Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This has been coming back to me since I read it last week

The quotation below is from here.


Georgiy, do you pray at night?”

“No, Father Abbot, at night I sleep, and that’s all!”

Fr. Gabriel looked at me disappointedly. “Too bad. You should pray at night as well.”

They say that nighttime prayer is the particular strength of a monk. One time Fr. John wanted to strengthen me in my calling to help me to see a little bit of just what the spiritual world really is, and so he blessed me to follow a particular rule of prayer – particularly at night. This time had been chosen by Fr. John so as to minimize any chance of distractions from the outside world. From two o’clock in the afternoon until ten o’clock at night I labored at my tasks, serving in the cattle yard in the cowshed; then all night long I was on night watch in the Dormition Square.

Fr. John blessed me to perform a particular rule of saying the Jesus Prayer in such a way as to let it fill my entire mind and heart and let go of all external thoughts and feelings – even the most correct and praiseworthy ones.

It is remarkable but true that if one secludes oneself in prayer and limits oneself in food, sleep, and interaction with people, while not allowing any idle thoughts to enter the mind, nor any passionate feelings to enter the heart, then very quickly one discovers a truth: besides oneself and other people in this world there is also Someone Else. And this Someone is patiently waiting to see whether we will pay attention to Him during our endless race through life. He is simply patiently waiting, because God never forces Himself on anyone. But if one continues to pray properly (here I must stress “properly”, in other words, without arrogance…), then before one’s spiritual gaze remarkable phenomena and images begin to appear.

The revered prelate St. Ignatius Brianchaninov writes: Use your time and energy to truly grasp your prayer as it acts in a holy way upon your inner body. There, deep inside you, prayer will open up new visions that will capture all your attention and bring you knowledge that the outer world cannot grasp, concepts of whose existence the outer world lacks even the slightest inkling.

There in the very depths of your heart you will see the fall of man, you will see your soul murdered by sin, and you will see many other mysteries that are hidden from the world and from the children of this world. But once this vision opens up to you, then look inwards even more intensely with all your might; look inwards, and follow where that look inside leads, and you will grow cold to all that is transitory and subject to decay, and to all that you used to feel before.

Book: “Everyday Saints”  


 H/T - Christ is in our midst

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