Prisoner of God

‘God, you are my God; I have sought you since daybreak…’ Slowly I am letting the phrase of the Psalm seep into me. There are not many of us in the chapel at this morning hour. I often come here at the end of the night’s great silence. I leave my body on the ground and make myself ready for you. At the start of our relationship I used to talk to you a lot. Now, more and more, I stay quiet before you. Are you not aware of what I am about to say, even before it comes to my lips? I keep silence in your presence. It is not that I really know you: but that is how I love to be. Do with this moment whatever seems good to you.

Strangely, God, these sources of distress do not touch me in that secret depth where I meet you. Am I running away from the reality of my everyday life? I do not believe so. I believe rather that you are the sole reality. That may be why our relationship seems so little affected by what is going on outside. Is ‘relationship’ the right word, though? I am silent for a lot of the time with you. You talk seldom — or rather, you talk in a strange manner: you come to confirm, in a kind of way, the words that are familiar to me from the Bible — by an inner certainty, as if you were addressing them to me, yes to me, that very day. Silent God. I love to listen for your word.

God, I have to speak to you today; you must hear me. What is happening? Are you just an illusion? — you, who have slowly made me accustomed to your presence; you, who used to be enough for my happiness… But am I mistaken? My brothers, the brothers whose life and destiny I share — they can’t all be wrong and I alone right. But then, who are you, if you’re not life in full flood? And as for me, what value does my life have, if it’s not a constant walking in your footsteps? What sort of life is a stationary life, God?

It’s over. The enthusiasm, God, in which you were one with ongoing life — that enthusiasm is shattered now. And you yourself, these days, when I come to present myself before you at dawn — you seem absent too, God. And yet you’re still the same. You haven’t changed because I’ve ceased to hope. Am I now going to have to wear myself out with your absence? Could you be an imaginary God, like water that runs away? Or rather is it that I am now unable to hold you in the hollow of my hand, to drink you? God, I may be unable to live without expecting anything of the morrow. But how can I live without you?

— Michel Benoît, Prisoner of God (trans. R. Clarke)

One response to “Prisoner of God

  1. I read ‘Prisoner of God’ a few months ago, and I was fascinated by the ceaseless passion of Micel Benoit to find God. As a person with an unsuccessful experience to find God through organized religion, I empathized his ups and downs.

    Weeks later, I came across a book which I would dare call a literary masterpiece of our time in spirituality – ‘A Course in Miracles.’ I have much more success finding a meaningful life through this book than I have ever imagined was possible. Though I am still a starting student in this line of spirituality, I believe it has so much wonderful messages to give to people. So I recommend the book to everyone. Remembering that Michel Benoit mentioned in his book that he now practices meditation, I wondered if he has actually come across this book. I couldn’t find his address online so I am posting this message here with the hope of reaching him. As a religious scholar, I am definitely sure Michel will find this book mesmerizing.

    Finally, I would like to mention that this book does not offer a ‘separate version’ of spirituality that you don’t find elsewhere. I actually came to know this book through another book that conveys exactly the same messages. This book, written by Eckhart Tolle, is a NYT bestselling and is entitled ‘The Power of Now.’ I would advise interested people to start with this book and then read ‘A Course in Miracles’ because it is easier to follow. In addition, ‘The Power of Now’ is written in terminology neutral from any religion while the ACIM is written Christian terminology. As a matter of fact, the authors claim not to have written it from themselves but say that it was simply conveyed to them from Christ. Considering the originality of its content and the beauty of its text, it is very difficult to challenge their claim. But the main test for its origin is of course its success in answering the questions it raises. I am very positive that it does.

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