A Prayer for Lawrence Auster

Lawrence Auster is one of the seminal figures of latter-day Traditionalism. Many, many people have come to it, and to Christianity, as a result of his labors at View from the Right, one of the most important Traditionalist blogs. All true conservatives owe him a great debt of gratitude, including even those who feel at enmity with him; for whether or not they know it, and whether or not they have even read Lawrence’s writings, they have been influenced and informed by him, at least through those who have.

Lawrence is quite ill. For many months he has been suffering from cancer, and from related maladies brought on either by the disease itself, or by the chemo-therapy he has endured. While he has fought off the cancer for a long time, and soldiered bravely onward at VFR, his condition lately has worsened. Barring some sea change, his future here below seems at best bleak indeed.

It is time, and more than time, for all of us who owe him so much, and who hold him in such high regard, to do what we can to help him. So we of the Orthosphere have decided to organize a global vigil of massed intercessory prayer for him, using the web to propagate the effort as far and wide, and indeed as deep, as possible. Massed intercessory prayer has been the occasion of some truly remarkable events – not all of them physiological, by any means (and, for that matter, not all in the intended beneficiary of the prayer). Some background information may be found here.

If you wish to participate in the prayer, bless you; if you decide to use your own blogs, or email distribution lists, to spread the word, thanks. If you do, please ask respondents to post a notice of their intent to participate, as well as any comments or questions, at the Orthosphere. This will facilitate a coherent central conversation, give us all a sense of the size of the event as it builds momentum, answer frequently asked questions efficiently, and perhaps help us all learn more about prayer. The conversation can continue after the vigil; there is likely to be much to relate.

The vigil will happen in your time zone from 5:00 to 6:00 pm, Sunday, January 13. As evening falls, light a candle in an often used room, where those of your household will often see and take note of it. A burning flame is inherently interesting, and likely to be noticed. After you light the candle, and whenever you notice it again during the hour of the vigil, say a short prayer for Lawrence; something like this:

O LORD our Governor, whose help is in all the world, and by whom all things are made: bless now and keep thy servant Lawrence Auster, relieving him of all his troubles and travails, salving and healing all his wounds and illnesses, and restoring him to fullness of life in thee; and, at the last, call him home to everlasting joy in thy Heavenly Kingdom. All this I pray, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Or, just:

O LORD, I pray thee bless, keep and heal thy servant, Lawrence. Amen.

Or, pray wordlessly. The form of the prayer is important only because it helps form the intention thereof.

It helps, in praying, to engage one’s whole body in the effort; for the engagement of the body tends to entrain the otherwise distractible mind. Bodily involvement is facilitated by bowing the head, and, especially at the invocation of the Name, by crossing oneself.

There is of course no reason why you should confine your prayers for Lawrence to the hour of the vigil, and indeed I hope that you do not. Feel free to pray for him this very moment, and continuously! But do save some special oomph, as it were, for the massed intercession of the vigil.

Thank you; and may God bless and keep all you who read this.

BACKGROUND

I learned of massed intercessory prayer in 1998, when my thirteen year old son was struck by a catastrophic cerebral hemorrhage, and lay comatose in the ICU of our local Children’s Hospital. A neighbour of my mother in Maine lent her Healing, a book by Francis MacNutt, priest and pioneer of healing prayer in the Catholic Church, asking her to pass it on to me. She did, and I read it in the middle of the night, lying on a pallet on the floor next to my son’s bed. I recommend the book, which will deepen your faith as it explodes the limits of your understanding of what is possible to God in this profane world. MacNutt recounts many, many stories of truly amazing healing: full and instant remissions of terminal cancer, badly broken bones knit back together in minutes, and the like.

