Orthodoxy Today
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Unceasing Prayer—Bibilography and Notes

R1. The New Testament
R2. The Philokalia, Volumes I, II, III, IV, translated by G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, Kallistos Ware
R3. Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart, translated by E. Kaldoubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer
R4. Early Fathers from the Philokalia, translated by E. Kaldoubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer
R5. St Gregory Palamas: The Triads, translated by Nicholas Gendle
R6. Treatise on the Spiritual Life, by St Gregory Palamas
R7. A Study of Gregory Palamas, by Fr John Meyendorff
R8. St Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality, by Fr John Meyendorff
R9. Unseen Warfare, by L. Scupoli, edited by St Nicodemus the Hagiorite and, later, by St Theophan the Recluse
R10. Prayer in the Unseen Warfare, by Jack Sparks
R11. The Inner Kingdom, by Bishop Kallistus Ware
R12. On Prayer, by St Theophan the Recluse
R13. On the Prayer of Jesus, by St Ignatius Brianchaninov
R14. The Ladder Of Divine Ascent, by St John Climacus
R15. The Life of Moses, by St Gregory Nyssa
R16. In the Light of Christ: St Symeon The New Theologian, by Archbishop Basil Krivocheine
R17. The Way of a Pilgrim, translated by R.M. French; The Way of a Pilgrim Annotated & Explained, translated. by G. Pokrovsky
R18. The Art of Prayer – An Orthodox Anthology, by Igumen Chariton of Valamo
R19. The Macarian Homilies and Symeon the New Theologian, by A Hatzopoulos
R20. Merton on Hesychasm - The Prayer of the Heart, edited by Bernadette Dieker and Jonathan Montaldo
R21. On Prayer, by St John Of Kronstadt
R22. The Jesus Prayer, by Fr David Hester
R23. The Deification of Man, by G.I. Mantzaridis
R24. The Vision of God, by Vladimir Lossky
R25. The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, by Vladimir Lossky
R26. In the Image and Likeness of God, by Vladimir Lossky
R27. Byzantine Theology, by Fr John Meyendorff
R28. Themes from the Philokalia, Volumes 1 and 2, by Fr Ioannikios
R29. Letters from the Desert, by Barsanuphios and John
R30. A Method of Prayer for Modern Times, by Bishop Eugraph Kovalevsky
R31. The Way of the Ascetics, by Tito Colliander
R32. The Experience of God, Volumes I and II, by Fr Dumitru Staniloae
R33. Prayer and Holiness, by Fr Dumitru Staniloae
R34. How Are We Saved? by Bishop Kallistus Ware
R35. The Praktikos Chapters on Prayer, by Evagrius Ponticus
R36. The Syriac Fathers on Prayer, by Sebastian Brock
R37. Orthodox Prayer Life, by Matthew The Poor
R38. Beginning to Pray, by Archbishop Anthony Bloom
R39. Inner Way: Toward a Rebirth of Eastern Christian Spiritual Direction, by Fr Joseph Allen
R40. Partakers of Divine Nature, by Fr. Christoforos Stavropoulos
R41. The New Testament Introduction: Mark And Paul, by Fr Paul Tarazi
R42. St Gregory Palamas as a Hagiorite, by Metropolitan Ierotheos Vlachos
R43. A Night in the Desert of the Holy Mountain, by Metropolitan Ierotheos Vlachos
R44. The Burning Bush, by Fr Lev Gillet
R45. On the Invocation of the Name of Jesus, by Fr Lev Gillet
R46. Treatise on Prayer, by St Symeon of Thessalonike
R47. The Place of the Heart, by Elisabeth Behr-Sigel
R48. Philokalia – The Bible of Orthodox Spirituality, by Fr Anthony Coniaris
R49. The Heart of Salvation, by Esther Williams
R50. The Heart: An Orthodox Christian Spiritual Guide, by Fr Spyridon Logothetis
R51. On Heresies: Saint John of Damascus, Writings, translated by F.H. Chase

Notes

1. For example, the Psalms are, essentially, a vast prayer offered to God from, almost, as many angles as there are human experiences.
2. Jn 16: 23 “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.”
3. Jn 14: 16 “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever,”
4. Hebrews 7: 25 “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them.”
5. The New Testament mentions frequently that Jesus prayed, eg, Mt 14:32 “And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on a mountain by Himself to pray…” Also, Hebrews 5:7 “…in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications…”etc.
6. R14 p271 St John Climacus: “Faith is the wing of prayer, and without it my prayer will return to my bosom.”
7. Mk 11: 22-24 “So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
8. Hebrews 11: 6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
9. James 1: 6,7 “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;”
10. Mt 8: 13 “Then Jesus said to the Centurion, "Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.'' And his servant was healed that same hour.”
Mt 9: 28-30 “And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith let it be to you.’ And their eyes were opened.”
12. Mk 5: 36 “As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Do not be afraid; only believe.’”
13. Mk 9: 23 “Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’”
14. Lk 8: 48 “And He said to her, ‘Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.’”
15. R21 p37 St John of Kronstadt: “The attributes of prayer must be love of God, sincerity and simplicity.”
16. eg, Mt 6: 5, 15 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward… But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
17. eg, Mt 15: 7-9 “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'”
18. Jn 4: 24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
19. eg, Ps 4: 1 “Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me when I was in distress; have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.”
20. Lk 11: 5-13 “And He said to them, ‘Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; and he will answer from within and say, Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you'? "I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. And I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
21. Mk 7: 24-30 “And He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden. For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and she came and fell at His feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. But Jesus said to her, ‘Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs.’ And she answered and said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children's crumbs.’ Then He said to her, ‘For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.’ And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed.”
22. R14 p276 St John Climacus: “Prayer brings one sort of joy to those living in community, and another to those praying in stillness. Elation is sometimes characteristic of the former, but humility is always to be found in the latter.”
23. R14 p276 St John Climacus: “However pure you may be, do not be forward in your dealings with God. Approach Him rather in humility, and you will be given still more boldness. And even if you have climbed the whole ladder of virtues, pray still for the forgiveness of sins. Heed Paul’s cry regarding sinners ‘of whom I am chief.’ (1 Tim 1:15)”
24. eg, 2 Chronicles 7: 14 “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
25. eg, 2 Chronicles 34: 27 “’because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words … and you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,’ says the Lord.”
26. R21 p52 St John of Kronstadt: “When you pray, keep to the rule that it is better to say five words from the depth of your heart than ten thousand words with your tongue only.”
27. R3 p327 St Philotheus of Sinai: “If we sincerely wish to guard our mind in the Lord, we have need of great humility, first in relation to God, and, second, in relation to men.”
28. R3 p88 St Gregory of Sinai: “Obedience for the sake of humility is capable of all virtue.”
29. R3 p83 St Gregory of Sinai: “In keeping silence, there are three virtues we should practice strictly and verify each hour whether we constantly abide in them, lest we be robbed by forgetfulness, and move outside them. They are: abstinence, not talking, and self-belittlement, ie, humility. They support and protect one another; prayer is born of them and grows without ceasing.”
30. R3 p282 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “He who struggles inwardly must practice at every moment these four (doings): humility, extreme attention, resistance to thoughts, and prayer.”
31. R3 p324 St Philotheus of Sinai: “Where there is humility, remembrance of God with sobriety and attention, and frequent prayer directed against enemies, there is the place of God, or the heaven of the heart where the hosts of demons fear to enter, since it is the dwelling-place of God.”
32. eg, Deut 11: 13-15 “And it shall be that if you diligently obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled.”
33. Rom 6: 17 “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.”
34. R3 p180 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “Christ will stretch out His helping hand and we shall find the solution… building complete the oft praised house of spiritual architecture, that is, Divine silence, on the firm and immovable foundation of blessed obedience.”
35. Rom 6: 16 “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?”
36. Jn 14: 14 “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
37. 1 John 3: 22 “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”
38. Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
39. Mt 26: 36-46
40. Lk 15: 18-21 “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.' And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.'”
41. R14 p276 St John Climacus: “Oil and salt are the condiments of food; chastity and tears give flight to prayer.”
42. R39 p15 St Isaac the Syrian: “Why do you increase your bonds? Take hold of your life before your light grows dark, and seeking help you do not find it. This life has been given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits.”
43. eg, 1 Kings 8: 33-34 “When Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and when they turn back to You and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication to You in this temple, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to their fathers.”
44. eg, Jer 36: 7 “It may be that they will present their supplication before the Lord, and everyone will turn from his evil way…”
45. eg, Acts 8: 21-22 “…for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.”
46. eg, Nehemiah 1: 4-7 “So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said: "I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father's house and I have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.”
47. eg, Daniel 9: 4-11 “And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, ‘O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You. O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him.’”
48. Lk 18: 13-14 “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
49. James 5: 16 “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
50. R14 p275 St John Climacus: “When you set out to appear before the Lord, let the garment of your soul be woven throughout with the thread of wrongs no longer remembered. Otherwise, prayer will be useless to you.”
51. Mt 6: 14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
52. Mt 5: 23-24 “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
53. Mt 5: 44-46 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”
54. Mt 6: 14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
55. Mt 18: 21-22 “Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
56. Mk 11: 22-26 “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
57. eg, the parable of the ungrateful servant in Mt 18: 23-35
58. eg, Lk 6: 20-49; as, for example, in the verse Lk 6:28: "bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”
59. 1 Cor 13 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
60. R14 p195 St John Climacus: “The truly obedient monk often becomes suddenly radiant and exultant during his prayers.”
61. Mt 6: 5-6 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
62. eg, Lk 6: 12 “Now it came to pass…that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”
63. Mt 9:15 “And Jesus said to them, "Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
64. Mt 17: 20-21 “…for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
65. Mk 9: 28-29 “His disciples asked Him privately, ‘Why could we not cast him out?’ So He said to them, ‘This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.’”
66. Ps 35: 13 “But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; And my prayer would return to my own heart.”
67. Nehemiah 1: 4 “… I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”
68. Lk 3: 37 “and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.”
69. Acts 10: 30 “And Cornelius said, "Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,”
70. Acts 13: 3 “Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.”
71. Acts 14: 23 “So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”
72. 1 Cor 7: 5 “Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
73. R3 p40 St Gregory of Sinai: “Those who struggle, regain their original state by keeping two commandments – obedience and fasting; for all evil entered into the generation of mortals through practices opposed to them. Moreover, those who keep the commandments through obedience ascend to God more quickly, and those who keep them trough fasting – more slowly. Besides, obedience is more suitable for beginners, and fasting for those on the way, who possess courage and vision of mind. But in fulfilling the commandments it is given to very few always to obey God undeceived, and even for the most valiant this achievement is very difficult.”
74. R14 p280 St John Climacus: “Ask with tears, seek with obedience, knock with patience. For so it goes that ‘Everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.’ (Mt 7:8)”
75. Lk 18: 2-8 “…There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, Avenge me of my adversary.' And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily...’”
