Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A Paradoxical Prayer

Every so often an ancient, forgotten document crosses my path or, to be more precise, is downloaded onto my Kindle.  Rooting around in the byways of obscurity, I came across this little gem.
O Father of confusions and sorrows, give us aid.
O Thou whose existence we doubt, doubt us not at such a time.
O ruler of the unrulable, O creator of the uncreated, O speaker of truths that lie, let our minds be clear and our aim accurate.
O mystery in clarity, O foulness in purity, O darkness in light, comfort us and guide and lead us.
Bring us not into error.
Cause us not to feel regret.
Remain with us now as on the first and last of all days.
Thou concealer of destinies and shatterer of patterns, be merciful, for in hatred lies love, in blindness lies sight, in falsehood lies righteousness.
Amen. Amen. Amen.
Profound, huh?

This little beauty would lend itself to a responsive reading in many a church.

Where does it hail from?

(1) A recent retranslation of one of the Nag Hammadi texts.
(2) A 19th century theosophical text by Charles Leadbeater
(3) A famous science fiction writer
(4) The unpublished letters of Joseph Smith, archived in Salt Lake City
(5) A 2nd century book of Marcionite prayers
(6) The young Charles Darwin, when studying theology prior to Voyage of the Beagle.

The answer tomorrow.  Meanwhile feel free to memorise, chant and recite at your personal discretion.

Yes, the prayer comes from the pen of sci-fi master Robert Silverberg in his novel Across a Billion Years, published in 1969.  Maybe not his finest work, but still an amusing tale.


  1. Paradoxianism was created by Robert Silverberg.
    The internet is amazing -- I found this via a Russian site posting his book with this quote in it.
    Do I get a prize?

  2. Sabio,

    Like they used to say in Marvel Comics: you win a no-prize! It will be arriving at your home in no time at all!

  3. i couldn't wait either, and so googled it, although my russian is poor, i was able to discern the author's name from the only other website to share this prayer. it's a nice prayer, but I don't think i'll be using it this mother's day.