Thursday, March 31, 2005


Tonight I audited a course that Ted is taking through a local college. Prayer is the subject. The professor (a monk and long time academic) was well credentialed and amiable, but as I watched him sitting there in his neat mint green shirt and khaki trousers, I couldn't help reflecting on the magnitude of his task. As we all know, you can teach the outward aspects of piety. You can teach someone to kneel and bow her head, to clasp her hands together like a saint in a Renaissance painting. And you can certainly teach the words of prayer, commit them to memory, recite them so often that you forget what they mean. But can you teach prayer itself? Might as well try to teach Love.

I had brought a notebook with me. It was a new Moleskine I'd saved for something special, but by the end of two hours, I'd only written three words:

Begin with Desire.

An excellent recipe for praying, for writing, or any passionate art, and perhaps, all I needed to learn for one night.

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