Being in Love: The Practice of Christian Prayer

By William Johnston | Go to book overview

TWENTY
Social Consciousness

Modern people are very conscious of the social problems of our day. We are acutely aware of the shocking problems of hunger, unemployment, nuclear war, the arms race, terrorism, political oppression, torture. We are aware of the inhumanity and barbarism that have characterized our century; and we realize that, thanks to our greed and stupidity, the very survival of the human race is at stake.

There are always some good people who shake sad and cynical heads with the comment: “And while the world is in such a mess you sit in wordless silence. Yes, you enter your cloud of unknowing and bury everything beneath your little cloud of forgetting! You extol being above doing. You glorify imageless prayer and abandon discursive thinking. And you enter your dark night. How can you do such a thing? How can you be indifferent to the plight of millions of your brothers and sisters on this earth — millions of your brothers and sisters who are also God's children?”

And in the pages of this book I have attempted to give some answer to these questions. I have said that silent and imageless meditation leads to a profound conversion like that of the Good Samaritan who picked up the poor traveller lying bleeding by the roadside. It opens our hearts to compassion for every single human being who suffers in the whole world. Through authentic compassion you suffer with (and the word “compassion” means just that); and you are never far from the one who is in agony and pain.

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Being in Love: The Practice of Christian Prayer
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents 1
  • Preface to the Second Edition 5
  • One - Being in Love 9
  • Two - Prayer and the Body (1) 18
  • Three - Prayer and the Body (2) 27
  • Four - Ways of Praying 35
  • Five - Grades of Prayer 44
  • Six - Prayer in Nature 51
  • Seven - Existential Prayer 56
  • Eight - Quietism 63
  • Nine - Ego, Self, God 69
  • Ten - The Mystery of Jesus 76
  • Eleven - Crisis 82
  • Twelve - Second Journey 90
  • Thirteen - Return to Paradise 100
  • Fourteen - Existential Dread 108
  • Fifteen - Night 115
  • Sixteen - Prayer of Suffering 122
  • Seventeen - Being-In-Love 129
  • Eighteen - Dialogue 140
  • Ninteen - Discernment 148
  • Twenty - Social Consciousness 161
  • Index 167
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