A Rahnerian Prayer for the End of the Semester
So things have been noticeably quiet here at DatingGod.org. It’s the end of an academic semester, which means lots of seminar-paper writing and a variety of other work that keeps students busy. My apologies to those who would like more regular content here during these last days — fear not, the end of this crunch time is (God-willing) near and the regularity of posting shall return! In the meantime, here is part of a lengthy prayer by the famous German theologian Karl Rahner, SJ, that seems perfect for this season in life. It comes from a prayer titled, “God of Knowledge.”
May You along enlighten me, You alone speak to me. May all that I know apart from You be nothing more than a chance traveling companion on the journey toward You. May it help to mature me, so that I may ever better understand You in the suffering that brings me, as Your holy writer has predicted. When it has accomplished this, then it can quietly disappear into oblivion.
Then You will be the final Word, the only one that remains, the one we shall never forget. Then at last, everything will be quiet in death; than I shall have finished with all my learning and suffering. Then will being the great silence, in which no other sound will be heard but You, O Word resounding from eternity to eternity.
Then all human words will have grown dumb. Being and knowing, understanding and experience will have become one and the same. “I shall know even as I am known;” I shall understand what You have been saying to me all along, namely, You Yourself. No more human words, no more concepts, no more pictures will stand between us. You Yourself will be the one exultant word of love and life filling out every corner of my soul.
Be now my consolation, O Lord, now when all knowledge, even Your revelation expressed in human language, fails to sill the yearning of my heart. Give me strength, O God, now when my soul easily tires of all the human words we devise about You, words which still fail to give us the possession of You. Even though the few flashes of light I receive in quiet moments quickly fade out again into the dark-grey sky of my daily life — even though knowledge comes to me now only to sink back again into oblivion, still Your Word lives in me, of which it is written: “The Word of the Lord abides forever.”
You Yourself are my knowledge, the knowledge that is light and life. You Yourself are my knowledge, experience, and love. You are the God of the one and only knowledge that is eternal, the knowledge that is bliss without end.