I have been corresponding via email with one of our commenters. The correspondence began when I chided him for pushing the envelope on our comments policy. Slowly, gradually he has revealed to me that he is a young man of Hindu descent, who has been converted to Christianity, to a love of the West, and to Traditionalism. He is an earnest, ardent fellow, eager to learn. He has for the last many months been suffering terribly from leukemia, and of course from the many side effects of that disease and its treatments, and of the treatments of those side effects. He is sore beset, and so has not the physiological resources to suffer fools patiently. Thus the chiding.
Please remember him in your prayers, not just as a valued member of the Orthosphere community, but as a child who has been singled out – we can’t know why – for more than his fair share of suffering. Because he wishes to remain private, I cannot identify him, or tell you where he is. But God knows his address – indeed, in a sense God just is his address, no? – and will see that our prayers are properly routed, in just the way that he provides for the proper order of things. So your prayers will not go to waste.
Indeed, they cannot.
A prayer is a gesture in the direction of a certain sort of future, an indication and invitation. What we intend in prayer, we extend ontologically; the form and end of our prayers influence the future, at least at the margins. A prayer is (among other things) a lure, a proposal to the future that it should form itself according to the intentions of him that prays.
And just as no pain is lost or wasted, neither is any prayer. Like the shape of a stone, your prayer is an aspect of the character of a concrete fact: you, at the moment of your prayer. What you do shapes what you are, and forms the nature of your contribution to the course of events. And the world cannot remain a world and fail to take causal account of any of its constituent facts (even if only to reject them as appropriate proposals). Your prayers are such facts. Like the mass of a stone that curves all space, your prayers are therefore factors of history. As the world shapes itself in accord with the fact of your prayer, your prayer influences the character of the whole extensive continuum.
If enough of us pray, and if our intentions agree with those of the First Prayer – the Word, the Logos, God’s Spell, the incantation that sounded in the formless void as “fiat lux” – then the tendency of things will bend toward the direction of our intentions (whether or not it seems to us that they have – God’s “yes” can sometimes seem, to our darkened sight, awfully like a “no”).
Pray, then – I pray you – for the recovery and salvation of my young correspondent, and a happy issue out of all his afflictions.