Lamentations: Prayers Rising From Pain
CINCINNATI—“What happens when we are overcome by the presence
of chaos…or by a sudden sense of our human vulnerability?” asks
Michael Guinan, O.F.M., in the March issue of St. Anthony Messenger.
His answer is that “we cry out in Lament,” a form of prayer that
has been somewhat forgotten in our modern times.
Father Guinan explores biblical lamentations in his article entitled
Biblical Laments: Prayer Out of Pain. Guinan, a Scripture
professor at the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkley, California,
discusses their biblical origins and how useful they can be today.
The article can also be found, after February 26, at: AmericanCatholic.org.
The prayer of lamentation, which can be described as a loud, religious
“Ouch,” is found at many points throughout the Bible, especially
in the Psalms. Job, no stranger to suffering, oftentimes cried
out to God in pain. Jesus himself lamented while dying on the
cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” But Guinan
argues that this dimension of prayer has been all but forgotten
and should be embraced on a more consistent basis.
Guinan says that lamenting is invaluable when wrestling with moments
of doubt: “At times, we experience God’s absence; we do feel alone
and confused.” When we lament, we know deep-down that God is with
us and is invaluable in helping us rise from our grief. “Even
if God seems not to hear, we believe that God is always within
Guinan believes that lamentations could prove essential in moving
through the pain and grief brought on by the tragedies of September
11. “Perhaps we are discovering that, as a nation, we have been
more traumatized than we initially thought,” he writes. Guinan
hopes that the lost art of lamenting can be a reinstated ingredient
in our spiritual lives. “The loss of lament has been costly; we
have much to gain by recovering it.”
Additional information about this special issue of the award-winning
national Catholic magazine can be found by searching AmericanCatholic.org.
Permission is granted to reprint this release.