Wonder, an attitude that leads to prayer

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Learning to marvel is an essential attitude to open oneself to reality and to the contemplation of the works of God.

In the Bible, the psalmist prays thus: “Seeing your sky, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you fixed, what is man that you think of him, the son of a man, do you care? » ( Ps 8:4-5 ). It is a prayer of wonder.ADVERTISING

“Before the sacred character of life and of the human being, before the wonders of the universe, the only appropriate attitude is that of wonder,” wrote Pope John Paul II in his letter to artists. “From this wonder enthusiasm can arise. […] The people of today and tomorrow need this enthusiasm to face and overcome the crucial challenges that are on the horizon. Thanks to him, humanity, after each failure, will still be able to get up and resume its path.”

Without wonder, man suffers. For the American rabbi Abraham Heschel: “If we are devoid of wonder, we remain deaf to the sublime”, we remain blind to God’s creation. Only wonder leads to awareness of the beauty of creation, and therefore to knowledge of God. 

Sofia Cavalletti, Italian biblical scholar, who devoted her life to the catechesis of children, drawing inspiration from the educational principles of Maria Montessori, thought at length about the importance of wonder. According to her, wonder is the characteristic of those who have been able to live “by looking at and contemplating the world around them in such a way that reality has revealed to them ever wider horizons”.

When wonder becomes a fundamental attitude of the mind, it gives a religious character to all of life, because it makes one live with the awareness of being immersed in a much greater, unfathomable and immeasurable reality.

This wonder thus exercised can easily lead to an attitude of prayer and thanksgiving before the beauty of Creation.

What can we do to avoid losing or regaining our capacity for wonder? “The surest – and quickest – way to marvel is to fix your gaze relentlessly on the same object. One day, this object will appear to us – miraculously – as if we had never seen it before,” explains Sofia Cavalletti. “Wonder, far from leading us out of reality, can only arise from attentive observation of it. Education in astonishment translates into an education that helps us penetrate deeper and deeper into reality. »

This wonder thus exercised can easily lead to an attitude of prayer and thanksgiving, before the beauty of Creation. Seeing so many wonders leads to praising one’s Creator and recognizing oneself as part of this wonderful creation.

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