PRAYER: I Founder Helplessly, by Karl Rahner


Without you, I should founder helplessly in my own dull and groping narrowness.  I could never feel the pain of longing, not even deliberately resign myself to being content with this world, had not my mind again and again soared over its own limitations into the hushed reaches which are filled by you alone, the Silent Infinite.  Where should I flee before you, when all my yearning for the unbounded, even my bold trust in my littleness, is really a confession of you?

What a poor creature you have made me, O God!  All I know about you and about myself is that you are the eternal mystery of my life.  Lord, what a frightful puzzle man is!  He belongs to you and you are the Incomprehensible – incomprehensible in your being and even more so in your ways and judgments.  For if all your dealings with me are acts of your freedom, quite unmerited gifts of your grace which knows no “why,” if my creation and my whole life hand absolutely on your free decision, if all my paths are, after all, your paths and therefore unsearchable, then, Lord, no amount of questioning will ever fathom your depths – you will still be the Incomprehensible, even when I see you face-to-face.

But can it be that you are my true home?  Are you the One who will release me from my narrow little dungeon?  Or are you merely adding another torment to my life, when you throw open the gates leading out upon your broad and endless plain?  Are you anything more than my own great insufficiency, if all my knowledge leads only to your incomprehensibility?  Are you merely eternal unrest for the restless soul?  Must every question fall dumb before you, unanswered?  Is your only response the mute “I will have it so” that so coldly smothers my burning desire to understand?

But I am rambling on like a fool – excuse me, O God.  You have told me through your Son that you are the God of my love, and you have commanded me to love you.  Your commands are often hard because they enjoin the opposite of what my own inclinations would lead me to do, but when you bid me love you, you are ordering something that my own inclinations would never even dare to suggest: to love you, to come intimately close to you, to love your very life.  You ask me to lose myself in you, knowing that you will take me to your Heart, where I may speak on loving, familiar terms with you, the incomprehensible mystery of my life.  And all this because you are Love itself.

But when I love you, when I manage to break out of the narrow circle of self and leave behind the restless agony of unanswered questions, when my blinded eyes no longer look merely from afar and from the outside upon your unapproachable brightness, and much more when you yourself, O Incomprehensible One, have become through love the inmost center of my life, then I can bury myself entirely in you, O mysterious God, and with myself all my questions.


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