Friday, April 23, 2010

Jesus Prayer - Thoughts from the Fathers

For Eastern Orthodox Christians the Jesus Prayer is one prayer that has been recognized over the centuries to be especially powerful.  It is much more than the recitation of a few words over and over.  It is a means of joining mystically with God.
"The action of the Jesus Prayer is always hidden by the greatest mysteries.  It does not consist merely in speaking the words, 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' but reaches the heart and mysteriously settles there. Through this prayer we enter into relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, we become accustomed to Him, we merge with Him into one whole. This prayer fills the soul with calm and joy amidst the most difficut trials, in the midst of every oppressions and human vanity."  St. Barsanuphius of Optima
It is a prayer which demands and aids in our focusing of the attention of our mind on our sinful state and our need for forgiveness by God.
"The essential properties of this prayer should be: attention ,the enclosure of the mind in the words of the prayer, extreme unhurriedness in pronouncing it, and contrition of spirit.... In the case of the Jesus Prayer, the mind is concentrated on a single thought: the thought of the sinner's forgiveness by Jesus."  St. Ignatius Brianchaninov
Through the practice of this prayer which involves many repetitions each day we are aided in developing of humility calling into us the Holy Spirit to transform our inner being into one of divine joy.
If we want to realize and know the truth... let our aim be to make the energy of prayer alone active in our hearts, for it brings warmth and joy to the spirit, and sets the heart alight with an effable love for God and man.  It is on account of this that humility and contrition flow richly from prayer. For Prayer in the beginners is the unceasing noetic activity of the Holy Spirit.  To start with it rises like a fire of joy from the heart; in the end it is like light made fragrant by Divine Energy.  St. Gregory of Sinai
For me personally, the Jesus Prayer has transformed my life.  For many years I denied my sinfulness, but now it is ever before me. I now struggle with contrition, but with hope and an inward burning zeal.  I ask for your prayers.

More on the Jesus Prayer 


Quotes found in Christ the Eternal Tao pp 341 - 344

2 comments:

  1. How does this juxtapose with the Apostle John's assertion in his first epistle that "We love, because He first loved us."?

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  2. I want to answer –– "Yes."
    But its not clear to me what your question is about. Can you expand your thought?
    Just because He loves us does not make us lovers of Him. We have a free will and can choose not to love even though He loves us always.

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