76. Acts 12: 5 “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.”
77. eg, Eph 6: 18 “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints”
78. R14 p281 St John Climacus: “Hold onto the staff of prayer and you will not fall. And even a fall will not be fatal, since prayer is a devout coercion of God. (cf Lk 18:5)
79. eg, Lk 11: 5-13, quoted in a footnote #20
80. eg, Ps 66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.”
81. eg, Mt 5: 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
82. 1 Thess 5: 16-23 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit... Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every… evil… may the God of peace… sanctify you… and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
83. I John 5: 14,15 “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
84. R14 p271 St John Climacus: “In my prayer, I will offer up my will, and from God I will draw assurance.”
85. Mt 6: 13 “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
86. Philippians 2: 5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”
87. Acts 19: 13-16 “Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘We adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.’ Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”
88. eg, Jn 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
89. Mt 28:19 “…in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
90. Jn 14: 13-14 “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
91. Jn 15: 7,16 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you… whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”
92. Jn 16: 23-24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you... Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
93. Acts 3: 6 “Then Peter said, ‘… In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’”
94. Eph 5: 20 “Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”
95. Rom 10:12 “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.”
96. 1 Cor 1:2 “… with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord…”
97. 2 Cor 12: 8-9 “Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
98. Acts 3: 16: “And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”
99. Eph 6: 18 “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints”
100. Jude 20 “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,”
101. Rom 8: 9,26,27 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His… Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
102. Ps 46: 10-11 “Be still, and know that I am God; …The Lord of hosts is with us;… God… is our refuge.”
103. R5 p 57 St Gregory Palamas: “The essence of God transcends the fact of being inaccessible to the senses, since God is not only above all created things but is even beyond Godhead. The excellence of Him Who surpasses all things is not only beyond affirmation, but also beyond all negation; it exceeds all excellence that is attainable by the mind.”
104. R20 p14 St Gregory of Nyssa: “The bridegroom is present but is not seen.”
105. R20 p14 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “Pray without images, shapes or forms, with an intellect, a nous and a soul that are entirely pure. Always keep your intellect free from color, form, shape and configuration, and from any quality or quantity.”
106. R32, Vol II, p44, Fr Dumitru Staniloae: “By creating human beings, God has committed Himself to lead them to deification.”
107. R3 p245 St Nilus: “Blessed is he who has comprehended (God’s) incomprehensibility, inseparable from prayer.”
108. R14 p143 St John Climacus: “Enlightenment is something indescribable, an activity that is unknowingly perceived and invisibly seen.”
109. R32, Vol I, Forward, Fr Dumitru Staniloae: “The Trinity alone assumes our existence as persons… Salvation and deification are nothing other than the extension to conscious creatures of the relations that obtain between the divine persons.”
110. 1 Cor 12:3 “No one can say Jesus Christ is Lord except in the Holy Spirit.”
111. Ps 51 10: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
112. 1 Thes 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”
113. Eph 6:18 “With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones.”
114. 1 Tim 2:8 “It is my wish then that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.”
115. Rom 12:12 “…be constant in prayer…”
116. 1 Thes 2:13 “We constantly thank God for you.”
117. 1 Tim 1:2 “Always I remember you in my prayers.”
118. Mt 9:27 The two blind men: “Have mercy on us Son of David.”
119. Lk 17:13 The ten lepers: “Jesus Master have mercy on us.”
120. Lk 18:13 The tax collector: “Have mercy on me, a sinner.”
121. There has been some controversy about the precise authorship of writings by several well known Fathers of the Church, eg, St Dionysius, St Hesychius of Jerusalem, St Nilus, St Isaac the Syrian, St Macarius of Egypt, et al. In this work, this issue has not been addressed and quotes are attributed to the exact name referenced in the source document, eg, The Philokalia.
122. Bishop Ierotheos in R42 p60: “St Dionysios the Aeropagite says in his writings that according to the holy Fathers the spiritual life has three stages: purification, illumination and perfection. We find this in the teachings of all the holy Fathers of the Church.”
123. R16 p80: Per St Symeon the New Theologian, the aims of prayer are humility, compunction and enlightenment in the Holy Spirit.
124. R21 p37 St John of Kronstadt: “Prayer breathes hope, and a prayer without hope is a sinful prayer.”
125. eg, Rom 12:12 “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;” and Col 4:2 “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.”
126. There are several sets of similar instructions throughout our patristic literature, eg, by St Symeon the New Theologian, (R8 p164), St Gregory of Sinai, (R13 p67, p68), St Nicephorus the Hesychast, (R8 p56), Sts Callistus and Ignatius, (R3 p192), and others.
127. R50 p17: “The heart is man’s feelings (affect). The heart is man’s volition (will). The heart is man’s mind (cognition). These three elements are together in one unbreakable unity. We… find … the same meaning in the… Scriptures and in the writings of the Fathers.”
128. R3 p201 St John Chrysostom: “When the devil sees a soul protected by virtues, he dare not come near it, fearing the strength and power given to it by prayer.”
129. R3 p169 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “The beginning of every action pleasing to God is calling with faith on the life-saving name of our Lord Jesus Christ, as He Himself said: ‘Without me you can do nothing’ (Jn 15:5) together with the peace and love which accompany this calling.”
130. R3 p65 St Gregory of Sinai: “Grace is not merely faith, but also active prayer. For the latter shows in practice true faith, made living by Jesus, for it comes from the Spirit through love.”
131. R21 p54 St John of Kronstadt: “When during prayer your heart is overwhelmed with despondency and melancholy, be sure that these proceed from the Devil, endeavoring by every means to hinder you in your prayer. Be firm, take courage, and by the remembrance of God drive away this deadly feeling.”
132. R21 p52 St John of Kronstadt: “When you observe that your heart is cold and prays unwillingly, stop praying and warm your heart by representing vividly to yourself your own wickedness, your spiritual poverty, misery and blindness, or the great benefits which God bestows every moment upon you and all mankind, especially upon Christians; and then pray slowly and feverishly.”
133. R3 p238, St Basil the Great: “Right prayer is that which actively implants the memory of God in the soul. The dwelling of God in the heart means to have God planted firmly in oneself by memory, when this memory is never interrupted by worldly cares, and the mind is not troubled by accidental passionate impulses. A lover of God flees all things and goes to God.” St Basil also spoke of combining our prayer with mental and spiritual actions such as glorifying and thanking God, confessing our sins, and asking that He bless our efforts to be saved.
134. R3 p196 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “Go to sleep and sleep with the prayer of Jesus.”
135. R3 p299 St Gregory the Theologian: “Let His most sweet name be joined to your breath; and then you will know the profit of silence.”
136. R8 p132 St Gregory Palamas: “At every hour invoke Him, Him Who is the object of our meditations, so that our mind may always be absorbed in Him and our attention concentrated each day on Him… invoke the name of God with your lips and also with desire and with thought so that the only saving remedy may be applied to all by which we have sinned, for there is no other name by which we are saved, as stated in Acts 4:12: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
137. R3 p193 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “A monk should always live with the name of Lord Jesus, so that the heart absorbs the Lord and the Lord the heart, and the two become one.” And: “Do not estrange your heart from God, but abide in Him and always guard your heart by remembering our lord Jesus Christ, until the name of the Lord becomes rooted in the heart and is ceases to think of anything else. May Christ be glorified in you.”
138. R3 p193 St John Climacus: “May the memory of Jesus combine with your breathing; then will you understand the use of silence.””
139. R3 p193 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “If you truly wish to cover thoughts with shame, to keep silence as you should and to be sober in your heart without effort, let the Jesus Prayer cleave to your breath – and in a few days you will see it in practice.”
140. R3 p195 St Nilus: “Attention seeking prayer will find prayer; for what most naturally follows upon attention is prayer, and it is upon prayer that our greatest efforts should be directed.”
141. R3 p197 St Nilus: “He who always brings all his first thoughts like ripe fruit to God makes his prayer heard.”
142. In Letter 15, St Theophan The Recluse, instructs us that we have nothing more important than prayer to do, as it reflects our faith and accompanies and energizes our good works in the name of God. But we need to “stand with reverence before God, with the mind in the heart, and strive toward Him with longing.” When we choose to live according to St Paul’s instructions and example, everything we think, feel, say and do, our entire life, small and big plans and pursuits, and even common gestures, all motivation for and results from our activities, are meant to be an offering to God. The unceasing prayer holds us fast onto His Presence (1 Cor 10:30 “Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.”) Praying unceasingly should not mean that we sidestep everything else and try to lead an exclusively contemplative lifestyle, but that we strive to live in such a way that we are constantly in the live presence of God while we do whatever we have to do on this Earth.
143. St Theophan the Recluse also quotes (in his 19th discourse) St Macarius of Egypt to have said: “’One must force oneself to pray, even if one has no spiritual prayer… in such a case, God, seeing that a man earnestly is striving, pushing himself against the will of his heart (that is his thoughts,) He grants him true prayer.’ By that, St Macarius meant the undistracted, collected, deep prayer that occurs when the mind stands unswervingly before God. In that exalted state, the mind discovers such peace and sweetness that it wishes to remain in the prayer forever, desiring nothing more.” St Macarius also believed that the goal of prayer is not the disincarnation of the mind, but a transfiguration of the entire person – soul and body – through the presence of the incarnate God, accessible to the conscious “certitude of the heart.”
144. According to St Dorotheus, R13 p51, we should be careful not to just pay lip service to prayer but pray with sincerity and warmth while guarding our heart and soul. The Prayer of the Heart needs gentle concentration and focus: “Do you wish to learn to pray with the mind and heart? I will teach you. At first you should make the prayer of Jesus with your voice, that is, with your lips, tongue and speech, aloud by yourself. When the lips, tongue and senses are satisfied with prayer pronounced vocally, then vocal prayer stops and it begins to be said in a whisper. After this, one should contemplate with the mind, and always regard and attend diligently to the feeling in the throat. The mental Prayer of the Heart constantly begins to rise automatically by the nod (of God – ie, by the action of divine grace) – begins to be carried about and act at all times, during every kind of work, in every place.”
145. R4 p412, St Philotheus of Sinai: “Let no one think, my brother Christians, that it is the duty only of priests and monks to pray without ceasing, and not of laymen. No, no; it is the duty of all of us Christians to remain always in prayer.” In the same vein, R11 p81, St Macarius of Egypt wrote: “Christians ought at all times to preserve the remembrance of God… in order that they may show love to the Lord not only when they go into the place of prayer, but that also when they are working, talking, or eating, they may preserve the remembrance of God, and a sense of love and yearning towards Him.”
146. R21 p27 St John of Kronstadt: “Prayer is a golden link connecting the Christian man, the wanderer and stranger upon the earth, with the spiritual world of which he is a member, and, above all, with God, the source of life. The soul came forth from God, and to God may it even ascend through prayer.”
147. R14 p52 St Diadochus of Photice: “The human intellect cannot rest inactive; if it is to be prevented from dispersing itself among a multiplicity of sensory objects, it must be provided with some inner task to satisfy its need for activity. For the complete fulfillment of its purpose we should give it nothing but the prayer ‘Lord Jesus...’ Let it continually concentrate on these words within its inner shrine with such intensity that it is not turned aside to any mental images.”
