Bishop Metropolitan Kallistos Ware on the Jesus Prayer

Pray by simply standing before a God (listening to God listen to me; gazing at God gaze at me; rest in God rest in me; James 4:8 – “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”; etc)

Pray with the mind in the heart (with the whole being; prayer of the lips, prayer of the mind, prayer of the heart; this is where we find Christ and the Spirit within us – “it is not I but Christ lives in me”)

Pray without ceasing (Paul to Thessalonians)

4 Essential Elements of the Jesus Prayer (from instructions included in the Philokalia – ~12th-14th cent.)

  1. Sit (chair or low bench – some say to lower the head to the chest)
  2. Control the breath (slow it down; calm the breath)
  3. Match the Jesus Prayer to the breath (various forms and lengths)
  4. Concentrate on certain psycho-somatic centers (allowing the intellect, or “nous”, to lower into the heart – the heart was seen as the hollow organ full of space in medieval understanding)

Ware on baptism (after St. Gregory Panamas and St Mark[?] of Sinai): “The final end of every activity that conforms to God’s will is to return, through the keeping of the commandments, to that perfect spiritual recreation and renewal by Grace which was given to us freely from on high at the beginning in the sacred fount [the womb]. In the beginning is our end. The whole purpose in the ascetic mystical life is nothing else but the recovery and activation of the Grace of the Spirit that was conferred to us initially in the sacrament of baptism.”

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