We are living in deeply disturbing times, where rampant greed and corruption are flamboyantly and unashamedly parading themselves for all to see. Many of us are filled with disillusionment and despair at the growing state of inequality, injustice, hatred and environmental disaster that our world is facing. There seems to be no solution to the dilemma facing humanity. We are at an impasse as a human species.
And yet this is precisely where the hope of God manifests, as Constance FitzGerald argues in her article “From impasse to prophetic hope“. She comments that the key problem for humanity is our sense of identity as separate and autonomous, leading to a selfishness that continually puts our own interests before those of others. She writes that, in order to be freed from this kind of selfishness, and therefore capable of a deeper synergy with one another and with God, we need to be “dispossessed of the autonomous self, our achieved selfhood put together over a lifetime“. And this, she argues, takes place through the inner transformation that is a result of contemplative prayer, or ‘the prayer of no experience‘ as she describes it.
She writes: “The transformation taking place in the ‘prayer of no experience’ opens into a profoundly different realm for which we do not have adequate words: the deconstruction of even healthy forms of autonomy that no longer represent the deepest possibilities of the person herself and the human with God nor the radical need of the human community for a deeper synergy. What this prayer predicts as possibility for what the human person and the human community are to become is far beyond what a coalition of strong-willed, autonomous, right-thinking, ethical people can ever achieve on their own. … If the process underway in the ‘prayer of no experience’ is silently dispossessing us of our possessive selfhood, might this forfeiture amount to an evolutionary leap toward selflessness? … This prayer, expressive of a prophetic hope, is an important contemplative bridge to a new future, to the transformation or evolution of consciousness, and through these prayers of no experience the human person is being changed radically. Reaching beyond the horizon of present expectation and imagination, willing to go beyond the boundaries of their lives/selves to make an irrevocable passage into a new place, a new way of “being” in the universe, these prophets of hope stand open to receive the unimaginable future to which God is alluring us, and more: they actually serve as the doorway to it.”
May we dare to be prophets of hope as we allow ourselves to be dispossessed of our selfhood to which we cling so tightly, and transformed into the new creation that God is bringing forth.
“Very truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)