For - With - Of
Published 27 October 2001 - Last Changes 9 November 2014
Religious heads continue the inter-religious dialogue or the joint prayer in public [e.g. the Prayer Meetings in Assisi, where Pope John Paul II and leaders of other religions said their prayers for justice and peace], and scholars discuss at international scientific meetings interreligious issues. This is certainly also meant as an inivation for everybody to join both dialogue and prayer.
Why should we not do here and now what - according to God's revelation - shall be our common eternal occupation? Of what use are those pictures of heavenly life, if they do not shape our life on earth? In heaven there will certainly be no partitions for Jews, Christians, Moslems, Buddhist, Hindus, and Atheists.
Can we only dream of the future family of peoples, when every country is like a park where 'governmental gardeners' are nursing various trees, bushes and flowers - especially those that are rare? Neither monoculture (to get the utmost profit) nor jungle (the strongest getting to the top) corresponds to the dignity of human beings. Thus, either w e lay out this park or it will remain a dream.
But the history of humankind clearly proves that we are unable to pull ourselves out of the mire by our own tuft. Take into consideration the current financial and economical crisis and the global warming, the teaching about the 'original sin' in the Christian creed, Buddha's teaching about the 'greed for life'. There is needed a real change in our mentality so that these parks come true.
"Nevertheless, we are still in need of a change of heart. We need to confront our inner resistances and cast a grateful look on creation, letting our heart be touched by its wounded reality and making a strong personal and communal commitment to healing it." See: HEALING A BROKEN WORLD, p. 7
What is needed are more and more people who are aware of their common origin and aim, and who are ready to turn over a new leaf and to live for others. How are we to tackle this? The answer is, by getting united in our prayers and actions for justice and peace. For there is a (personal?) force that can and will tackle it together with us.
Prayer is understood here in a comprehensive way as the 'yearning of the human heart' - comparable to the 'wordless jubilation' (Saint Augustine). It therefore needs not to be positively directed to (the one) God. There are unbelievers or atheists, too, who are longing for justice and peace and whose hearts go out to the poor, and perhaps it will just be they who will hear in the Last Judgment, 'You have my Father's blessing ...'
To join CS you needn't become an expert in breathing technics or in the Incessant Jesus Prayer. You will nevertheless profit by praying to the rhythm of your breath. Because you are practising something done through centuries by Buddhist and Christian monks, who have been striving in this way for illumination and peace (Hesychia).
Contrary to a secret conspiracy the CS-button/badge makes public
- either your actual taking part in CS,
- your inner attitude (longing for justice, siding with the poor),
- and your active commitment to the poor (living or working for them, sharing your possessions with them).
This sign or symbol has been taken from the mandala before which Brother Klaus prayed in his hermitage. Its core is the place for the symbol of any religion or world view - not only for Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Moslems, people of good will. It serves as a 'sign of unity' for people who differ by colour, race, religion, language, culture ...
Would it not be great, if such a companionship came into existence, and if people around the world recognized each other at first sight? The CS-badge will answer to the longing of the human heart for togetherness, and help to find someone with whom one can freely talk about one's attempts and achievements, difficulties and successes, questions and insights
Why t h i s badge?
How can you 'con-spire'? In the way of the Incessant Jesus Prayer, i.e. by calling upon God's mercy. Sit down, lay your hands into each other, relax, become aware of your breathing, take some deep 'drags' - inhaling the 'most precious breath of life' - and exhale in the same slow and attentive way. You can respire in this way also while you are walking, resting on your bed, etc.
Connect then with your breathing the words of the formula chosen by you. There is no sound of words to be heard, because you are praying mentally. Hence the name 'Prayer of the Heart'.
Possible Prayer for Jews, Christians, Moslems etc. *
By breathing in say the cursive, by breathing out the underlined words.
Keep praying in this way as long as you have decided before. The circumstances of your life will tell you how much time you should give CS - whether five, ten, twenty or more minutes are enough per day.