148. R3 p193 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “When we have accustomed our mind to enter within while inhaling, we shall have learnt in practice that at the moment when the mind is about to descend within, it forthwith rejects every thought and becomes single and naked, freed from all memory but that of calling on our Lord Jesus Christ. Conversely, when it comes out and turns towards the external, it immediately becomes distracted by varied memories.”
149. R3 p192 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “For the kingdom of God is within us, and for a man who has seen it within, and having found it through pure prayer, has experienced it, everything outside loses its attraction and value. It is no longer unpleasant and worrisome for him to be within. Just as a man who has been away from home, when he returns is beside himself with joy at seeing again his children and wife, so the mind, after being dispersed, when it reunites with the soul, is filled with unspeakable sweetness and joy.”
150. Gal 4:6 “God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit that cries ‘Abba, Father!’”
151. R3 p88 St Gregory of Sinai: “Works are many but they are individual; Prayer of the Heart is great and all-embracing, as the source of virtues, because every good is acquired thereby. St Maximus the Confessor says: “Nothing is more terrible than the thought of death, and nothing more glorious than remembrance of God” showing the supremacy of this doing. But in our times some people do not even want to hear about the existence of grace, because through their insensibility and ignorance they are blind and of little faith.”
152. R9 p220 St Gregory of Sinai: “Grace abides in us from the time of our holy baptism; but through our inattention, vanity and the wrong life we lead, it is stifled or buried. When a man resolves to lead a righteous life and is zealous for salvation, the fruit of his whole labor is, therefore, the restoration in force of this gift of grace. It comes to pass in a two-fold manner: first, this gift becomes revealed through many labors in following the commandments; in so far as a man succeeds in following the commandments, this gift becomes more radiant and brilliant. Secondly, it manifests and reveals itself through constant invocation of the Lord Jesus in prayer. The first method is powerful, but the second is more so, so that even the first method gains power through it. Thus, if we sincerely wish to open the seed of grace concealed in us, let us hasten to train ourselves in this latter exercise of the heart, and let us have only this work of prayer in our heart, without forms, without images, till it warms our heart and makes it burn with ineffable love of the Lord.”
153. R19 p215: “In all these passages the primacy of prayer is accepted, but this never means that other virtues are dismissed as superfluous; prayer, as the fruit, is assigned pride of place on the tree, but it is integrally joined to the branches which produce it.”
154. R19 p215 St Gregory of Nyssa: “We must cleave as much as possible to prayer; indeed it is like a leader of the chorus of virtues through which we ask God for the rest of the virtues. He who cleaves to prayer participates in and is united with it by mystical sanctity and spiritual action and ineffable disposition. For having here received the Spirit as his guide and ally he is kindled with love for the Lord and he is ardent in desire, never feeling satiety (????s) of prayer; he always burns (??????????s) with the love of good and then waters (?????) the soul with zeal.”
155. R3 p283 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “He who has no prayer free from thoughts has no weapon for battle. By prayer I mean the prayer which is constantly active in the innermost secret places of the soul, so that the enemy in his secret onslaughts is invisibly flogged and scorched by calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
156. R3 p212 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “If you wish while yet in your body to serve God as an incorporeal being, attain to constant secret Prayer of the Heart and your soul will become angelic even before death.”
157. R19 p215 St Mark the Monk: “Prayer is called a virtue, but in reality it is the mother of virtues: for it gives birth to them through union with Christ.”
158. R13 p66 St Nil Sorsky: “There are many virtuous actions, but they are all particular. But the Prayer of the Heart is the source of all blessings.”
159. R3 p227 St Barsanuphius: “If inner doing with God does not help a man, his external efforts are in vain. For inner doing with a contrite heart brings purity; purity brings true silence of the heart; this silence brings humility; humility prepares man to be the abode of God. By the power of God dwelling in a man, all demons and passions are cast out and man becomes a temple of God, full of sanctity, light, purity and grace. Blessed is he who contemplates the Lord in the innermost recesses of his heart and pours out his prayer with mourning to the loving kindness of the Lord.” (Answer 210)
160. R3 p238 St Maximus the Confessor: “The mind cannot be freed from passions solely through right activity, if it does not at the same time receive many and varied contemplations.”
161. R19 p215 Evagrius of Pontus: “As sight is superior to all the other senses, so prayer is more divine than all the other virtues.”
162. R25 p207 Lossky: “All the virtues together subserve perfection in prayer; while the virtues cannot possibly be assured if the spirit is not constantly turned towards prayer. Moreover, the greatest of the virtues, charity, that love of God in which the mystical union is accomplished, is itself the fruit of prayer, ?????????????s? ????s, as St Isaac the Syrian says. For, in prayer, man meets with God personally – he knows Him and he loves Him. Knowledge (gnosis) and love are closely inter-connected in Eastern asceticism.”
163. As an example of a different source than the Fathers, to paraphrase the book “Unseen Warfare”, R9 p81, in order for us to reach Christian perfection, we need to wage and win an all-encompassing war against our spiritual enemies and our own sinful tendencies. For this to happen, we need to plant in our heart the following spiritual attitudes and activities, treating them like valuable weapons for the battle: (a) be humble, (b) trust only God, (c) strive without ceasing, and (d) remain constantly in prayer. The first three are very important, but it is the fourth one that is the leading quality and primary weapon of the person who is after spiritual perfection. This is due to the fact that it is through prayer that the first three are acquired, used to maximum advantage and maintained in the first place. With prayer we both attract and receive all blessings for this extraordinary endeavor, given to us by the infinite love and generosity that God feels for us. By prayer we put in God’s hands both our weapons for spiritual battle and our concerns for spiritual safety per se, not to mention our hope for eventually being granted union with Him. But in order that it may reach its full potential in, it is imperative that prayer stay constantly active in us, as a natural function and extension of our spirit.
164. R3 p87 St Gregory of Sinai: “How then can you think and say that we assert that one can succeed in prayer without a life of action? It is not that we assert, but the fact is that, besides a life of action, another, a mental activity is required, without which it is impossible to succeed in prayer.”
165. R14 p281 St John Climacus: “Always be brave, and God will teach you your prayer.”
166. R3 p180 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “The Savior says: "Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Therefore, you also, well beloved, if your desire for Divine silence is not just bare words, but you love it in deed and in truth, strive not only to have orthodox faith but also to be filled with good works.”
167. R11 p82 St Basil the Great: “Prayer is a request for what is good, offered by the devout to God. But we do not restrict this “request” simply to what is stated in words… We should not express out prayer merely in syllables, but the power of prayer should be expressed in the moral attitude of our soul and in the virtuous actions that extend throughout our life… This is how you pray continually – not by offering prayer in words, but by joining yourself to God through your whole way of life, so that your life becomes one continuous and uninterrupted prayer.”
168. R14 p268 St John Climacus: “The first task of stillness is disengagement from every affair good and bad, since concern with the former leads on to the latter. Second is urgent prayer. Third is inviolable activity of the heart. And just as you have to know the alphabet if you are to read books, so if you have missed out on the first task, you cannot enter upon the other two.”
169. R3 p180 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “’Faith without works is dead...’ (James 2:26) just as works without faith are dead.”
170. R3 p297 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “It is the nature of these two things, sobriety and prayer to Jesus, to be in union one with the other. For sobriety is complete attention and constant prayer; and prayer in turn means the utmost sobriety and attention of mind.”
171. R3 p303 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “Invocation of the name of Jesus and freedom from passionate thoughts is indeed a blessed practice, for it brings peace to the soul.”
172. R3 p333 St Philotheus of Sinai: “Sweet memory of God, that is, of Jesus, coupled with heart-felt wrath and beneficent contrition, can always annihilate all the fascination of thoughts, the variety of suggestions, words, dreams, gloomy imaginings and, in brief, everything with which the all-destructive enemy arms himself to sally forth, daringly seeking to devour our souls. Jesus, when invoked, easily burns up all this. For in no other place can we find salvation except in Jesus Christ. The Savior Himself confirmed this saying: “Without me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5)
173. R3 p316 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “As letters cannot be written in the air but should be engraved on some solid body to preserve them for a long time; so we must combine the Prayer of Jesus with the most laborious sobriety, in order that the beautiful virtue of sobriety should abide with Him in us, remaining for ever whole and so, through Him, become an inalienable part of us.”
174. R3 p337 Philotheus of Sinai: “If a man gives way to evil thoughts, it is impossible for his outward man to be pure of sin. Those who do not uproot evil thoughts from the heart cannot fail to manifest them in corresponding evil deeds.”
175. R4 p410 St Gregory Palamas: “In those who practice prayer, the action of mind, consisting of thoughts, is easily purified; but the soul which gives birth to these thoughts will not become pure unless at the same time all its other powers are purified.”
176. R14 p281 St John Climacus: “If you are always in dialog with your king in regard to your enemies, take heart whenever they attack you. A long struggle will not be necessary for you, for they will soon give up of their own accord. These unholy beings are afraid that you may earn a crown as a result of your battle against them through prayer, and besides, when scourged by prayer they will run away as though from a fire.”
177. R3 p226 St Diadochus of Photice: “A man who always remains in his heart is far from all the allurements of this life. Walking in the Spirit, he cannot experience carnal lusts. Such a man proceeds under the protection of virtues, having these virtues as guards posted at the doors of his city of purity; so all the wiles of the demons fail against him.”
178. R3 p316 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “If you truly wish to cover thoughts with shame, to keep silence as you should and to be sober in your heart without effort, let the Jesus Prayer cleave to your breath – and in a few days you will see it in practice.”
179. R3 p310 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “Invocation of the Lord is that which at once stifles and disperses every evil design of the enemy, every word, every fantasy, every idol and every pillar of malice.”
180. R3 p231 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “This warm and attentive prayer, that is, prayer that is pure, gives birth in the heart to desire, to turning towards God, and to love towards the ever-remembered Lord Jesus Christ, as is written: “Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, your name is ointment poured forth; therefore the virgins love you.” (SoS 1:3); and “…I am lovesick.” (SoS 2:5)
181. R3 p84, St John Climacus: “With the name of Jesus flog the foes, for there is no surer weapon against them, either on earth on in heaven.”
182. R3 p228 St John of Karpathos: “Long labor in prayer and considerable time are needed for a man with a mind which never cools to acquire a new heaven of the heart where Christ dwells, as the Apostle says: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless indeed you are disqualified.” (2 Cor 13:5)
183. R3 p83 St Gregory of Sinai: “The beginning of the action of grace in prayer manifests itself differently, for, according to the Apostle, the Spirit divides His gifts severally “…distributing to each one individually as He wills.” (1 Cor 12:11). To some, there comes the spirit of fear, rending the mountains of passions and breaking in pieces the rocks – hardened hearts – such fear that the flesh seems to be pierced by nails and numbed as in death. Others quake, being filled with joy – what the Fathers called the leaping of joy. In yet others, pre-eminently in those who have achieved success in prayer, God produces a subtle and serene glow of light when Christ comes to dwell in the heart (Eph 3:17) and to shine mysteriously in the Spirit. Therefore, God spoke to Elijah on the mount of Horeb (1 Kings 19:12) and said that the Lord is not in this or that – not in some individual actions of beginners – but in a subtle glow of light which shows the perfection of prayer.”
