robert Benson

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