Archive for September 2009

An Augustinian Moment

September 15, 2009

Augustine famously threw up his hands as he wondered why God would wish to resurrect the body.  His Platonist metaphysics denigrated the body, making Augustine accept on faith rather than reason that the resurrection of the flesh is a good thing.

I’m having an Augustinian moment regarding prayer.  I know we are supposed to pray for our daily bread, as it were; but why?  If Christ taught us anything, it was that salvation comes through following Him to His passion and death.  Why, then, do we pray to eliminate our suffering?  Rather, should we not pray for the strength to carry the crosses that we are given?

The obvious response seems to be that the Church has always acknowledged that prayer for strength in times of persecution is more valuable than prayers for material needs; i.e. that the Church agrees with my assessment.  But that’s only half of the answer.  Even if the former type of prayer is more praiseworthy, God still answers the prayers of those who ask for healing.  Give what Jesus taught, those healings seem counterproductive.  Why not answer those prayers with the grace to endure the suffering with dignity and holiness rather than granting a quick healing?

I guess this is more evidence that we will never have access to God’s plan from this side of heaven.