Friday, October 07, 2005

Malebranche's Prayer

O eternal Wisdom, I am not a light to myself; the bodies that surround me cannot enlighten me; the intelligences themselves cannot contain in their being the Reason that renders them wise, nor can they communicate this Reason to my mind. You alone are the light of angels and of men: you alone are the universal Reason of minds: you are yourself the Wisdom of the Father, the eternal, immutable, necessary Wisdom, who renders creatures and even the Creator wise, although in different ways. O my true and only teacher, appear to me: make me to see light in your light. I address myself to none but you; I wish to consult none but you. Speak, eternal Word, Word of the Father, Word in whom all things have been spoken, who speaks and who has spoken all things: speak, and speak so loudly as to make me understand despite the confused noise that my senses and my passions ceaselessly excite in my mind.

But, O Jesus, I pray that you speak nothing in me save to your glory, and make me to know nothing save your greatness, for all the treasures of the wisdom and the knowledge of God Himself are contained in you. Those who know you, know your Father: and those who know you and your Father are perfectly happy. Therefore make me to know, O Jesus, what you are, and how all things subsist in you. Penetrate my mind with the clarity of your light: burn my heart with the ardor of your love: and give me in the course of this work, which I compose only for your glory, expressions that are clear and true, vivid and lovely, in a word, worthy of you, and such that they are able to increase in me, and in those who will meditate carefully with me, the knowledge of your greatness, and a sense of your mercies.

[This prayer prefaces Malebranche's Christian and Metaphysical Meditations; the translation is mine.]

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