184. R3 p201 St John Chrysostom: “A man who strives all his life to practice prayer and serving God, speedily becomes akin to angels in life, honor, estate, wisdom and understanding.”
185. R3 p238 St Nilus: “Not every man who has achieved passionlessness has true prayer; for such a man can still be occupied with simple thoughts (about things, without passionate movements being attached to them) and be distracted by their stories (perhaps their pictures and their various connections) and thus be far from God.”
186. R3 p237 St Nilus: “But even when the mind does not tarry on simple thoughts of things, it still does not mean that it has yet found the place of prayer. For it may be occupied with (philosophical) speculation concerning these things and pondering over their causal relationships. Although these are abstractions, yet, since they are speculations about things, they imprint on the mind their images and lead it far away from God. (The mind philosophizes rather than praying – this is the state of the savant.)”
187. R3 p235 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “As wax melts in the fire, so does imagination disperse and disappear under the action of pure prayer through simple, imageless cleaving of the mind to God, self abandonment to Him and a most sincere union with Him.”
188. R3 p235 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “Every thought reproduces in the mind the image of some sensory object; for the Assyrian (the enemy) being a mental power, can seduce us only by using something sensory to which we are accustomed.”
189. R3 p229 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “The Prayer of the Heart, pure and undistracted, gives birth in the heart to a certain warmth, as in Lk 12:49: “"I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” and in Lk 24:32: “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”
190. R3 p229 St John Climacus: “He is the true and wise monk who has kept his warmth inextinguishable and to his death never ceased to add fire to fire, warmth to warmth, desire to desire, zeal to zeal.”
191. R3 p230 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “The direct effect of this warmth is to drive away everything which prevents perfect practice of pure prayer. For our God is fire, a fire which burns the evil wiles of the demons and of our passions.”
192. R3 p230 St Diadochus of Photice: “When the heart receives, with burning pain, the shooting of the demons, so that the victim seems to feel the very piercing of the arrows, this is the sign that the soul has begun to hate passions acutely. This is the beginning of its purification. For, if it does not suffer great pain from the shamelessness of sin. It cannot later fully enjoy the beneficence of truth. A man who thereupon wishes to cleanse his heart should constantly inflame it by memory of our Lord Jesus, having this (that is memory of the Lord) as the sole object of his thoughts and his constant spiritual doing.
193. R3 p228 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “He who has no prayer free from thoughts has no weapon for battle. By prayer I mean the prayer which is constantly active in the innermost secret places of the heart, so that the enemy in his secret onslaughts is invisibly flogged and scorched by calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
194. R14 p278 St John Climacus: “War reveals the love of a soldier for his king, and the time and practice of prayer show up a monk’s love for God. So your prayer shows where you stand. Indeed, theologians say that prayer is a monk’s mirror.”
195. R5 p59 St Gregory Palamas: “The saints purify themselves of evil passions and transcend all knowledge by uninterrupted and immaterial prayer, and it is then that they begin to see God.”
196. R11 p110 Ammonas, disciple of St Anthony of Egypt: “Because they had first practiced profound hesychia, they possessed the power of God dwelling within them; and then God sent them into the midst of human society.”
197. R50 p30: “The Saints have placed the center, the basis of our minds and thoughts in the heart… cf Mt 9:4, 15:18-19; Mk 2:6, 2:8; Lk 1:51, 2:35, 2:51, 3:15, 5:22, 9:47; Jn 12:40; Rom 1:21”
198. For example, R13 p99 St Seraphim of Sarov: “Reverent care is needed here because that “sea” that is, the heart with its thoughts and desires which must be purified by means of attention, is “… great and wide… In which are innumerable teeming things…” (Ps 104:25), that is, many vain, wrong and impure thoughts, the offspring of evil spirits.”
199. R3 p201 St John Chrysostom: “Prayer is the cause of salvation, the source of immortality, the indestructible wall of the Church, the unassailable fortress which terrifies the demons and protects us in the work of righteousness.” And “Prayers are the nerves of the soul. If you deprive yourself of prayer, it is like taking a fish out of water.”
200. R3 p201 St John Chrysostom: “Prayer and praying make men temples of God. As gold, precious stones and marble adorn the palaces of kings, so do prayers adorn the temples of Christ – the souls of believers. What greater praise can be said for prayer than that it makes us temples of God, and that He Whom the heavens cannot contain yet enters into the living soul in prayers?”
201. R3 p201 St John Chrysostom: “Prayer is a great weapon, a great protection.” And “It is more essential to remember God than to breathe.” And “You must think of God more often than you breathe.”
202. R3 p337 St Philotheus of Sinai: “If a man gives way to evil thoughts, it is impossible for his outward man to be pure of sin. Those who do not uproot evil thoughts from the heart cannot fail to manifest them in corresponding evil deeds.”
203. R18 p27 St Theophan the Recluse: “To stop the continual jostling of your thoughts you must bind the mind with one thought, or the thought of One only – the thought of the Lord Jesus.&rdquo 205. R9 p220: “Prayer can become a victorious weapon in unseen warfare only when it becomes real, that is, when it takes root in the heart and begins to act there unceasingly. From that moment it becomes an impenetrable, unconquerable and insuperable barrier, protecting the soul from the arrows of the enemy, the passionate assaults of the flesh, and the enticements of the world with its prelest. Its very presence in the heart cuts off the unseen warfare.”
206. R13 p62 St Gregory of Sinai: “Whoever adopts an excessively strenuous labor of prayer from hearsay or study, labors in vain through having no director.”
207. R39 p140 “The director is an instrument of the Holy Spirit, God’s surrogate. Unlike the ultimate director, he is not perfect…”
208. As discussed in R39 p 107, an Elder is marked by the image of Christ and of the Holy Spirit, Who give him “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Gal 5:22-23)
209. R3 p288 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “For as the more the rain pours down upon the earth, the more it softens the earth; so too the holy Name of Christ, when it is invoked by us without thoughts, the more constantly we call upon it, the more it softens the earth of our heart, and fills it with joy and delight.”
210. R3 p234 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “ In some of their writings, our glorious Fathers point out the signs of illumination, free from prelest, and the signs of illumination which is prelest. The thrice Blessed Paul of Latros… said: “The light of the enemy power is like the smoky flame of physical fire when a soul which has subdued passions and is cleansed sees it, abhors and abominates it. The light of the Spirit of good is good, pure and joy giving; its coming illumines a man with its light and fills the soul with gladness and peace, making it gentle and compassionate.””
211. R39 p21: “The disclosure of thoughts in confession is essentially retrospective; it deals with sins that have already occurred. Spiritual direction, by contrast, is essentially preventative, even teleological – aimed at future spiritual development – by disclosing those “????????s” which might lead the person into sin if left unchecked.”
212. R3 p236 St Diadochus of Photice: “To purify the mind is the work of the Holy Spirit alone.”
213. R3 p236 St John Climacus: “To make the mind refrain from wandering is also the work of the Holy Spirit alone.”
214. R3 p84 St Gregory of Sinai: “The soul, if it has discernment, can discriminate by mental taste the gifts of the Holy Spirit from the fantasies and illusions of Satan.”
215. R40 p71: “Prayer must be personal; it must be the personal concern of every human being; that is, it must be conscious and willed. Then its power is truly great. It genuinely becomes a means of union of the person with God.”
216. This is in stark contrast to other religions (eg, Buddhism) and their forms of meditation.
217. R4 p409 St Gregory Palamas: “Since God is goodness itself, mercy itself and a limitless deep of benevolence, he who enters into union with Him, partakes in every way of His mercy. And union with Him is achieved by acquiring Godlike virtues, as far as this is possible, and by communion with Him through prayer and supplication. However, communion with Him through Godlike virtues renders the diligent doer capable of receiving the divine union, but does not effect it; it is intense prayer by its holy action that accomplishes the soaring of man to God and Union with Him; for in its essence prayer is the union of intelligent beings with their Creator, when its action transcends passions and passionate thoughts through piercing of the heart and contrition. For while the mind is passionate, it cannot unite with God. Therefore, so long as it remains such, it does not receive God’s mercy in prayer. But to the extent that it drives away passionate thoughts, it acquires mourning and contrition. And in proportion to contrition and the piercing of the heart, it is granted merciful comfort, and, after long remaining in these feelings with humility, it at last transforms the desiring part of the soul.”
218. R20 p17 St Ignatius of Antioch: “Jesus Christ, the Word that came out of silence.”
219. R4 p414 St Philotheus of Sinai: “Angels have no physical voice, but mentally never cease to sing glory to God… When you pray thus always, you too are then like the holy angels, and your Father, Who sees your prayer in secret, which you bring Him in the hidden depths of your heart, will reward you openly by great spiritual gifts.”
220. R21 p27 St John of Kronstadt: “The foundation of prayer is the yearning of the image towards its prototype, as of like to like.”
221. R13 p55 St John Climacus: “Ask with tears, seek with obedience, knock with patience. In this way, every one that asks, receives, and he that seeks, finds; and to him that knocks shall it be opened.”
222. R19 p236 St Symeon the New Theologian: “There was this alone that held me back – my ingrained propensities and evil habits of sensuality. By the persistent practice of prayer, meditation of God’s oracles and the acquiring of good habits, this fades away.”
223. R8 p166 St John of Kronstadt: “The Lord sent me trials; I fought against my enemies with the weapons of faith, prayer, penance and communion in the Holy Mysteries of Christ. In this warfare I learned what was sincere faith, hope, patience, prayer, purity of heart – the unceasing invocation of the name of Jesus Christ.”
224. R21 p54 St John of Kronstadt: “During prayer there sometimes occur moments of deadly darkness and spiritual anguish arising from unbelief in the heart (for unbelief is darkness.) Do not let your heart fail you at such moments, but remember that if the divine light has been cut off from you, it always shines in all its splendor in God Himself, in His Church, in heaven and on earth, and in the material world, in which “His eternal power and Godhead” are visible.”
225. R14 p277 St John Climacus: “Those of us who are swept by passion must ceaselessly pray to the Lord, for all the passionate have advanced from passion to dispassion.”
226. R13 p60 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “Spiritual vigilance or sobriety is a spiritual art which completely delivers a man, with the help of God, from sinful actions and passionate thoughts and words when fervently practiced for a considerable time. It is silence of heart; it is guarding of the mind; it is attention to oneself without any other thought which always, incessantly and unceasingly calls upon Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, which breathes by Him, with Him courageously takes up arms against the enemies, and which confesses Him.”
227. R14 p272 St John Climacus: “Wealth and numerous subjects constitute the power of a king. Abundance of prayer constitutes the power of the hesychast.”
