Church Magazine

January 5, 2022

“Karl Rahner’s prayers, spanning a fifty-year period, are not the prayers of an ordinary lifetime, but the meditations of an extraordinarily prolific and substantial lifetime. If it is true, as novelists often suggest, that the rich are different from the rest of us, it is probably also true that theologians are different from the rest of us in the way they pray.

It is hard enough to read sermons and allow for the transition from the spoken word to the written one. It is even more difficult to do that with someone’s prayers. Some of the prayers (‘On the Eve of Ordination’) bring the reader to the threshold of a wonderful encounter between Rahner and God, but this encounter is so personal that something seems lost in the sharing. With other prayers (‘God of Law’), there is a sense of ‘other-consciousness,’ leaving the impression that Rahner had some inkling that these ‘prayers’ would be published.

These prayers may not pass the test as normal prayers, but they would make wonderful meditations. And the relatively simple form makes accessible to a broader readership the writing of this important, but difficult theologian.”

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