Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Prayer and Love of God

Saint Maximos the Confessor tells us, “He who genuinely loves God prays without distraction”. Therefore it should be very easy to love God in a genuine way. 

Elder Aimilianos says,
All we need to do is pay attention to where our mind goes. If it doesn’t go to God, we need to realize that our mind does not see clearly and has need of a physician...
What should be natural for us becomes difficult because our mind is unfocused and occupied with things other than God. Loving God should be easy and natural. God gave us a mind so we can be always connected with Him to do His will. Since we are created to Love Him, this should be a straightforward task.

What we need to realize is that the distractions we find during our prayer time is a sickness that needs to be cured. We must learn to make our prayer “stable and focused”, that is without any distractions. 

Elder Aimilianos says, 
When we see that our mind has wandered off to some habitual thought, memory, image, or experience, we should know that we are distancing ourselves from God.
All these distractions we experience should be seen as rival power for our affections, our love. The elder tells that it does not matter how good or grand any of these distractions may be. He says,
It would be better to be poor and wretched by not having such a thing, than by having it to wander away from God.
Having our mind focused on God should be natural for us. We know He loves us continually, without any condition. So, why do we allow our mind to be distracted when we are consciously trying to communicate with Him? Don’t we say we love God? Let’s listen to the teachings of our saints and elders like Saint Maximos and elder Aimilianos. They teach us the truth, showing us plainly what is necessary to draw close to God. They reveal to us the sickness of our mind that needs to be healed.

This purity of mind, an undistracted mind, one focused on God, is what we should desire. If we make this our primary desire we will begin to be healed with God’s help. God has not made this difficult. God’s desires our love and our union with Him.

Elder Aimilianos says 
If love is also undistracted prayer, then undistracted prayer is the easiest and most natural activity for the human mind; it is the natural human inclination, activity and movement of the mind to God....All the promises that God has made will become a reality for us. I know you are close to the love of God, and that you have this love when you pray correctly. I only ask that you fill my heart with joy and make my soul rejoice by being genuine children and genuine spouses of God.

Reference: Mystical Marriage by Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra, pp 22-25.

Ten Points for an Orthodox Way of Life

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