228. R13 p100 St Paisius Velichkovsky: “As this divine prayer is the highest of all monastic labors, the summit of reparations according to the decision of the Fathers, the source of virtues, a most subtle and invisible activity of the mind in the depth of the heart, therefore correspondingly invisible, subtle snares of various delusions and fantasies scarcely comprehensible for the human mind are set by the unseen enemy.”
229. R3 p297 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “To call on Jesus perpetually with warm desire, full of sweetness and joy, fills the air of the heart with joyous stillness; and this comes from extreme attention. But He Who perfectly purifies the heart is Jesus Christ alone, the Son of God and God, the Cause and Maker of all good things. For He says: ”I make peace… I the Lord” (Is 45:7)”
230. R3 p257 St Diadochus of Photice: “One love is the love natural to the soul; the other is the love which is poured into it by the Holy Spirit. The first is moved by our desire and is in proportion to it; so it is easily despoiled by evil spirits when we do not constrain our will to abide in it. But the second so inflames the soul with love of God, that all parts of the soul cleave to the ineffable delight of this Divine love with utter simplicity of purpose. For then the mind made pregnant by the action of spiritual grace, sends forth a rich torrent of love and joy.”
231. R3 p257 St Isaac the Syrian: “Love incited by something external is like a small lamp whose flame is fed with oil, or like a stream fed by rains where flow stops when the rains cease. But love whose object is God, is like a fountain gushing forth from the earth. Its flow never ceases, for He Himself is the source of this love and also its food which never grows scarce.”
232. R3 p257 St Diadochus of Photice: “Let faith, hope and love stand foremost in your spiritual contemplation, brother, but most of all love; for the other two (faith and hope) teach one only to despise visible blessings, whereas love unites the soul itself with God through virtues, comprehending the Invisible One by mental perception.”
233. R9 p204 St John Chrysostom: “Prayer is a great blessing if practiced in a right inner state and if we teach ourselves to give thanks to God, both when we receive what we ask and when we do not receive it. For when He gives, and when He does not give, He does it for your good. Thus when you receive what you ask, it is quite clear that you have received it; but when you do not receive it, you also receive because you thus do not receive what is undoubtedly harmful for you; and not to receive what is harmful means to be granted what is useful. So, whether you receive what you ask or not, give thanks to God in the belief that God would have always given us what we ask were it not often better for us not to receive it.”
234. The Orthodox position on this issue differs greatly from the belief held by some Protestant groups who consider someone “saved”, for good, from the moment they acknowledge Christ as their Savior.
235. R14 p279 St John Climacus: “When a man has found the Lord, he no longer has to use words when he is praying, for the Spirit Himself will intercede for him with groans that cannot be uttered. (cf Rom 8:26)
236. As shown in R5 “St Gregory Palamas: The Triads”, pp 64-65, quoting St Dionysios Aeropagite
237. R3 p223 St John Chrysostom: “Seek nothing from the Lord of Glory except this one: mercy; and seek this mercy with a humble and warm heart, calling to Him from morning till evening and if possible all night: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me,” and forcing your mind to this work until death itself.”
238. R3 p201 St Nilus: “ Prayer is ascent of the mind to God.”
239. R21 p54 St John of Kronstadt: “When during prayer your heart is overwhelmed with despondency and melancholy, be sure that these proceed from the Devil, endeavoring by every means to hinder you in your prayer. Be firm, take courage, and by the remembrance of God drive away this deadly feeling.”
240. R14 p269 St John Climacus: “Stillness is worshipping God unceasingly and waiting on Him.”
241. R14 p270 St John Climacus: “Let the remembrance of Jesus be present with your every breath. Then indeed you will appreciate the value of stillness.”
242. R14 p272 St John Climacus: “Some who preside over the race of stillness always keep before them the words: “I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” (Ps 16:8) Others keep the words: “In your patience possess your souls.” (Lk 21. 19) Others: “Watch and pray.” (Mt 26:41) Others: “Prepare your works for your death.” Others: “I was brought low, and He saved me.” (Ps 116:6) Others: “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom 8:18)”
243. eg, R3 p80 St Gregory of Sinai: “Remembrance of God, or mental prayer, is higher than all other works; as the love of God, it stands at the head of all virtues.”
244. Jn 15:5-7 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered… If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”
245. R9 p 81: “And all things, whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Mt 21:22)
246. R3 p28 St John Climacus: “A hesychast is the one that says: “I sleep, but my heart is awake; it is the voice of my beloved!” (SoS 5:2)
247. R3 p213 St Isaac the Syrian: “ When a man attains constant prayer, it will mean that he has reached the summit of all virtues, and has become the abode of the Holy Spirit; for a man who has not wholly received the grace of the Comforter cannot keep this prayer in his heart with joy. Therefore, it is said that when the Holy spirit comes to live in a man, he never ceases to pray, for then the Holy Spirit Himself constantly prays in him (Rom 8: 26 “For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”) Then prayer never stops in a man’s soul, whether he is asleep or awake. In eating or drinking, sleeping or doing something, even in deep sleep his heart sends forth without effort the incense and sighs of prayer. Then prayer never leaves him, but at every hour, even if externally silent, it continues secretly to act within. This is why someone has called the silence of the pure bearers of Christ – prayer; for their thoughts are Divine movements, and the movements of mind and heart which are pure are meek voices by which they secretly sing praises to the One Who is in secret.”
248. R3 p227 St Isaac the Syrian: “A man who keeps hourly watch over his soul has his heart gladdened by revelations. A man who concentrates the vision of his mind within himself, sees there the dawn of the Spirit. A man who abhors all dispersion of the mind, sees his Lord in his own heart.”
249. R3 p257 St Diadochus of Photice: “One love is the love natural to the soul; the other is the love which is poured into it by the Holy Spirit. The first is moved by our desire and is in proportion to it; so it is easily despoiled by evil spirits when we do not constrain our will to abide in it. But the second so inflames the soul with love of God, that all parts of the soul cleave to the ineffable delight of this Divine love with utter simplicity of purpose. For then the mind made pregnant by the action of spiritual grace, sends forth a rich torrent of love and joy.”
250. R3 p257 St Isaac the Syrian, when asked what constitutes the coming to maturity of the many fruits of the Spirit: “When man attains perfect love.” When he was asked how to know if anyone attained it: “When memory of God comes to life in his mind, man’s heart is immediately set aflame by love of God and his eyes shed copious tears. For remembrance of loved ones is wont to bring tears and so tears never cease to flow in such a man, for that which moves him to remember God never stops working in him. Therefore, even in sleep he converses with God, since it is natural for love to produce this effect and love is the perfection of men in this life.”
251. R3 p257 St Isaac the Syrian: “Love incited by something external is like a small lamp whose flame is fed with oil, or like a stream fed by rains where flow stops when the rains cease. But love whose object is God, is like a fountain gushing forth from the earth. Its flow never ceases, for He Himself is the source of this love and also its food which never grows scarce.”
252. eg, As quoted in R22 p13, St Hesychius of Jerusalem wrote: “Truly blessed is the man whose mind and heart are as closely attached to the Jesus Prayer and to the ceaseless invocation of His name as air to the body or flame to the wax. The sun rising over the earth creates the daylight; and the venerable and holy name of the Lord Jesus, shining continually in the mind, gives birth to countless intellections radiant as the sun.” (On Watchfulness and Prayer, 196, as found in the Philokalia, Vol I, p 197.)
253. R3 p280 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “Attention is unceasing silence of the heart, free from all thoughts. At all times, constantly and without ceasing, it breathes Christ Jesus, the Son of God and God, and Him alone, it calls upon Him, and with Him bravely fights against the enemies, and makes confession to Him Who has power to forgive sins. Such a soul, through continual calling on Christ, embraces Him Who alone searches the heart; and it seeks to hide its sweetness and its inner attainment from all men in every way, lest the evil one should have an easy entrance for his wickedness and destroy its excellent working.”
254. R3, p30 St John of Karpathos: “Much labor and effort is needed in prayer in order to attain to an untroubled state of thoughts – that other heaven of the heart, where, according to the Apostle, Christ dwells: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless indeed you are disqualified.” (2 Cor 13:5)”
255. R5 p91 St Basil the Great: “He who has been set in motion by the Spirit has become an eternal movement, a holy creature. For when the Spirit has come to dwell in him, a man receives the dignity of a prophet, of an apostle, of an angel of God, whereas hitherto he was only earth and dust.”
256. R14 p280 St John Climacus: “Some emerge from prayer as from a blazing furnace and as though having been relieved of all material defilements. Others come forth as if they were resplendent with light and clothed in a garment of joy and of humility.”
257. R3 p229 St Isaac the Syrian: “Intense doing gives birth to measureless heat intensified in the heart by flaming thoughts, which arise anew in the mind. And this doing and guarding refine the mind by their heat and endow it with vision. This heat produced by the grace of contemplation gives birth to the flow of tears. Constant tears still the thoughts in the soul and purify the mind, and with a pure mind a man comes to the vision of the Divine mysteries. After this the mind attains vision of revelations and symbols such as the prophet Ezekiel saw.”
258. R3 p230 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “This warmth in us may have different and varied origins and natures… Of these, the most genuine warmth is that which comes from pure Prayer of the Heart, with which it is always born, grows and in essential enlightenment comes to rest on its Sabbath, that is, according to the Fathers, it makes a man essentially filled with enlightenment.”
259. R3 p230 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “The direct effect of this warmth is to drive away everything which prevents perfect practice of pure prayer. For our God is fire, a fire which burns the evil wiles of the demons and of our passions.”
260. R3 p230 St Elias Ekdimos: “When the soul becomes free from everything external and is united with prayer, then prayer like a flame envelops it, as fire envelops iron and makes it all fiery. Then the soul, though still the same soul, like red hot iron, can no longer be touched by anything external.”
261. R3 p229 St John Climacus: “When (spiritual) fire comes into the heart, it resurrects prayer; after its resurrection and ascension on high, Divine fire descends to the chamber of the soul.”
262. R19 p248 St Macarius of Egypt: “There is indeed a burning of the Spirit, which burns hearts into flame. The immaterial divine fire (??????????????????????) has the effect of enlightening souls and trying them, like unalloyed gold in the furnace, but of consuming iniquity, like thorns or stubble; “For our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb 12:29)”
263. R13 p60 St John Climacus: “When the fire descends into the heart, it revives prayer. And when prayer has risen and ascended to heaven, then the descent of the fire takes place into the cenacle of the soul.”
264. R13 p61 St John Climacus: “The holy and heavenly fire scorches some on account of their defective purity; but others it enlightens as having attained perfection. The same fire is called a consuming fire and an illuminating light. For this reason some leave their prayer as if it were a hotly heated bathhouse, feeling a certain relief from defilement and earthliness; while others go out shining with light and arrayed in a double garment of joy and humility. But those who after prayer feel neither of these two effects are still praying bodily, and not spiritually.”
265. R3 p227 St Isaac the Syrian: “He who wishes to see the Lord within himself must use every effort to purify his heart by constant remembrance of God; in a mind thus illumined, he will see the Lord at all hours.”