You may imagine thereby that you are looking into the face of Christ, the eternal judge, i.e. any face of a hungry, thirsty, homeless, sick, imprisoned, dead human being. The Judge will not ask first, 'Did you confess your faith in Jahwe, Christ, Allah, Buddha ... ?!
* The Prayer of Brother Klaus can help us to gain the spirit of unselfishness and detachment, if we say these words in a sincere and trustful way. Of course, we are afraid to ask God, Take away everything... and Give everything... But Jesus says, If you who are bad give good things to your children when they ask you, how much more your Father in heaven. He will give you his Holy Spirit. If we trust in his promise, we will experience its truth. When we have given away everything, and everything that stood between us (i.e. divided our heart), between us and God, and between us and our neighbour has been taken away from us, we shall be the most blessed human beings - here on earth already. Why then should we wait until death w i l l take away everything from us?!
For-with-of the Poor
CS is prayer f o r the 'poor' rich, so that they open their hearts and hands more and more for the poor. There is a special urgency to pray for the antisocial rich.
CS is prayer w i t h the poor, since love itself will urge us to share their life, respectively their living conditions. There have been rich people who have chosen this path in the past, some of them are well known. They left their castles and served the poor with their own hands. Saint Elizabeth said to her Hungarian maid servants while they were nursing the sick, "How glad we are that we can wash and feed Christ."
CS is prayer o f the 'rich' poor. But this is rather the aim than the reality of our life. There it is not any longer about social poverty but at stake is our attitude of detachment, our ability to surrender ourselves to God, to love wholeheartedly him, our neighbour and ourselves. The Beatitudes name it: Those who are poor before God. Let us hold alive in our hearts the longing for this Blessed Poverty, and let us pray that the Wonder of the Beatitudes (Mt 5,1-12a) will convert us.
The greatest part of humankind is living in poverty, which is caused for the most part by the rich and mighty who defend their stolen possessions even by force of arms. This injustice must not be tolerated. According to the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament especially the poor are loved by God. God sides with them against the rich, the mighty, the violent. If I want to be at God's side, my heart has to go out to the poor, orphans, strangers ...
As its name suggests, CON-Spiration for/with/of the poor aims at poverty. Poverty does not mean material need but to get rid of my attachment to possessions and to become free of greed.
Nobody wants to choose poverty in itself.
In the Christian creed the revelation of the mystery of God's love is crystallized in the dogma of his Trinity. His being 'three in one' is founded in the Father's totally giving himself away to his Son. The Son, too, gives himself up to the Father. The personified love of both is named Holy Spirit.
Since the Son of God has chosen the path of poverty (manger and cross), and - as the risen Lord - totally identifies himself with his humble brothers, I will ask him to move my heart this way: To identify more and more with the poor, and so become eventually united with God, who out of love to me became poor so that I become rich.
Hence poverty means to follow the example of Christ, means discipleship. For example to take up the Lord's advice, and to bind oneself by the vow of poverty to the poor Christ, as it happens in religious orders where nuns and monks, apart from their personal belongings, have no private possessions (cars, houses, bank accounts ...) - forming in this way a community of goods or, if you like, a commune. The founders of religions and those who have tried to restore the foundations of their religion had a special liking for poverty.
The modern way of life has to a large extent been shaped by the American way of life. It needs urgently and persistently a counterposition, because it causes great injustices and damages. Big business and globalization prophets want to lure people into this mentality: To become consumers, competitors, and careerists.
There is happiness and bliss in people who are really poor, poor in spirit and mind. God's blessing rests on them (Cf. Mt 5,3). They live in union and peace with themselves and with others - as is shown by their lives. To strive after that kind of poverty, pays off.
Whether we like it or not, in the course of our life we approach this aim. In the hour of our death we will leave everything behind. To be prepared for it means to give up a lot of things and persons that have troubled my heart.
By meditating on poverty you will certainly find enough reasons to side with it or, as Saint Francis said, to choose poverty as your bride.