Preachers at Prayer

By Paul Murray OP

'If you were an ecstasy, as Saint Paul was, and you know that some sick man was in need of a bit of soup, it would be far better, I think if you would abandon your ecstasy out of love and show greater love in caring for the other in his need.' (Meister Eckhart)

In some religious traditions, the contemplative life is seen to demand an almost complete turning away from the world. But, within the Dominican tradition, the preacher of the living Word is someone possessed not only by a vision of God but also by a profound inner conviction of people's need. As Christians, we are all summoned by the Gospel 'to come out into the open' and hand others what we ourselves have contemplated. But, in our daily work and in our prayer, we soon come to realize that God in Christ is not just the object of our regard. He is the Word alive within us, the friend 'in whom we live and move and have our being'. Thus, even as we strive in our daily prayers to contemplate God, what matters most is that it is God who has first contemplated us, as part of the mystery of Christ's risen life in the Church, he contemplates the world. 

Preachers at Prayer is the text of an address delivered at the General Chapter of the Dominican Order held at Providence College, Rhode Island, July 2001.




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