The ideal of massed intercessory prayer, as MacNutt describes it, is achieved when as many people as possible physically touch the beneficiary, and pray together for him with great intensity. This caught my imagination, but only two people were allowed in the ICU with my son at any time. So my father, himself an Anglican priest, suggested he use the massive distribution list that my wife’s email updates on my son’s condition had accumulated to organize a globally distributed hour of intercessory prayer. Because the vigil took several weeks to organize, by the time it took place my son had awakened, and had been moved to a private room; he had not yet moved or spoken at all, and we had been gently led to expect that he never would.

I spent the day of the vigil with my son. We weren’t allowed to have a candle at the hospital, but we spent the hour of vigil for California praying and reading from the Psalter. I had disciplined myself to expect that nothing remarkable would happen, and so I was not too disappointed when nothing did. Later that night, as the prayer vigil was ending far to the West in Hawaii, my son was being examined by a team of doctors, a daily ritual. One of them scraped a pen up the bottom of his paralyzed foot, a standard test that had been performed without result a hundred times since his admission. Jeremy said, “Ow! That really hurts!” Then he froze; so did all the doctors; so did I. The air in the room, I noticed, was somehow thick, or perhaps full, or perhaps again crowded. It had been chilly, but now was suddenly warm, without however being at all stuffy or close; indeed, it felt alive, like the air above a flowing river. And the floor, I noticed, seemed subtly tilted, as if a more fundamental gravitational field had revealed itself without however actually moving anything.

The stunned hush lasted for about fifteen seconds. Then normality snapped back into place from that liminal realm, and the doctors began talking excitedly; with the difference that in that renewed normality, my son could talk, could join again in their conversation.

This was not supposed to have happened, ever. My son had not been expected to speak again, ever; he had not made even a sound since the afternoon of the bleed. But now he was speaking in whole sentences, haltingly at first, but soon quite smoothly. He spoke to his mother and grandfather on the phone. His speech therapist came running in, tears streaming down her face, and they spoke together, holding hands. Nurses, doctors, therapists, custodians and guards flocked to his room from all parts of the hospital, grinning with elation, to see for themselves what had happened. The whole building, so doleful, so full of suffering infants, and of sorrowful adults, took on an air of happy celebration, as if a party had been declared in honor of a victory.

We kept on. Two weeks later there was another vigil. Again I was with my son. As the vigil ended far away over the Pacific, I had transferred him to a wheelchair so I could make his bed for the night. “Hey, Dad; look!” I turned: he was standing.

Amazing things can happen with prayer. With God, all things are possible. I have some fancy-shmancy philosophical theories about prayer that make it seem all reasonable and tidy, and intelligible (to me, anyway). But really, it’s not. Not that my theories are just wrong, but that while reality is surely intelligible, and orderly, it is also fundamentally wild, and far transcends our inward vision, no matter how far or well we see.

When we pray for Lawrence, we must school ourselves to the expectation that the answer, howsoever positive and agreeable under the aspect of Heaven, may not appear that way here below, either to us or to Lawrence. We must accept that under God’s purveyance, it is right and just that Lawrence, or we, should suffer for a time here below, and half a time, that God might work out his purpose in justice for all creation. We must accept that the blessing God allows to Lawrence may be a form of martyrdom, and that sooner rather than later. We must remember that all things are remembered in the Book of Life, and that at the end a meet compensation for all our injuries will be meted out to us, so that all is made whole and right.

So, we must pray that the cup of suffering might pass from Lawrence’s lips; but yet, that not our will, but God’s be done.

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74 thoughts on “A Prayer for Lawrence Auster

  1. Amen, Kristor. Thank you so much for sharing. Reading about your son brought me to tears. I will certainly be participating in this for Lawrence’s sake and, ultimately as with everything, for the One.

  2. Pingback: Spreading the Word about a Prayer Vigil for Lawrence Auster « Nomad Forgotten

  3. Pingback: A Prayer for Lawrence Auster « The Occidental Traditionalist

  4. I am in. Prayer has helped the Lord heal my wife from cancer and in the process converted us both to Christ. Mr Auster has been key in opening my mind to Traditionalism. May the Lord hold Mr. Auster in His loving arms.

  5. I have marked it on my calendar. I read VFR every day, and Mr. Auster has always been kind and gracious when I shoot him the occasional e-mail.

    Thank you, Kristor, for putting charity into action and organizing this. Thanks also for sharing the story of your son.

  6. Pingback: Prayer vigil for Lawrence Auster « Zippy Catholic

  7. Lawrence Auster has done so much to further my understanding of the truth and I know that goes for countless others. I will be joining in the prayer vigil – and bless you Kristor for initiating this.

  8. I’m in. It is always so difficult for us to pray, “thy will be done” (and really mean it). You have stated the case as well as anyone has ever done. Thank you.

  9. I have understood prayer as primarily a tool for a kind of shaping our own thinking, emotions, character. At least we Buddhists use it this way, and important elements of Christian prayer can also be interpreted this way, such as Lord’s Prayer: “your will be done” -> a self-training of making the ego smaller, basically “I shall accept that my will is not to be done”. Also, a Greek Orthodox popa told me the vast majority of religious services, activities from burial ceremony to marriage should be understood not as something to appease God, but as a specific kind of soul-training, soul-shaping for the benefit of people, either to function better in the world, or be able to see God in the afterlife. Do Catholics tend to share this view?

    From the Buddhist point of view it is easy to understand why massive intercessory prayer works: because reality is ultimately a projection of our minds, so our thoughts, wishes etc. change it, usually a miniscule amount of course, as our mental habits are so brutally strong, the collective dream they project looks almost real. But if many minds focus on the same wish, reality will be “bended”. Or at least there is a chance. I think it is a whole lot harder to explain it from the viewpoint of your firm belief in objective reality :-) Anyway, all I want to say, even we “idolators” say this can work, so keep up the hope!

    • Shenpen: Essentially all Christian activity of a purely religious nature is aimed in part at conforming the human will to God; at, i.e., righteousness. But this is accomplished, not by some creaturely production, but rather by our acceptance of the salvation offered to us in Christ Jesus, who has himself, as God, made already the perfect sacrifice for our sins.

      The notion that creaturely works can somehow appease God’s wrath is utterly rejected by Christian doctrine, which insists that no creaturely offering, no matter how great, can possibly suffice to compensate for our sins. Anyone who says Christians are trying to appease God doesn’t know basic Christian doctrine.

      Allow me to ask a question that betrays my ignorance of basic Buddhist doctrine: how does Buddhism get around the problem of retortion? What I mean is, if it is true as Buddhism says that there is no objective reality, then there is nothing that a statement might even be about. In that case, no statement can even be meaningful, let alone true or false. But that being so, the statements that express Buddhism itself must all be meaningless nonsense. Acosmism, then, would seem to be self-refuting.

      Furthermore, if Buddhism is true then the statements of Buddhism would seem not to exist at all, so that in reality there is just no such thing as Buddhism. How does Buddhism get around that?

      • Simply by not caring that much about statements at all. Your mindset – which goes back to the age of Platon – is essentially a mindset very strongly influenced by geometry, mathemathics and formal logic. A large part of the Classical Greek – Christian tradition developed from these origins, and it means taking concepts and logic very seriously. Anything Ed Feser talks about, he ends up talking about triangles :-) But Buddhism is more like cooking. A pragmatic attitude. Ultimately, what matters is not whether the recipe contains some contradictions, but what matters is that the soup should be tasty. If it is achieved, even through a somewhat illogical recipe, it simply shows reality is too complicated to accurately model with words, but if it works, it works. The closest relative in Western thinking is a Burkean-style skeptical conservatism. Or even closer: Michael Oakeshott’s distinction between rational and practical knowledge. I recommend reading Oakeshott, not only because of what can one learn from him, but also I think reading him made my English writing better, he is a really fine writer. PDF warning: http://www.mmisi.org/pr/21_01/franco.pdf

        This is actually why I have a lot of respect of Christianity. The actual practice, like the ego-reduction, humility-training in the Lord’s Prayer seems rather useful to me even though I don’t agree with the narrative behind it. Pretty much anything results in a better “soup” than the self-worship of modernity…

      • It appears to be so. Perhaps Buddhism is more a tool, less a guide. Those who use the tool are admittedly respectable from a Christian viewpoint. But as Shen’ said, your demand for “logic” will not be satiated with Buddhism (the reason I rejected it and moved on very early in my studies.)

  10. Lawrence Auster is a great thinker and writer, and while I believe in an objective reality as a foundation of a monist construct, I also believe in the power of mythic imagination and will put it to work for Mr. Auster.

    • St. Isidore was proposed as the patron saint of the Internet at one point. That’s about the closest I know to a patron saint of bloggers.

      Come to think of it though, St. Francis de Sales is the patron saint of writers.

  11. I didn’t read the date very carefully, so I already prayed today. But I’ll be back next week.

    I’m happy not to be alone in thinking that Mr. Auster’s continued presence as a teacher in this world is very important.

  12. As NYC-area Orthospherites, my wife and I have had the pleasure of meeting Larry Auster in person on a couple occassions over the past year and can confirm that he is a gracious, genuine, and thoughtful man. I had known of his cancer, but the times we met in uptown he seemed so hale and hearty that I thought that perhaps the whole thing had gone into remission.

    We already lit a candle for him this past Sunday and will continue to do so on the 13th.

  13. Pingback: A Prayer for Lawrence Auster » DoublethinkNot

  14. Via email courtesy of Laura Wood, rpg wrote:

    … I’m just wondering if we should all be praying simultaneously in real time, rather than going by time zone. If I don’t hear any further, I of course will go with time zone. I pray for him every Friday night anyway.

    I responded:

    The difficulty is that the reach of the web is global. The prayer vigil for my son involved monasteries in Tibet, Japan, Scotland, and Italy; it also involved whole congregations assembling in Toronto, Wales, and France. It’s just not possible to make it happen for everyone at the same hour.

    Not to worry; so far as God is concerned, all time is now. When a transaction between two beings occurs, it occurs by his mediation (for he keeps the causal order). So everything that happens between two creatures must pass through the Divine switchboard, as it were, which is not bound by either time or space, but is on the contrary the ultimate Bound in virtue of which there are such things as time or space.

    God knows the “address” of every being, and no message ever fails of proper delivery. All that matters to prayer, then, is the address attached thereto by the intention of the one who prays.

      • Maybe. Dunno. This was a Buddhist monastery, I think. I wasn’t keeping close track at the time. I think the monastery in Japan was Buddhist, too. We also had a lot of New Agers praying. And Episcopalians!

        Like I said, God knows everyone’s addresses and intentions.

  15. Pingback: Prayer Vigil for Lawrence Auster « The Orthosphere

  16. Pingback: The Thinking Housewife › Prayers for Lawrence Auster

  17. Count me in but I will not be able to meet the time line as church commitments that Sunday will prevent it.

    I know that God heals and that Jesus died not only for our sins but also our healing (Isa 53:5). He healed me from a usually fatal malady 10 years ago and I’ve seen Him heal others.

    Come with reverence before the Lord, praying in Jesus’ name!

  18. Pingback: Randoms « Foseti

  19. I’m very impressed by Lawrence Auster’s dedication to his mission, moral clarity, intellectual honesty, stubborn pursuit of the truth, willingness to share his work and incredible courage in front of suffering.

    Yes, he is a guide to many of us.

    (This from France.)

  20. Thanks for organising this global vigil of intercessory prayer, Kristor. Lawrence Auster is a remarkable and courageous man and he has also helped me understand many of the background causes to the issues we are facing today. The Anticohian Mission of Christ the Saviour here in Whangarei, New Zealand will meet and pray during the time nominated.

