How lovely it is, to feel the peace of prayer. There is great delight in sexual pleasure; but prayer offers a different kind of pleasure. It offers a different kind of sustenance. For many months my prayer life had withered, dried up like a river bed suffering through a summer drought, but now, after having experienced the emptiness of a spiritual drought, I find the return to prayer most satisfying. I find, after neglecting prayer for too long, I long for it. It is like quaffing the cool, fresh water of a mountain stream that flows after a hearty winter and abundant spring rains. The soul, my soul, needs this sustenance. Sexual pleasure has its delights and it place, but spiritual pleasure is something that is beyond even that. The joys of prayer nourish the soul, feed us with the food of God, and help us maintain ourselves in difficult times. There is a certain beauty to prayer. I enjoy, even crave, the beauty of the feminine form, to be sure, but I also delight in and crave the beauty of a deep prayer life. For all the faults I have found with religion and especially Christianity over the years, especially recently, creating a certain crisis of faith for me, one thing is certain and good: Christianity has always been and continues to be a promoter of the goodness of prayer. Catholicism in particular has a rich history of prayer, contemplation, mysticism.
As I have mentioned, for the past six months or so I have been struggling with my faith. It is not that I doubt the existence of God or Christ, but rather, the institutional forms of Christianity as practiced today are troubling to me. I know in time I will work these things out. But recently I have become more aware of something, more appreciative of something that I was not as appreciative of before, namely, the fact that Christianity has always promoted a certain kind of goodness in the world. Recently I have been studying some aspects of the Second World War (which I plan on writing about later), and one thing that always strikes me when studying that time period is the complete horrors unleashed by that event, as well as by the competing ideologies of Nazism and Communism. It is hard for us today to even comprehend the total and brutal destruction that occurred during that period, the vast loss of life, the barbarism that both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia unleashed. The Nazis were worse, and started the whole damn thing, but the Soviets were not much better. Hitler and Stalin were both monsters.
Studying such historical catastrophes makes me realize how important it is to have some sort guiding moral principle in the world, something based on an eternal laws or truths, rather than on man made precepts. Christianity, for its imperfect adherents, is still greatest bulwark against the horrors and brutalities that still lurk deep within the human spirit, and which often manifest themselves in concrete, historical ways, such as through warfare. And for me as the individual, the path to peace, the path to doing something good in the world, begins with the simply practice of prayer.