Christus allein

C.S. Lewis über den Nutzen vorgefertigter Gebete

C.S. Lewis erklärt in seinem Buch Letters to Malcolm seinem fiktionalen Freund den Nutzen vorgefertigter Gebete:

First, it keeps me in touch with „sound doctrine“. Left to oneself, one could easily slide away from „the faith once given“ into a phantom called „my religion“.

Secondly, it reminds me „what things I ought to ask“ (perhaps especially when I am praying for other people). The crisis of the present moment, like the nearest telegraph-post, will always loom largest. Isn’t there a danger that our great, permanent, objective necessities – often more imporant – may get crowded out? By the way, that’s another thing to be avoided in a revised Prayer Book. „Contemporary problems“ may claim an undue share. And the more „up to date“ the Book is, the sooner it will be dated.

Finally, they provide an element of the ceremonial. On your view, that is just what we don’t want. On mine, it is part of what we want. I see what you mean when you say that using ready-made prayers would be like „making love to your own wife our of Petrarch or Donne“. (Incidentally might you not quote them – to such a literary wife as Betty?) The parallel won’t do.

I fully agree that the relationship between God and a man is more private and intimate than any possible relationship between two fellow creatures. Yes, but at the same time there is, in another way, a greater distance between the participants. We are approaching – well I won’t say „the Wholly Other“, for I suspect that is meaningless, but the Unimaginably and Insupportably Other. We ought to be – sometimes I hope one is – simultaneously aware of closest proximity and infinite distance. You make things far too snug and confiding. Your erotic analogy needs to be supplemented by „I fell at His feet as one dead.“

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