“Praise to you, O God, Cherisher and Sustainer, my Judge and my Comforter, my Master and my Friend, my Lover and Leader and Lord”

I praise you, O God, for your power.

Every chain of causality, traced to its origins, leads to you.

All that is caused, all that is dependent, depends ultimately on you and your will. From your creative imagination, as from an inexhaustible fountain, there tumbles forth a ceaseless cataract of quarks and quasars, of philosophers and philodendrons, of colonels, kumquats, and kangaroos — all objectively real, all deriving their being from you, whose existence is the foundation of all other existence, and all pulsating with the energy that is creation’s echo of your own overflowing and endless life. I thank you, O God, for all that you have created, and in particular for creating me, for giving me existence. Praise to you, O God my Creator, praise to you!

I praise you, O God, for your wisdom.

All consciousness, all knowledge, all rationality, traced to its origins, leads to you.

Every philosopher, every scientist or engineer or technician, every artist or architect or poet or craftsman, is able to understand this world because you have made us fit agents, and made the world a fit object, for rational exploration. All of created reality is intrinsically intelligible because it is the product of your intelligence, and it is intelligible to us because you have made us rational beings, beings with a cognitive apparatus appropriate to the task of understanding reality. And our awareness of what we are leads to awareness of what you are, for we see that a rational mind cannot be the product of non-rational causes, and you guide us from consciousness to self-consciousness to the contemplation of your own uncaused, eternal, and necessarily omniscient mind.

I thank you, O God, for all that you have created, and in particular for creating me as a conscious, rational entity, a being capable of knowing the created world, of knowing myself, and of knowing my Creator. Praise to you, O God my Enlightener, praise to you!

I praise you, O God, for your goodness.

All moral awareness, all virtue, all justice, all benevolence, all love, traced to their origins lead to you.

Since our competence to make moral judgement is an instance of rational competence in general, we owe it to the fact that we are designed by you, the ultimate source of all wisdom and rationality. But that is only the beginning.

You have made us not only rational beings, but also social beings, beings who perceive ourselves more adequately through the eyes of a friend, a lover, a companion.

Just as children (at least normally) learned to value themselves by perceiving that their parents value them, and learn to love themselves and others by being loved, so I, knowing that you created me because you willed my existence and my nature, and that you care whether I live, care whether I am rational, care whether I am virtuous, am led to the joyous conclusion that I matter, matter not just to myself, but matter objectively.

When I am in a bad mood, and life seems dreary and pointless, I know that it has been judged otherwise by a wisdom not subject to moods.

When I am tempted to suppose that all values, including the value I place on myself and those I love, are arbitrary and subjective whims, and that objective worth is a fantasy, the knowledge of your benevolence toward me and all that you have created calls me back to sanity.

When I realize that I have behaved badly, and my self-esteem is shattered, and I wonder whether I am fit to live after all, I know that I face in you an implacably stern judge, one who accepts no excuses, but at the same time one who judges me, not in order to condemn and reject me, but in order to summon me to be the sort of person you intend that I shall be.

And because I know that you love me, I am enabled to love those around me, not with the gloomy altruism of a man who proposes to give his goods to his neighbors because he is unworthy to enjoy them himself, but with the joyous benevolence of a man who has encountered a great good fortune and says, “I feel so happy that I wish I could give a party and invite the whole world.” Because I know that you created them and intended them to grow into your image and likeness, to manifest on the human level your own power, wisdom, and goodness, I know how you intend me to love them, not with a casual disregard for their faults that makes love indistinguishable from contempt, but with an unswerving will for their rational self-interest.

Praise to you, O God, Cherisher and Sustainer, my Judge and my Comforter, my Master and my Friend, my Lover and Leader and Lord, praise to you!

 

~ James Kiefer

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One Response to “Praise to you, O God, Cherisher and Sustainer, my Judge and my Comforter, my Master and my Friend, my Lover and Leader and Lord”

  1. Fr Aidan Kimel says:

    It was brought to my attention this morning that the website that was hosting the works of James Kiefer has either crashed or been shut down. So I thought I’d put up this unpublished prayer by Jim that I saved from the site. The photo shows the altar of Jim’s home parish, St Paul’s Church in Washington, D.C.

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