Father Jay C. Haskin, NC News Service

January 5, 2022

Prayers For A Lifetime appeared originally on the occasion of Father Rahner’s 80th birthday, and his death shortly thereafter turned this birthday present into a farewell gift.

This work contains 44 prayers for all phases of Father Rahner’s life and includes eight previously unpublished prayers. Among these is what is believed to be the final prayer he composed, ‘Prayer for the Reunion of All Christians.’

As a collection of private reflections, these prayers are entitled to be subjective, possibly rendering the author vulnerable as they express human emotion. But they should rather be viewed as one man’s journey as a Christian, Jesuit, retreat master, philosopher and theologian.

There is a special richness in the prayers concerning Christ’s passion and the meditative prayers on the seven last words of Christ.

Catholic priests will immediately identify in a very personal way with the ‘Prayer on the Eve of Ordination’ and ‘Prayer for the Right Spirit of Christ’s Priesthood,’ while also identifying with the more expansive challenge included in his final prayer for the reunion of all Christians.

Father Alfons Klein, provincial of the South German province of the Society of Jesus, delivering the funeral sermon for Father Rahner, recalled his words: ‘lf in my life I have done a little bit to help a few people to dare address God, to think of him, to believe in him, to hope and to love—then, I think my life has been worthwhile.’

Prayers For A Lifetime confirms that his life was worthwhile. Father Rahner, thank you for sharing your life of prayer with us.”

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