266. R3, p38 St Gregory of Sinai: “It is ordained that man must put before all things the universal commandment – to remember God – of which it is said: “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” For, by the reverse of that which destroys us, we may be secure. What destroys us is forgetfulness of God, which shrouds the commandments in darkness and despoils us of all good.”
267. R3 p211 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “When through the benevolence and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ this (pray purely and without distraction) comes to pass in us, then, abandoning the many and the varied, we shall unite with the One, the Single and the Unifying, directly in a union which transcends reason, as the glorious Theologian says: “When God unites with gods (that is, God-like men) and is known by them, then the heart is filled with radiance by the penetration of the Holy Spirit.” It is born from the pure and undistracted Prayer of the Heart, such as we have spoken of.”
268. R13 p58 St John Climacus: “God is the teacher of prayer; true prayer is the gift of God.”
269. R9 p205: “There also exists, through the grace of God, Prayer of the Heart only, and this is spiritual prayer, which the Holy Spirit moves in the heart: the man who prays is conscious of it, but does not do it; it acts by itself. This prayer belongs to the perfect. The form of prayer accessible to all and demanded of all is the form where mind and feeling are always combined with the words of prayer.”
270. R25 p209 Lossky: “According to St Symeon the New Theologian, such ecstasies and ravishment are appropriate only to beginners and novices – whose nature has not yet gained experience of the uncreated. St Symeon compares ecstasy to the condition of a man born in a dark prison feebly lit by a single lamp, who can thus have no conception of the light of the sun or of the beauty of the outside world, who suddenly catches a glimpse of a landscape bathed in sunlight through a crack in the wall of his prison. Such a man would be carried away, and would be “in ecstasy”; little by little, however, his senses would become accustomed to the light of the sun, and adapted to the new experience. In the same way, the soul which progresses in the spiritual life no longer knows ecstasies: instead, it has constant experience of the divine reality in which it lives.”
271. R3 p239 St John Climacus: “The beginning of prayer is to banish oncoming thoughts as soon as they appear. Its middle stage is to keep the mind contained in the words we say or think. The perfection of prayer is ravishment to the Lord.”
272. R19 p249 St Symeon the New Theologian: “ Blessed are those who incessantly have the eye of the intellect open and see the light in every prayer and talk with Him face to face. Blessed is that monk who stands in prayer in front of God, who sees Him and is seen by Him, and who feels himself as being out of the world.”
273. R3 p238 St John Climacus: “Men, whose mind has truly learned to pray, indeed converse with the Lord face to face, as those who have the ear of the king (that is his most close and trusted servants.)”
274. R8 p108: “When spiritual joy comes to the body from the mind, it suffers no diminution by this communion with the body, but rather transfigures the body, spiritualizing it. For then, rejecting all evil desires of the flesh, it no longer weighs down the soul that rises up with it, the whole man becoming spirit, as it is written: “He who is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
275. R3 p81 St Gregory of Sinai: “If you are truly practicing silence hoping to be with God, and you see something… even the image of Christ or an angel or some saint, … in no way accept it… a beginner should pay attention to the action of the heart, which is not led astray, and refuse to accept anything else until his passions are pacified.”
276. R20 p1 St Seraphim of Sarov: “Acquire inner peace and thousands around you will find their salvation.”
277. R11 p110: “St Isaac the Syrian says that it is better to acquire purity of heart than to convert whole nations of heathen from error. Not the he despises the work of the apostolate; he means merely that unless and until we have gained some measure of inner silence, it is improbable that we will succeed in converting anybody to anything.”
278. R14 p276 St John Climacus: “The beginning of prayer is the expulsion of distractions from the very start by a single thought (???????????s? a repeated short prayer); the middle stage is the concentration on what is being said or thought; its conclusion is rapture in the Lord.”
279. R21 p55 St John of Kronstadt: “When you are praying alone and your spirit is dejected, and you are wearied and oppressed by your loneliness, remember then, as always, that God the Holy Trinity looks upon you with eyes brighter than the sun; and so do all the angels, including your own guardian, and all the saints of God. Truly they do; for they are all one in God, and where God is there are they also. Where the sun is, thither also are all its rays. Try to understand what this means. Bear in mind with whom you are conversing. Men often forget with whom they are conversing during prayer, and who are the witnesses of their prayer.”
280. As quoted in Volume 1 of “The Inner Kingdom”, R11 p83.
281. cf footnote 127
282. R5 p52 St Gregory Palamas: “When the soul pursues this blessed activity, it deifies the body also; which, being no longer driven by corporeal and material passions – although, those who lack experience of this think that it is always so driven – returns to itself and rejects all contact with evil things. Indeed, it inspires its own sanctification and inalienable divinization, as the miracle-working relics of the saints clearly demonstrate.”
283. R20 p9 Bishop Kallistos Ware: “When the Philokalia uses the phrase “Prayer of the Heart” it does not mean affective prayer in the Western sense, prayer of the feelings and emotions. It means prayer of the total person, prayer in which the body participates as well as the soul and spirit. After all “the body is the messenger of the soul” As St Maximus the Confessor says, and we ought to use our physicality in the work of prayer.”
284. R20 p 30 St Isaac the Syrian: “Many are avidly seeking but they alone find who remain in continual silence… Every man who delights in a multitude of words, even though he says admirable things, is empty within. If you love truth, be a lover of silence. Silence like the sunlight will illuminate you in God and will deliver you from the phantoms of ignorance. Silence will unite you to God Himself… More than all things love silence: it brings you a fruit that tongue cannot describe. In the beginning we have to force ourselves to be silent. But then there is born something that draws us to silence. May God give you an experience of this “something” that is born of silence. If only you practice this, untold light will dawn on you in consequence… after a while a certain sweetness is born in the heart of this exercise and the body is drawn almost by force to remain in silence.”
285. R3 p47 St Gregory of Sinai: “There are two forms of ecstasy in the spirit: one, of the heart (going deep into the heart, in forgetfulness of all things), the other, enravishment (being carried beyond all limits of all that is.) The first belongs to those who are still learning, the second to those who have attained to perfection in love. Both alike place the mind in which they act outside of senses (or the consciousness of outer relationships); for Divine love is an intoxicating forcing of thoughts by the Spirit towards the most excellent, which deprives a man of the sense (or the consciousness) of outer relationships.”
286. R3 p222 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “Prayer practiced within the heart, with attention and sobriety, with no other thought or imagining, by repeating the words “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,” silently and immaterially, leads the mind to our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. By the words “have mercy upon me,” it turns it back and moves it towards him who prays, since he cannot as yet not pray about himself. But when he gains the experience of perfect love, he stretches out wholly towards our Lord Jesus Christ alone, having received actual proof of the second part (that is, of mercy.) Therefore, as someone has said, a man calls only: “Lord Jesus Christ!” his heart overflowing with love.”
287. R8 p116: “God is essentially apart from other beings by His uncreated nature. The proper condition of these beings is the created state, and when they transcend their own domain by communication with God, they participate in uncreated life: deification.”
288. R5 p 57 St Gregory Palamas: “This hypostatic light, seen spiritually by the saints, they know by experience to exist, as they tell us, and to exist not symbolically only, as do manifestations produced by fortuitous events; but it is an illumination immaterial and divine, a grace invisibly seen and ignorantly known. What it is they do not pretend to know.”
289. R5 p64 St Gregory Palamas: “Since the Reality which transcends every intellectual power is impossible to understand, it is beyond all beings; such union with God is thus beyond all knowledge, even if it called “knowledge” metaphorically, nor is it intelligible, even if it is called so”
290. R8 p116: Referring to the supernatural power to see God, given us by the presence of the Spirit, St Gregory wrote: “Since this power has no other means of acting, having gone beyond all other beings, it becomes wholly light in itself and like that which it sees; it is united without admixture, being light (itself), and seeing light through light. If it looks at itself, it sees light; if it looks at the object of its vision, it again sees light, and if it looks at the means by which it sees, again it sees light. That is what union means; all is so one, that he who sees can make no distinction either of the means or the end or the object; he is conscious only of being light and seeing light distinct from all that is created.” What he means in using these words is that, in Christ, we are given the power to “become Spirit” (cf Jn 3:6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”) Even more, by participating in God’s uncreated grace, we become gods. As St Paul says: (Gal 2:20) “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”.
291. R4 p 414 St Philotheus Kokkinos: “The mental prayer is the light which illumines man’s soul and inflames his heart with the fire of love of God. It is the chain linking God with man and man with God… It allows a man constantly to converse with God.”
292. R4 p 414 St Philotheus Kokkinos: “Angels have no physical voice, but mentally never cease to sing glory to God… When you pray thus always, you too are then like the holy angels, and your Father, Who sees your prayer in secret, which you bring Him in the hidden depths of your heart, will reward you openly by great spiritual gifts.”
293. R3 p235 St Basil the Great: “As the Lord dwells not in temples built by human hands, neither does He dwell in any imaginings or mental structures (fantasies) which present themselves (to the attention) and surround the corrupt soul like a wall, so that it is powerless to look at the truth direct but continues to cling on to mirrors and fortune-telling.”
294. R3 p235 Sts Callistus and Ignatius, quoting Evagrius of Pontus: “Where God is recognized as abiding, there He is known; this is why a pure mind is called the throne of God. The thought of God is not to be found in the thoughts which imprint images in the mind, but in the thoughts which make no imprints. Therefore, a man who prays, must strive in every possible way to repulse thoughts which imprint images in the mind.”
295. R3 p235 St Maximus the Confessor, in his commentaries on the great Dionysius: “Imagination is one thing, thinking or thought is another. They are produced by different forces and differ in the qualities of their movements. For thought is the action or the production of mind, and imagination is the fruit of passion, the imprint of an image representing something that is or seems to be sensory. Therefore, no imagination can be admitted in relation to God, for He exceeds all mind.”
296. R14p263 St John Climacus:“Those with a mind accustomed to true prayer talk directly with the Lord, as if to the ear of the Emperor.”
297. R5 p59 St Gregory Palamas: “The saints purify themselves of evil passions and transcend all knowledge by uninterrupted and immaterial prayer, and it is then that they begin to see God.”
298. R9 p 206: “There is yet another for of prayer, which is called standing in the presence of God, when the man who prays is wholly concentrated in his heart and inwardly contemplates God as being present to him and within him, with corresponding feelings – either of fear of God and the feeling of wonder and awe before His greatness, or of faith and hope, or of love and submission to His will, or of contrition and readiness for any sacrifice. Such a state comes when a man becomes deeply immersed in prayer by word, mind and heart. If a man prays in the right way and for a long time, these states come to him more and more often, and finally this state can become permanent; then it is called walking before God and is constant prayer. This was the state of David, who says of himself: ‘I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved’ (Ps 16:8)”
299. R9 p 205: “There also exists, through the grace of God, Prayer of the Heart only, and this is spiritual prayer, which the Holy Spirit moves in the heart: the man who prays is conscious of it, but does not do it; it acts by itself. This prayer belongs to the perfect. The form of prayer accessible to all and demanded of all is the form where mind and feeling are always combined with the words of prayer.”
