Thought for the day

Sunday 26 March

Thy desire is thy prayer; and if thy desire is without ceasing, thy prayer will also be without ceasing. . . . The continuance of your longing is the continuance of your prayer.

Saint Augustine

I once had a physicist friend who would gladly discuss electric power; but harnessing the power of a passion or a craving – well, that was not dynamics; that was poetry. “Power,” he told me sternly, “is the capacity to do work. Work is the energy required to move a definite mass a definite distance. No movement, no work. No work, no power.”

Day or night I had never seen my friend far from his desk. Then late one evening I came out of a movie theater and saw him striding along like an athlete, several miles from his office. “What got you up from your desk?” I asked. “You’re breaking the habits of a lifetime.”

“Coffee,” he muttered. “I ran out of coffee.”

“Here,” I said, “a very definite mass has been propelled at least three miles, simply by one little desire for a cup of coffee.” He got my point.

Every deep desire is a prayer. Every desire also contains a certain quantum of energy – energy to grasp the desired goal.