Thursday, 8 April 2010

Cataphatic Apophatic a healthy mix

Perhaps the distinction between the two is unnecessary but for academic purposes some like myself like the distinction as it relates to prayer. Basically apophatic approaches to prayer are more contemplative including alot of silence and appreciation of God who transcends the limitations of rational thought. Cataphatic is more related to what is called discursive prayer which is verbal and involves rational thought. Because of the over heavy leaning of our western culture towards cleverness and headiness it is natural for a spiritual seeker to gravitate at least at some part of her spiritual life towards the apophatic prayer. however when the dust is settled we realise it is unnecessary to put one against the other but rather to value both as important aspects of prayer. One informs the other. we need to think about the fact that God is bigger than we can imagine. We need to think about who it is we believe in. we need to recognise that worship does include our mind. Conversely we need also to take one step back and in awe and wonder recognise Go's transcendence. After a little excursion away from the Cataphatic I am now seeing its value and have decided to incorporate it (if I had ever really not) into my daily prayer life and not regard it as something inferior. Most 'sensible' people probably do both without realising it. It is only the anal types such as myself who feel the need to make these distinctions!

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