The past couple of days have been quite busy. Have continued my Lenten reading (all but Saturday when I was painting the home oratory), but not much to post.
The following two passages from “On the Prayer of Jesus” really struck home to me.
“The name of the Lord is above every name; it is a source of delight, a source of joy, a source of life. It is Spirit. It quickens (vivifies), transforms, purifies, deifies. For the illiterate it can replace in a completely satisfactory manner vocal prayer and psalmody. The literate, having made some progress in the prayer of Jesus, give up the variety of psalmody and begin pre-eminently to practice the prayer of Jesus on account of the superabundant power and nourishment contained in it.”
“We want to be clever, we want to revive our own ego, we cannot bear self-renunciation or self-denial, we have no desire to live and act by faith. It is for this reason that we need a guide to lead us out of our complexity, out of our cuteness, out of our cunning, out of our vanity and self-confidence, into the breadth and simplicity of faith.”
The latter passage is why we all need a Spiritual Father (to use the old language). We are incapable of doing the deep spiritual work on our own, because we cannot guide ourselves out of our self-love and protection. An experienced, read practiced, and mature Spiritual Father has the gift of discernment to see beyond our pretenses and into our hearts to apply the appropriate spiritual medicine.
While it is not just priests who can serve as Spiritual Fathers, let us pray for our clergy that they (we) may especially become those experienced and faithful people of prayer. Let us also encourage them, and hold them accountable to being first and foremost prayer warriors. For that is what prayer is, as seen in the charge made upon the receiving of a prayer rope, or beads, “Receive, brother, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Carry it upon thy lips, in they mind and in thine heart, and say unceasingly: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.”