Deconstructed By God

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What is prayer? It is no ism. It has to be thought of by praying. Mostly we pray using words. They are a witness to an intense event that builds an impasse in our lives. We turn to prayer seeking words to express what is holding us back. This is why Derrida says, “The event remains in and on the mouth, on the tip [bout] of the tongue, as is said in English and French, or on the edge of the lips passed over by words that carry themselves toward God. They are carried [porté], both exported and deported, by a movement of ference (transference, reference, difference) toward God”. This means prayer is not self-directed. Prayer does have a wish to return to the displaced condition in which a person finds himself or herself. Prayer, therefore, places us with a wish that is open to becoming different. Prayer yearns for the coming of the new way to be for oneself, for one’s community and for the world.

Prayer joins the God to come. Perseverance in prayer makes us patient for the coming of God. God can only be coming in his coming. Prayer can tune us to align to the coming of God. It becomes an expression of self-giving. It is giving without giving. God does not need our gift. But it is through that gift of prayer that we come back to the situation to live what can be called an ‘as-if’ time. ‘As-if’ time is Kairos. It is divine time. It is different from Chronos, our daily experience of time. The beauty of Kairos is that it is synchronic with the Chronos. This puts us into a chaosmic mode. Chaosmic mode is a creative imbalance. It is a creative disorder that enables us to leap into the ‘as-if’ time/ time that is out of joint.

‘As-if’ time is a time of love. When we are in love, we live ‘as-if’ we are in love. Living ‘as-if’ in love is more real than simply living. It adds a new reality to our life. Living in the ‘as-if’ time we align ourselves to the coming of love. True love stays in the coming. It is always pouring out endlessly. It keeps us in the sense of being summoned by love and we to try and become love. Being in love is being in an ‘as-if’ experience. It is difficult then to climb down from this new temporality. Although we remain in what may be ordinary temporality, our experience of time remains haunted. We seem to have the phantoms/spectres of our old love life inundating our now-time. We wish to put the clock back, we wish to live in the ‘as-if’ time of love again.

We can use Derrida’s notion of the impossible to understand our condition. Love is impossible. Ordinary time as well as our daily relationships mostly belong to the world of the possible. Love throws us into the impossible. it puts us in an out of joint with our ordinary time. It is a different temporality. It is intertwined with our ordinary time. it modifies and transforms our ordinary time. Our living in the ‘as if’ time is different and enjoyable experience of loving and being loved. This is why it is difficult to return to the possible. When one returns to the possible due to failure of love one limps back. Life thereafter is never the same. Love remains in the mode of coming. Hence, one limps to prayer often waiting for the return of love. Often prayer may become a waiting for the love to come.

Prayer too is impossible. It leaps us forward into the coming of the divine. It disposes us to join the divine with the response of Amen. We may need words, rituals, symbols to align ourselves to the coming God. The coming of God as an answer to our prayers is marked by different intensities. God’s coming cannot be framed into monadic sameness. There is an element of surprise to it. God’s coming stays beyond the horizon of safety or horizon of our expectations. This is why we can also align without words to the coming divine. Our Amen can be wordless. Being in the impossible, when we align with the coming God through prayer, we opened to new possibilities to come. They open us to a new experience of ‘as-if’ time. It is the time of the kingdom. It is a time of metanoetics. It transforms us. It answers our prayers. We are able to enter the Kairos. The Kairos is synchronous with our ordinary daily experience of the Chronos. It is the prayer that enables us to recognize the Kairos in the Chronoa

We always experience time in the coming. It just flows past us. It does not wait for us. It comes in the mode of coming. It cannot stay outside coming. Kairos also stays in the coming. It is attuned with the God to come. Hence, prayer brings us to the impossible. It brings us to the encounter with God in the coming. But we cannot empty God into a now. God continues to come and hence we need to come to our knees again and pray again so that we can live with the impossible. The synchronicity of the Kairos and the Chronos enables us to live a life of virtues and values of the kingdom. This means prayer transforms us not into passive beings lost in the hallow of the impossible. Prayer moves and shakes us. It leads us to action. It gives us possibilities to reach out to others in new ways.

This means prayer becomes an active space that disposes us to be deconstructed by God. Prayer is a state of readiness that cannot become frozen or fixed on any particular closures or outcomes in advance. Prayer empties our drawing board of life and opens us to new possibilities that are impossible without the tabula rasa of our life. Therefore, we have to empty ourselves to become full of divine life. Emptying lets us enter a space of waiting in hope and faith. Our hope is an open hope. It awaits the coming of the divine. The God that is to come leads us to closures of our life. This means in prayer we are deconstructed by God and led to destinies and purposes that he has for us. Prayer opens us to life to come. This life to come is lived in the time of grace in the metanoetic zone. It is a life that is lived in an ‘as-if’ time. The ‘As-if’ time is a bubble of the divine. It can burst. It is fragile. It needs constancy and perseverance in prayer. Therefore, prayer keeps us open to the life that is to come. We remain open to its coming and readily choose the destinies and purposes that God offers us. God does give us the grace of discernment to enter the ‘as-if’ time of God’s grace and live the Kairos that is synchronic with Chronos.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao