If we knew what to pray for, every prayer would be answered. But we don’t. And they aren’t. Knowing that we don’t know is love’s first humiliation. It doesn’t mean we stop praying. It just means that henceforth we pray silently, without any words.
Love can only be known apophatically, that is, in terms of what it isn’t. Thus, love is not romance, not loyalty, not emotion, not anything we can say, point to, or believe in. Herein the humility of love. We don’t know what it is.
Born in a barn. Accumulated nothing. Tortured to death. Christmas is a meditation on humility. Our institutions have very little in the way of humility. This blanket statement does not exclude the church.
The Buddha. Jesus. Ramana Maharshi. Lao Tzu. It is difficult to imagine these eminences running. Two of them favoured donkeys. For reasons more suggestive than explicit, Lao Tzu is depicted sitting backwards on his humble beast. All these sages demonstrated high levels of lowness.
How will I be remembered? What’s my legacy? These are minstrel musings, an ego-generated mental entertainment. The under-appreciated and extravagantly named Victorian poet Coventry Patmore had a different kind of question: “Shall I, a gnat which dances in Thy ray, Dare to be reverent?”