The Metaphysics of Prayer - Bishop Robert Barron


Video from Bishop Robert Barron


"The Disorienting Quality of True Prayer

Bishop Robert Barron*

One of the most impressive literary figures of the twentieth century was the Irish writer Iris Murdoch. You may have heard of her surprising and thoughtful novels such as A Severed Head and The Good Apprentice; or perhaps you are conversant with her more abstract philosophical texts such as The Sovereignty of Good and Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals. She reached her greatest notoriety, posthumously, in the work of her husband John Bayley, who penned a moving memoir of his wife's slow and emotionally wrenching descent into Alzheimer's disease. To hear the story of one of the brightest women of her time gradually losing her mind is, to say the least, unnerving. But due to Bayley's artful telling, the experience becomes, almost despite itself, uplifting as well.

A careful examination of Murdoch's fiction and non-fiction reveals her consistently dark take on human nature. Left to our own devices, we are, she thinks, self-absorbed, violent, and all too willing to draw the whole world into the narrow confines of our egotism. In this conviction, of course, she is not far from the classical Christian doctrine of original sin. What we require, she concludes, are spiritual exercises that serve to break us out of the prison of our self-absorption; and since we are so ensconced in the pattern of self-reference, these must be rather shocking reversals of the status quo. We need the Good—in one form or another—to burst through the carapace of our fearful self-regard.... " from the article: The Disorienting Quality of True Prayer

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