  21. Pingback: - A prayer vigil and some links | The Woman and the Dragon

  22. I will participate in the prayer vigil myself and have placed a note up on my own blog asking my readers to consider participating as well and directing them here for more information.

  23. Pingback: Prayer Vigil for Lawrence Auster « S y d n e y T r a d s

  24. I’ll be lighting a candle for Lawrence who will be foremost in my prayers today. May our Merciful Lord heal his afflictions. Many thanks to Kristor for initiating this intercession.

  25. I will be at work this evening and won’t be able to light a candle, but I will pray this prayer out loud three times during the hour.

  26. I have been regularly praying for Mr. Auster ever since he first posted about his illness at VFR. I lit a votive candle for him after mass this morning, and will of course participate in the vigil later this afternoon.

  27. Pingback: What Happened to You During the Vigil? « The Orthosphere

  28. I cannot let this column pass, and let so many, many people remain in error and fallacy.

    First off, Mr. Auster never once (as has Brother Nathanael Kapner, of ‘www.realjewnews.com’) repudiated his jewishness, upon adoption of a confession of Christianity. Without that repudiation and renouncing of ‘jewish error,’ his conversion is not valid, nor is it efficacious; for, as the fathers tell us, a Jew must repudiate his very jewishness, in order to be embraced in the bosom of Holy Mother Church. [cf. Br. Kapner, and Israel [Adam] Shamir, both Jews, both converts to Orthodoxy] Therefore, as he has not ceased being a Jew, Mr. Auster is ipso facto, not a Christian, for his primary allegiance is not to the race of the Second Adam, i.e., Christ, but to the Deicides, for whom the curse of God remains. [Matt. 27:25] I have read of that ‘first love’ often, the times I have read his columns.

    Secondly, McNutt’s book (as a manual of valid prayer), is nothing less a smokescreen treatise on the graceless Novus Ordo Vatican II heresy, and not much more. While intercessory prayer is valid, (and God can use the prayers of unrighteous men and women as much as he can those of ‘the household of Faith,’) it is better to be united with the Vine, than severed apart from it. Both the Orthodox, as well as every single Reformer, has noted, and continues to note, that ‘Rome is no true Church.’

    Thirdly, while the traditionalist Anglicanism that Auster joined has much to recommend it, the recent ‘invitation’ for said communions to join to apostate Rome, (and the resultant eagerness of many deluded ‘Anglicans’ to ‘pope over’) clearly indicated that the Anglicans- even the most traditionalist among them- clearly had not learned the lessons the Caroline Divines had pointed out some two hundred- plus years before; that the “Greek” Church (i.e., the Orthodox Christian religion from before the Schism of 1054) was more ‘truth-giving’ for the Anglican’s understanding of the Faith, than the Rome the Reformers had broken away from.

    Lastly, if Mr. Auster has turned many people to ‘traditionalism.’ it is only toward his own aberrant form of it, and not Truth itself. For the which, as a: 1) Jew, and 2) sectarian Protestant cultist, he stands not much higher than Arius or Nestorius, in the panoply of ‘Christians’ which the Church’s history has given us. I will say this in his favor- at least he is not a Judas.

    It would be better, thus, to pray for Mr. Auster’s true conversion to the ‘faith once delivered unto the saints’ prior to his foreordained end, that for the ‘cleansing fire’ of the Holy Spirit to fall on one not even regenerate is a horrible thing, [Heb. 10:31] if the belief, writings, and actions of such a man are any indication of his ‘traditionalism.’

    There are those who will call such truth-telling, insensitive, or even ‘hateful.’ But my standards are much higher than the platitudes of false piety so often on display today, among the many so-called ‘Christians.’ I have to answer to the same God as St. Paul, who said to the clueless of his day, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” [Gal. 4:16] Which is, (of course) the very definition of what a true Christian is all about, anyway. [John 14:6, John 17:17]

    - Fr. John+

  29. Pingback: LAWRENCE AUSTER: JANUARY 26, 1949 – MARCH 29, 2013 | earthman's blog

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