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That’s why I now see clearly that, if there is any path at all on which I can approach You, it must lead through the very middle of my ordinary daily life. If I should try to flee to You by any other way, I’d actually be leaving myself behind, and that, aside from being quite impossible, would accomplish nothing at all.
But is there a path through my daily life that leads to You? Doesn’t this road take me ever farther away from You? Doesn’t it immerse me all the more deeply in the empty noise of worldly activity, where You, God of Quiet, do not dwell?
I realize that we gradually get tired of the feverish activity that seems so important to a young mind and heart. I know that the taedium vitae, of which the moral philosophers speak, and the feeling of satiety with life, which Your Scripture reports as the final earthly experience of Your patriarchs, will also become more and more my own lot. My daily routine will automatically turn into the great melancholy of life, thus indirectly leading me to You, the infinite counterpart of this earthly emptiness.
But I don’t have to be a Christian to know that — don’t the pagans experience it too? Is this the way my everyday life is supposed to lead to You? Do I come into Your presence just because this life has revealed its true face to me, finally admitting that all is vanity, all is misery?
Isn’t that the road to despair rather than the way to You? Isn’t it the crowning victory for routine, when a man’s burned-out heart no longer finds the least bit of joy in things that formerly gave him relief, when even the simple things of his ordinary life, which he used to be able to call upon to help him over the periods of boredom and emptiness, have now become tasteless to him?
Rahner, Karl. “Encounters with Silence.” In Spiritual Classics: Selected Readings on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines. Edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. New York: HarperOne, 2000