To Whom It May Concern…

Jane Goodall’s Prayer

God is great, God is good, God is the creator – our prayers and theological tomes are full of these adjectives describing the one to whom we address our prayers. The technical term for addressing the nature of God: Cataphatic Theology.

God is not fully knowable, God is not contained in this creation, God is not limited to our understanding – our catechetical books and seminary libraries are full of adjectives stating what God is not. The technical term for addressing what God is not: Apophatic Theology.

Spending time seeking knowledge of God in either way can be very helpful: it can clear away some of our misconceptions and make us aware of our own limited perspectives. If pursued with honesty and as an expression of faith, these two different paths can keep us humble and increase our capacity for kindness and compassion.

If we remember the most basic truth of life, we can avoid mistaking or preferring our ideas of God with our relationship to God. We can remember that we are always held by God. Said poetically:

We pray to the Great Spiritual Power in which we live and move and have our being.

[A Prayer For World Peace; Jane Goodall and Feeroozeh Golmohammadi(illustrator); Hong Kong: Minedition]

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