Thursday, August 31, 2017

Prayer is Connected to Liturgical Life

Often we think of prayer as an independent action, saying a few words addressing God. But true prayer is much more and dependent on our participation in the liturgical life of the church.

Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra says
Prayer is linked with our worship, and especially with Holy Communion. If there is no worship and no Holy Communion, it is not possible for there to be prayer.
Why is this so? When I pray I pray to somebody. This somebody must exist. I have to know to whom I am praying. It is through Holy Communion that we become familiar with His existence.

The elder says,
I have to become familiar with His presence and existence. Christ the in-dwelling, Who is everywhere present, becomes present for me in my life through my participation in Holy Communion.
What happens in the sacrament of Holy Communion? When I participate I become an active member of the body of Christ. Taking Him in, allowing Him to permeate my whole being, united and in Him, I now have to participate in His properties. I am being united with His divinity.

The elder says,
Worship and Holy Communion are indissolubly united... They make God present and alive for me... He, through worship, tends toward me and I, through petition, tend towards Him.
To have a life of prayer it is essential to go to church and participate in the sacramental life of the church. Also, I must be praying to attend the Liturgy,

The elder says,
I cannot say I will go to church if I have not been praying. It is superfluous for me to go to church to attend Liturgy and useless for me to take Holy Communion if I am not continuously at prayer.
Prayer and the sacramental life depend on each other. They are interdependent.

Next we will address "what is prayer?"

From "Catechism on Prayer" in Spiritual Instruction and Discourses: The Authentic Seal by Archimandrite Aimilianos of Simonopetra, pp 196-198

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