Thursday, 3 November 2011

St. Hesychios on the Jesus Prayer - 1

"Attentiveness is the heart's stillness, unbroken by any thought. In this stillness the heart breathes and invokes, endlessly and without ceasing, only Jesus Christ who is the Son of God and Himself God. It confesses Him who alone has power to forgive our sins, and with His aid it courageously faces its enemies. Through this invocation enfolded continuously in Christ, who secretly divines all hearts, the soul does everything it can to keep its sweetness and it's inner struggle hidden from men, so that the devil, coming upon it surreptitiously , does not lead it into evil and destroy its precious work."
St. Hesychios the priest "On watchfulness and holiness" (The Phylokalia - page 163)

Note: Every human heart is a battlefield where good and evil fight it out for control. The Jesus Prayer however, rather than being a spiritual weapon which we wield - like a sword or mace - is a means of constantly reminding us that we cannot defeat the enemy of our souls ourselves. Only the One who defeated him on the cross - Jesus - can. So through the Prayer we "fix our eyes - our spiritual sight - on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

So: "When the mind, taking refuge in Christ and calling upon Him, stands firm and repels its unseen enemies, like a wild beast facing a pack of hounds from a good position of defence, then it inwardly anticipates their inner ambuscades well in advance. Through continually invoking Jesus the peacemaker against them, it remains invulnerable." (ibid 163-164)

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