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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

O Lord, Open Our Lips

It may seem strange to assert that Catholics have forgotten how to pray. Surely we still beseech the Lord in times of distress. We attend Mass, we say the rosary. More than that, simply because we are human, by the grace of God the Spirit works within us, with unutterable groans and longings. We pray sometimes without knowing we are praying, "O Lord, help me!"
And yet the same march of vandalism that has stripped our churches of their art, and our schools of their traditional symbols of devotion to God and country, has impoverished our language of prayer, too. We may call it the curse of the modernist box. We had to dwell in "machines for living," said the modernist architect Le Corbusier. So he built machines all right, but whether human beings could really dwell in his blank concrete boxes was another matter. They were, I should say, apartment buildings for creatures with no felt connection either to the natural world or to the heavens above, but rather for functionaries within, or serfs beneath, the all-competent State. 

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