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St. Anthony Messenger: Panting After Peace in Prayer



As I began climbing the mountain at the Franciscan sanctuary of La Verna in central Italy, the great Franciscan theologian Bonaventure’s words came to mind. In climbing that same mountain nearly eight centuries before, Bonaventure once commented that he was “panting after peace,” a phrase that, I believe, contains within it a powerful architecture for prayer. 


There is a beautiful depth to the word panting. After a strenuous run or hike, I might find myself panting heavily, but my body continues breathing nonetheless, almost reaching into the deepest parts of myself (and the world around me) for air. In prayer, we let ourselves come to God imperfectly, pantingly, yet in this honesty about our condition, we are becoming even more dependent upon our source—the very spirit that dwells within each of us. In this sense, we can think of prayer as the human heart gasping for the inner life-source of spirit, a rich inner movement into vulnerability...


This column was published in the March 2024 issue of the St. Anthony Messenger. You can finish reading the article here. Please support the St. Anthony Messenger by subscribing.

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