It simply is life


Water purifies, nourishes, refreshes, restores.
–It simply is life.

Check again the verbs above.
Now drop ‘water’ and replace it with ‘prayer.’

I read the other day the address of then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.
More popularly, he is now known as Benedict XVI or the Pope Emeritus.
In one interview, he simply wanted to be called Father Benedict.

But that’s just an aside.

Exactly 15 years ago, in the year 2000, he addressed the catechists.
I had to read the speech for my thesis;
There were so many ideas in that talk which caught my attention.

But clearly, there was one line which mightily stood out from the page.
It asked me to stop right there at the period which punctuates the sentence.
It’s as if it wanted me to give it some serious thought.

In that line, Cardinal Ratzinger made an attempt to define what prayer is.
His definition was succinct. Just five words all told.

It was profound in its simplicity. He says, “Prayer is faith in action.”

The line spoke to me. It forced me to wrestle with the paradox of how prayer
can be a dynamic manifestation of a force that is hidden before the naked eye.

How many individuals I have met, in various circumstances
who acted out their faith mightily,
in bended knees; before the Lord,
in deep silence?

And then I realized …

I had to bow down before his definition of the word;
and as the idioms goes, ‘He hit the nail on its head,’ it is rightly so,

For insofar as water purifies, nourishes, refreshes, restores.
Our prayer does likewise.

–It simply is life.



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