Thursday, July 05, 2007

A man is what he prays.

A man is what he prays. The person who prays is a theologian and a theologian is a person who prays, or to put it in the words of St. John Klimakos, the climax of purity is the threshold of theology. ...The character of [Lancelot] Andrewes’s theology can only be grasped when it is realized that for him the mind and intellect must also be offered to God. Human reason must be subjected to prayer.
Father Arthur Middleton, Fathers and Anglicans: The Limits of Orthodoxy, p. 154

This quote is one I would like to have used in my workshop at the conference mentioned in my last post. It points us back to prayer as the experience which shapes everything--importantly, theology.

As we remember to pray for our country this week, perhaps we ought to remind ourselves that until we Christians get on our knees and start getting first things right, we will have little impact on our culture and society.

To continue the quotes, from the next page, Father Middleton continues talking of Andrewes, particularly referencing his private devotional prayers, published after his death:

There is no evidence here of our modern pseudo-problem, a conflict between personal and public prayer; not only is the liturgy Andrewes’s theological teacher, it is also his tutor in prayer. Dean Church has commented on the liturgical quality of these devotions,
...incorporating bursts of adoration and Eucharistic triumph from the Liturgies of St. James or St. Chrysostom, recalling the most ancient Greek hymns of the Church, the Gloria in Excelsis, and the Evening Hymn preserved at the end of the Alexandrian manuscript of the New Testament--all this is in the strongest contrast ot anything that I know of in the devotions of the time. It was the reflection, in private prayer, of the tone and language of the Book of Common Prayer, its Psalms, and its Offices; it supplemented the public book, and carried on its spirit from the Church to the closet.

1 comment:

We the Empress said...

What is that phrase? "lectio divinio, lectio something-or-other." Doesn't it mean that theology is first of all liturgy (as I mean it, the practical ways we enact our relationship with God individually and as a Body) and second of all a way of thinking about that relationship and both parties involved. That's pretty foreign to our Christian culture... or to me, at least.