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Beginning to Pray (Anthony Bloom)

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I would like to remind you of the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican.

Beginning to Pray

by Anthony Bloom

I would like to remind you of the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. The Publican comes and stands at the rear of the church. He knows that he stands condemned; he knows that in terms of justice there is no hope for him because he is an outsider to the kingdom of God, the kingdom of righteousness or the kingdom of love, because he belongs neither to the realm of righteousness nor to the realm of love. But in the cruel, the violent, the ugly life he leads, he has learnt something of which the righteous Pharisee has no idea. He has learnt that in a world of competition, in a world of predatory animals, in a world of cruelty and heartlessness, the only hope one can have is an act of mercy, an act of compassion, a completely unexpected act which is rooted neither in duty nor in natural relationships, which will suspend the action of the cruel, violent, heartless world in which we live. All he knows, for instance, from being himself an extortioner, a moneylender, a thief, and so forth, is that there are moments when for no reason, because it is not part of the world’s outlook, he will forgive a debt, because suddenly his heart has become mild and vulnerable; that on another occasion he may not get someone put into prison because a face will have reminded him of something or a voice has gone straight to his heart. There is no logic in this. It is not part of the world’s outlook nor is it a way in which he normally behaves. It is something that breaks through, which is completely nonsensical, which he cannot resist; and he knows also, probably, how often he himself was saved from final catastrophe by this intrusion of the unexpected and the impossible, mercy, compassion, forgiveness. So he stands at the rear of the church, knowing that all the realm inside the church is a realm of righteousness and divine love to which he does not belong and into which he cannot enter. But he knows from experience also that the impossible does occur and that is why he says ‘Have mercy, break the laws of righteousness, break the laws of religion, come down in mercy to us who have no right either to be forgiven or allowed in.’ And I think this is where we should start continuously all over again.


(from Beginning to Pray, chapter 1)

Ultima modifica Martedì 30 Novembre 1999 01:00
Fausto Ferrari

Fausto Ferrari

Religioso Marista
Area Formazione ed Area Ecumene; Rubriche Dialoghi, Conoscere l'Ebraismo, Schegge, Input

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