300. R3 p236 St Maximus the Confessor: “That heart is pure which, always presenting to God a formless and imageless memory, is ready to receive nothing but impressions which come from Him, and by which is wont to desire to become manifest to it.”
301. R3 p236 St Maximus the Confessor: “A heart is called perfect when it is devoid of all natural impulse towards any thing or any image; a heart like a well polished tablet on which, being clean, God inscribes His laws.”
302. R3 p239 St Nilus: “The highest prayer of the perfect is the ravishment of the mind and its total transcendence of everything sensory, when “…the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom 8:26) before God, Who sees our heart like an open book intimating its desire by the soundless signs written therein.”
303. R3 p61 St Gregory of Sinai: “The beginning of mental prayer is the purifying action of the power of the Holy Spirit, together with the mysterious officiating of the mind, just as the beginning of silence is withdrawal from all things of freedom from all cares; the middle stage is the illuminating power (of the Spirit) and contemplation, and the end – ecstasy, or the soaring of the mind towards God.”
304. R3 p388 St Theoleptus of Philadelphia: “When the mind and thought stand before God through intense concentration of the eye upon Him and warmth of prayer, the heart is moved to tenderness. When mind, word and spirit (heart) press close to God, the first by attention, the second by invocation, the third by tenderness of feeling, then the whole of the inner man serves God, as the Lord ordains: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,…” (Lk 10:27).
305. R3 p236 St Maximus the Confessor: “That soul is pure which, freed from passions, is ceaselessly made glad by Divine Love.”
306. R3 p236 St Maximus the Confessor: “That soul is perfect whose desiring power is wholly directed towards God.”
307. R3 p236 St Maximus the Confessor: “That mind is pure which, freed from ignorance, is illumined by Divine Light.”
308. R3 p235 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “Since every thought enters the heart through imagining something sensory (and moreover the sensory hinders the mental); so the light of the Deity begins to illumine the mind when it is freed of everything and totally empty of form (without representation of shape or form.) For this illumination is manifested in a mind already pure, on condition that it is free of all thoughts.”
309. R5 p90 St Gregory Palamas: “One recognizes this light when the soul ceases to give way to the evil pleasures and passions, when it acquires inner peace and the stilling of thoughts, spiritual repose and joy, contempt of human glory, humility allied with a hidden rejoicing, hatred of the world, love of heavenly things, or rather the love of the sole God in Heaven.”
310. R3 p236 St Maximus the Confessor: “That mind is perfect which, having received through faith the knowledge of Him Who is above all knowledge, and having surveyed all His creatures, has received from God an all-embracing knowledge (in its general features) of His providence, and His judgment manifested in them – naturally as much as a man can understand.”
311. R3 p398 St Theoleptus of Philadelphia: “As Adam was fashioned by God’s hand out of clay and then God breathed into him a living soul; so the mind, recreated by virtues, through frequent invocation of the Lord with pure thought and warm feeling, undergoes a Divine change, gaining new life and creation by knowledge and love of God.”
312. According to St Gregory Palamas, R43 p111, the Light is “the beauty of the age to come”, “the substance of future good”, “the most perfect vision of God”, “the heavenly food.”
313. eg, R3 p 201 St John Chrysostom: “Zealous prayer is the light of the mind and soul, a constant, inextinguishable light.”
314. eg, R51 p161-163 St John of Damascus, On The Trinity: “Light is the Father, Light the Son, Light the Holy Ghost… The Father is a sun with the Son as rays and the Holy Ghost as heat.”
315. Here are three well known examples from our hymnography: “Come, receive the light from the unwaning Light, and glorify Christ, Who has risen from the dead.” “I see Thy Bridal Chamber adorned, o my Savior, and I have no wedding garment that I may enter therein; O Giver of Light, make radiant the vesture of my soul and save me.” And “Gladsome Light of the Father’s glory, Holy, Heavenly and Immortal; and Holy blessed Jesus Christ! As we come to the setting of the sun and see the evening light, we praise you with loud voices, O Son of God, and Giver of Life; for this the universe glorifies you.”
316. It has been the long time Orthodox practice that all icons depict Christ and the saints with luminous halos around their heads.
317. R13 p49 St Isaac the Syrian: “He who desires to see the Lord within himself endeavors to purify his heart by the unceasing remembrance of God. The spiritual land of a man pure in soul is within him. The sun which shines in it is the light of the Holy Trinity. The air which its inhabitant breathes is the All-holy Spirit. The life, joy and gladness of that country is Christ, the Light of the Light – the Father. That is the Jerusalem or kingdom of God hidden within us, according to the word of the Lord. Try to enter the cell within you, and you will see the heavenly cell. They are one and the same. By one entry, you enter both. The ladder to the heavenly kingdom is within you. It is built mysteriously in your soul. Immerse yourself within yourself beyond the reach of sin, and you will find there steps by which you can mount to heaven.”
318. In speaking about the vision of light that accompanies progress in prayer, St Gregory Palamas wrote (R8 p107): “In His incomparable love for men, the Son of God did not merely unite His divine Hypostasis to our nature, clothing Himself with a living body and an intelligent soul, ‘to appear on earth and live with men’ but, O incomparable and magnificent miracle! He unites Himself also to human hypostases, joining Himself to each of the faithful by communion in His holy body. For He becomes one body with us (cf Eph 3:6) making us a temple of the whole Godhead – for in the very body of Christ ‘In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily’ (Col 2:9). How then would He not illuminate those who share worthily in the divine radiance of His body within us, shining upon their soul as He once shone on the bodies of the apostles on Tabor? For as this Body, the Source of the light and grace, was at that time not yet united to our body, it shone exteriorly on those who came near it worthily, transmitting light to the soul through the eyes of sense. But today, since it is united to us and dwells within us, it illuminates the soul interiorly.”
319. R3 p316 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “Truly blessed is he who cleaves with his thought to the Prayer of Jesus, constantly calling to Him in his heart, just as air cleaves to our bodies or the flame to the candle. The sun, passing over the earth, produces daylight; the holy and worshipful Name of Lord Jesus, constantly shining in the mind, produces a measureless number of sun-like thoughts.”
320. R19 p253 St Symeon the New Theologian: “Light is the Father, light is the Son and light is the Holy Spirit… the three are one light, one and not divided.” (cf footnote #314… the Fathers often copied and quoted each other.)
321. R3 p388 St Theoleptus of Philadelphia: “When thought frequently invokes the Name of the Lord, and the mind gives intense heed to this invocation of the Divine Name, then the light of recognizing God, as His God, envelops man’s whole soul like a radiant cloud.”
322. R5 p66 St Gregory Palamas: “As St Maximus the Confessor says, he who is in God has left behind him all that is after God: ‘All the realities, names and values which are after God will be outside those who come to be in God by grace.’ But in attaining this condition, the divine Paul could not participate absolutely in the Divine essence, for the essence of God goes beyond even non-being by reason of transcendence, since it is also ‘more than God.’”
323. R5 p65 St Gregory Palamas: “This is why the great Paul, after his extraordinary rapture, declared himself ignorant of what “it” was… But what was “he” himself? He was that to which he was united… Such then was his union with the light. Even the angels could not attain to this state, at least not without transcending themselves by unifying grace.”
324. R5 p65 St Gregory Palamas: “There is a difference between illumination and a durable vision of light, and the vision of things in the light, whereby even things far off are accessible to the eye, and the future is shown as already existing.”
325. R22 p13, St Gregory Palamas: “This light at present shines in part, as a pledge, for those who, through impassibility, have passed beyond all that is condemned, and through pure and immaterial prayer have passed beyond all that is pure. But on the Last Day, it will deify in a manifest fashion “the sons of the Resurrection,” who will rejoice in eternity and in glory in communion with Him Who has endowed our nature with a glory and splendor that is divine.”
326. R16 p364: “Using nuptial imagery, St Symeon the New Theologian describes his union with personified dispassion: ‘Impassibility, whose face is always radiant, is and has always been joined to me… It brought to me the ineffable pleasure of union, an immense desire for nuptial union with God. Having known the union, I likewise became impassible, inflamed with pleasure and burning with desire for it. I shared in the light. Yes, I became light.’”
327. R5 p67 St Gregory Palamas: “For it is in the glory of the Father that Christ will come again, and it is in the glory of their Father, Christ, the ‘the just will shine like the sun’; they will be light, and will see the light, a sight delightful and all holy, belonging only to the purified heart.”
328. R3 p235 St Basil the Great: “As the Lord dwells not in temples built by human hands, neither does He dwell in any imaginings or mental structures (fantasies) which present themselves (to the attention) and surround the corrupt soul like a wall, so that it is powerless to look at the truth direct but continues to cling on to mirrors and fortune-telling.”
329. R3 p235 St Maximus the Confessor, in his commentaries on the great Dionysius: “Imagination is one thing, thinking or thought is another. They are produced by different forces and differ in the qualities of their movements. For thought is the action or the production of mind, and imagination is the fruit of passion, the imprint of an image representing something that is or seems to be sensory. Therefore, no imagination can be admitted in relation to God, for He exceeds all mind.”
330. R3 p235 Sts Callistus and Ignatius, quoting Evagrius of Pontus: “Where God is recognized as abiding, there He is known; this is why a pure mind is called the throne of God. The thought of God is not to be found in the thoughts which imprint images in the mind, but in the thoughts which make no imprints. Therefore, a man who prays, must strive in every possible way to repulse thoughts which imprint images in the mind.”
331. R9 p206: “There is yet another form of prayer, which is called standing in the presence of God, when the man who prays is wholly concentrated in his heart and inwardly contemplates God as being present to him and within him, with corresponding feelings – either of fear of God and the feeling of wonder and awe before His greatness, or of faith and hope, or of love and submission to His will, or of contrition and readiness for any sacrifice. Such a state comes when a man becomes deeply immersed in prayer by word, mind and heart. If a man prays in the right way and for a long time, these states come to him more and more often, and finally this state can become permanent; then it is called walking before God and is constant prayer. This was the state of David, who says of himself: “I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved” (Ps 16:8)
332. R19 p248: “When a man is united with God, he experiences the light of His grace, for the Holy Spirit resides in and wholly transforms him, bestowing new senses upon him.”
333. R5 p91 St Gregory Palamas: “The prize of virtue, it is said, is to become God, to be illumined by the purest of lights, by becoming a son of that day which no darkness can dim. For it is another Sun which produces this day, a Sun which shines forth the true light. And once it has illumined us, it no longer hides itself in the West, but envelops all things with its powerful light. It grants an eternal and endless light to those worthy, and transforms those who participate in this light into other suns. Then indeed, the just will shine like the sun. What sun? Surely that same one which appears even now to those worthy as it did then.”
334. R3 p313 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “When, empowered by Jesus Christ, we begin to press forward in firmly established sobriety; then, first, there appears in our mind a lamp, as it were, which the hand of our mind holds aloft to guide our mental steps; thereafter comes a full moon, circling in the sky of the heart, and, at last, like the sun, comes Jesus, radiant with truth like the sun, that is, both revealing Himself and illumining contemplation with His all-brilliant rays.”
