966From Paul Knitter’s Without Buddha I Could Not Be A Christian: “In general… my practice of the Sacrament of Silence helps me deal with and be inspired by the language of liturgy. That even includes one of the biggest ritual stumbling stones: prayers of petition. … But regarding petitionary prayer more broadly, I believe that my daily reception of the Sacrament of Silence has helped me see and feel not just the validity but the value of bringing our requests to the Spirit. If what we become aware of in silence is real –that is, if we, each one of us, are part of the interconnecting Mystery that we call Spirit and that has its life in us –then prayers by which I express my concern and good wishes for you are ways in which I can act out, as it were, what I know in silence: my Spirit-grounded connections with and compassion for all other beings, especially those in need. …That’s how I can understand our prayers of petition to work. When I feel compassion for others, I am “practicing” what I am. I am letting the energy of the Spirit connect me with others. And when I do this, I am sure it is good for me –because it is connecting me with you. Just how much it will be good for you, just how much the energy that I feel and send out from my end will arrive and affect your end, that I don’t know for sure. For sure I know it’s good for me. I trust it will be good for you. In any case, when we pray for each other in this way, it is not a form of requesting divine interventions. It is a way of enabling the connecting Spirit to emerge rather than invade; it’s activating the Spirit that is already there…. Petitionary prayers, we might say, make us aware of –and therefore more active agents of –the Buddha-nature that contains all beings, or the Body of Christ of which we are all parts. To petition is to connect, really though mysteriously.”


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