Doors and Prayer.Part Three

Continuing my posts on the theme of doors and prayer :
Part One is here and Part Two here

this tale is titled the Insanity Prayer by Anthony de Mello

On the question of his own Enlightenment the Master always remained reticent, even though the disciples tried every means to get him to talk.

All the information they had on this subject was what the Master once said to his youngest son who wanted to know what his father felt when he became Enlightened.

The answer was:

"A fool."

When the boy asked why, the Master had replied, "Well, son, it was like going to great pains to break into a house by climbing a ladder and smashing a window and then realizing later that the door of the house was open." 

This image depicts the tale well 



claire said...

Isn't Anthony de Mello wonderful? I wish I had known him...

Philomena Ewing said...

Yes methinks so too. He is an old favourite. I was looking through some old books and came across The Prayer of The Frog(published about 1988). I looked him up on the net and it said he died suddenly in 1987 so this must have been published posthumously. I also came across this from 1998. "Some of his opinions were condemned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI, wrote for the Congregation:

'But already in certain passages in [his] early works and to a greater degree in his later publications, one notices a progressive distancing from the essential contents of the Christian faith. ... With the present Notification, in order to protect the good of the Christian faithful, this Congregation declares that the above-mentioned positions are incompatible with the Catholic faith and can cause grave harm.' [1]

His quite controversial paradigm for Catholic dogma is mainly because many of his ideas were influenced by Thai Buddhist teacher and founder of monasteries Ajahn Chah - who, some[who?] say, was a kind of teacher to him. Despite the Church's condemnation, his works are popular especially among those interested in Ignatian Spirituality.

Some editions of his books have since been supplemented with the insertion of a caution:

'The books of Father Anthony de Mello were written in a multi-religious context to help the followers of other religions, agnostics and atheists in their spiritual search, and they were not intended by the author as manuals of instruction of the Catholic faithful in Christian doctrine or dogma.'
So there we go again !! If Thomas Merton had lived longer they probably would have done the same to him and yet he is probably one of the most famous and revered Catholic authors there is ( Merton that is). Makes me want to vomit really !!

Tim said...

Phil, how true this parable is! Prayer is an open door, accessible simply by stepping off the street of life and into its warmth and grace. Yet because we're so conscious we're talking to God, we think we've got to climb to Him.

I tend to get a little exasperated when I hear people pray in highfalutin' language... "Thou Who hast been" and "We entreat Thee" and all that. Prayer shouldn't be performance art--especially Elizabethan performance art. It really is simply opening opening the door and starting the conversation.

(I like to think it's opening the kitchen door, smelling the coffee and fresh-baked rolls, and finding God at the table saying, 'Come on in. I'm glad to see you. We've got so much to talk about!")

This series of posts is quite amazing, Phil. We don't discuss the nature of prayer nearly enough.

Blessings always,

claire said...

Yes, you are right. All the good stuff is thrown out by the Vatican. I wish it were a sure way of what to follow :-)