335. R3 p200 Sts Callistus and Ignatius: “As the soul leaves, the body becomes dead and stinking; so the soul not urging itself to prayer is dead, damned and fetid.”
336. R3 p 201 St Isaac the Syrian: “ You cannot approach God without constant prayer.”
337. R19 p250 St Symeon the New Theologian: “There is no other way for anyone to know God, except through contemplation of the light sent forth by Him.”
338. R3 p313 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “As it is impossible for the sun to shine without light, so it is impossible for the heart to be cleansed of the filth of wicked thoughts without prayer in the name of Jesus. If this is true, as I have seen (by experience), let us utter this Name as often as we breathe. For it is light, and those others (wicked thoughts) are darkness. And He (the Jesus we invoke) is God and Almighty Lord, whereas the others are servants of the demons.”
339. R3 p316 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “Just as it is impossible for us, as men, to chase birds in the air or to fly as they do, since it is contrary to our nature; so it is impossible for us to be free of the incorporeal thoughts of the demons, and freely and attentively to direct our mental eye to God, without sober and constant prayer. If you have not got this, you are on earth and are chasing tings of the earth.”
340. R25 p206 Lossky: “Union with God cannot take place outside of prayer, for prayer is a personal relationship with God. Now, this union must be fulfilled in human persons; it must be personal, conscious and voluntary. “The power of prayer… fulfills the sacrament of our union with God” says St Gregory Palamas, “because it is a bond connecting rational creatures with their Creator.” It is more perfect than the practice of virtues, for it is “the leader of the choir of virtues”, says St Gregory of Nyssa.”
341. R25 p209 Lossky:“The mystical experience which is inseparable from the way towards union can only be gained in prayer and by prayer.”
342. R19 p236 St Macarius of Egypt: “The blessed Paul urges them to make haste to acquire through insistent prayer that from which it is no longer possible to fall away, that is perfect and unchanging love of the Spirit. The man who compels himself every day to persevere in prayer is enflamed with divine affection and fiery longing by spiritual love towards God, and receives the grace of the sanctifying perfection of the Spirit.”
343. R19 p236 St Symeon the New Theologian: “There was this alone that held me back – my ingrained propensities and evil habits of sensuality. By the persistent practice of prayer, meditation of God’s oracles and the acquiring of good habits, this fades away.”
344. R3 p313 St Hesychius of Jerusalem: “Thus ceaseless prayer keeps our mental air free from the dark clouds and winds of the spirits of evil. And when the air of the heart is pure, there is nothing to prevent the Divine Light of Jesus shining in it, as long as we are not puffed up by pride, vanity, conceit and a boastful showing off, and we do not strive towards the unattainable and are not therefore deprived of Christ’s help. For Christ, being the image of humility, hates all those things.”
345. R5 p65 St Gregory Palamas: “This union of the mind with God is what the Fathers speak of when they say: “The end of prayer is to be snatched away to God.” This is what the great Dionysius says that through prayer, we are united with God… But it is not yet union, unless the Paraclete illumines from on high the man who attains in prayer the stage which is superior to the highest natural possibilities, and who is awaiting the promise of the Father; and by His revelation ravishes him to the contemplation of the light”
346. R13 p53 St Seraphim of Sarov: “Those who have truly resolved to serve God must practice the remembrance of God and unceasing prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ, saying with the mind: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” By this practice, while guarding oneself from distraction and while maintaining peace of conscience, one can draw near to God and be united with Him. Other than by unceasing prayer, according to the words of St Isaac the Syrian, it is impossible to draw near to God.”
347. R19 p248 St Symeon the New Theologian (speaking of the vision of the young George): “He was wholly in the presence of immaterial light (?????????) and seemed to himself to have turned into light… When the visible sun sets, this sweet light of the spiritual star takes its place, as a pledge and confirmation in advance of the unceasing light that will follow on it.”
348. St Gregory Palamas, quoted in R23, p102: “And that he sees supranaturally light that surpasses light he is well aware; but with what he sees this light he does not then know, not can he scrutinize its nature, because the Spirit through which he sees is unsearchable.”
349. St Gregory Palamas, quoted in R23 p103: “When the intellect is rooted in its own energy, which constitutes its self-conversion and self-observation, it thereby transcends itself and communes with God.”
350. R3 p47 St Gregory of Sinai: “It is said that in the life to come the angels and saints shall never cease to progress in increasing their gifts, striving for greater and even greater blessings. No slackening or change of virtue to sin is admitted in that life.”
351. R3 p235 St Callistus: “Movements produced in the soul by the Divine Spirit, as a result of efforts, make the heart quiet and urge it to call out constantly: “Abba, Father!” This is not accompanied by any imaginings but is devoid of all images. But we ourselves become then transformed by the dawning of the Divine Light, which endows us with an image in keeping with the burning of the Divine Spirit. More than that, it changes and alters us by Divine Power. How – He alone knows.”
352. R19 p 262 St Symeon the New Theologian believed that seeing the Divine Light in this life is a requirement to being able to see it in the next: “Indeed, since they did not seek with every effort to see the light of His glory while they were still in this world through purification and did not introduce Him entirely into themselves, with good reason He will be unapproachable for them also in the future.” His reasoning: “Because if there is purification here, there will also be vision here; but if you say that vision will be after death, you will place purification also after death and so you will never see God, for after the departure there is no action for you through which you can find purification.” And he adds the rider: “Indeed, if He says that the Spirit is given to those who believe in Him, certainly those who have not the Spirit are not believers in their hearts.” What this really means is that when we progress sufficiently in our spiritual quest in this life and have been deemed worthy of significant spiritual experiences here, then we can be certain of the same in the next life. As far as the alternative is concerned, although he expresses a strong opinion (above) he is also cognizant of the fact that God has a specific plan for the salvation of each one of us and that He is the ultimate judge of what happens to us in the next life. At the same time, we should all be trying to get as purified as we can, as soon as possible.
353. R19 p 263 St Symeon also taught that if we strive with all our heart to reach God, the rewards for our efforts will certainly be there for us: “Blessed are those who seek with all their soul to come to the light (Jn 3:21) by disregarding everything else, for even if they do not succeed in entering into the light while they are still in the body, nevertheless they will pass away, perhaps in good hope and, albeit in a low degree, they will receive it all the same.” Therefore, our vision of light may not happen here, but after death, according to the will of God. If we are ready, he said, grace will be given to us, “either here or in the age to come.” We need to focus on working to purify ourselves to obtain grace, and not on the vision of the Divine Light; the result can happen “here” or in the “hereafter”. This, of course, is in agreement with the similar statement by St Macarius of Egypt, discussed above.
354. R19 p 268 St Symeon also wrote a significant amount about the faithful being able to unite God as a reward for their continuous effort: “In proportion to their fervor and to their prompt and joyous work, sooner or later, more or less, they will receive the reward of the vision of God (???????) and “will become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4); they will be gods by adoption and sons of God.” As St Gregory Palamas clarified about three hundred years later, what is meant here is that we will partake in God’s energies and not in His essence.
355. As quoted in R19 p263, St Macarius of Egypt believed that the experience of divine grace is not the absolute criterion for our salvation. To the question: “What will happen if I happen to pass away after a life of thirty or forty years without having received the divine power?” He responds: “I answer you on this that God does not judge you as blasphemous, for you have displayed greater zeal. God can tell you, I do not judge you as blasphemous because you have come out behind me and you have lamented and sought night and day; and whereas before you felt secure in appearances and you were puffed up with conceit because of them, now you have made a greater effort in looking for the truth according to the Scriptures in order to receive divine power in yourself.” This, of course, does not mean that one can experience theosis in this life (our main topic here) without experiencing the effects of grace, but expresses the belief that St Macarius had that many of those who do not reach theosis in this life will also be saved by the power of the Holy Spirit.
356. R19 p263 According to Sts Macarius and Symeon, any tangible evidence of the “reception of the divine power” is not as significant as “the zeal and effort in looking for the truth.” They both taught that the vision of light is primarily a gift of God, offered to those who have succeeded in purifying themselves and have been deemed worthy of enlightenment. Our efforts to unite with God need to culminate in love for Him, leading us to a union, in light, with our Creator.
357. R19 p258 Similarly, for both Sts Symeon and Macarius, those who have purified their minds can perceive the Divine Light in a new kind of spiritual experience. This is further supported by St Maximus the Confessor in his writings about the opening up of the heart to constant prayer: “At the very onset of prayer the intellect is so ravished by the divine and infinite light that it is aware neither of itself nor of any other created thing, but only of Him Who, through love, has activated such radiance in it.”
358. R13 p53 St Seraphim of Sarov: “Only those who have interior prayer and watch over their souls receive the gifts of grace.”
359. eg, Eph 5:11; Cor 11:1
360. eg, Gal 3:27
361. cf Jn 14:21; 15:16
362. cf Rom 6:4; Col 2:12; 3:3
363. cf Eph 6:18; Gal 4:6
364. R14 p264 St John Climacus: “He who has achieved stillness has arrived at the very center of the mysteries.”
365. As in Ps 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God…”
366. R3 p88 St Maximus the Confessor: “Nothing is more terrible than the thought of death, and nothing more glorious than remembrance of God.”
367. R13 p66 St Nil Sorsky: “The Prayer of the Heart… waters the soul like gardens. This activity, which consists in the watching of the mind in the heart, outside all thoughts, is extremely difficult for those who have not been trained to it. (It is difficult not only for beginners, but even for those who have labored long but who have not yet received or retained within the heart the sweetness of prayer from the action of grace. It is well known from experience that for the weak this work seems very wearisome and hard.) But when one obtains grace, them he prays without difficulty and with love, being comforted by grace. When the “effect” of prayer comes, then it draws the mind to itself, fills it with joy and delivers it from distraction.”
368. R13 p60 St Maximus Kapsokalyvitis, as recorded by St Gregory of Sinai: “From my youth I had great faith in my Lady, the Mother of God, and besought her with tears to grant me the grace of mental prayer. Once I came to her temple as usual and fervently prayed to her for this. I went up to her icon and reverently kissed her image. Suddenly I felt as if there fell into my breast and heart a warmth which did not burn, but bedewed and delighted me, and stirred my soul into compunction. From that moment my “heart” began to say the prayer within itself, and my “mind” began to delight in the remembrance of my Jesus and the Mother of God and to have Him, the Lord Jesus, constantly within itself. Since then the prayer has never ceased in my heart.”
369. R3 p223 St John Chrysostom: “The name of our Lord Jesus Christ, descending into the depths of the heart, will subdue the serpent holding sway over the pastures of the heart, and will save our soul and bring it to life. Thus, abide constantly with the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that the heart swallows the Lord and the Lord the heart, and the two become one. But this work is not done in one or two days; it needs many years and a long time. For great and prolonged labor is needed to cast out the foe so that Christ dwells in us.”

Published: October 27, 2010

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