Nuclear physicist Niels Bohr is said to have had a horseshoe over his front door “for luck…”
A visitor asked, “But surely you don’t believe that, do you?” “No”, he replied, “but I’m told it works anyway.”
This small collection of prayers, from a variety of Christian sources, is intended for sincere skeptics and honest critics. The idea is to hit the ground running—to begin participating in the Christian tradition in a meaningful way, here and now, with a view to authentic awakening. We are multidimensional beings— body, soul, and Spirit —and contemplative prayer can facilitate the realization and integration of all these dimensions of our being. Such realization is prerequisite to: 1) the possibility of authentic self-knowledge, 2) the experience of meaningful, abundant life, and 3) the possibility of political healing and cultural renewal.
A few of the differences between Catholic and Orthodox traditions are respectfully acknowledged. Don’t obsess over them. Readers from a Protestant background may be reluctant to make the sign of the cross or pray to the Mother of God. Omit both, if you wish, but try to keep an open mind! By the former, you might simply express your willingness to take up your cross and follow Christ; by the latter, your respect for and desire to emulate the mother of our Lord. The formulaic nature of these prayers may also give you pause, but traditional forms should not be confused with vain repetition. “Every time you catch yourself just reeling off the words . . . begin all over again and speak the words in such a way as to let them enter your heart” (see Narcissus and Goldmund, page 10, below).
“Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).