Archive for the ‘The Jesus Prayer’ Category

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Byzantine Rosary, “Chotki” Prayer

January 5, 2008

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Byzantine Rosary, “Chotki” Prayer

Eastern Orthodox Rosary. This Oriental form of rosary is known in the Hellenic Greek Church as Chaplet or String of Knots of Beads, in the Russian Church as Vervitza (string), chotki (chaplet), or liestovka (ladder), and the Rumanian Church as matanie (reverence). Our everyday name of “beads” for it is simply the Old Saxon word “bede” (a prayer) which has been transferred to the instrument used in reciting the prayer, while the word rosary is an equally modern term.

 

The Rosary prayed by the Eastern Orthodox is a string of 33, 100, or 300 beads on a string or knots made of wool; they are not divided into decades. On each bead or knot is prayed the following mantra:

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

 

The modern Chotki, as it is known, calls for a slightly different mantra
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

 

Both this mantra and the Glorious mantra above are derived from the Gospel story of the Pharisee and the tax collector.

 

The following information is taken from

“My Treasury of Chaplets” by Patricia S. Quintiliani

The Russian Rosary
(A slightly different version of the Byzantine Rosary)

 

The Eastern rite rosary dates back to the 7th century, when according to tradition, a saint had an apparition recommending this form of prayer. In Russia, the rosary is called “Chotki.” It is usually made of wool in which there are 100 knots with an extra know between each ten. At the end is a cross also make of knots. St. Basil the Great used a rosary very similar to the type now used.

 

The customary prayer used is the ejaculation of the publican, who stood at the back of the Temple and said: “Lord have mercy on me a sinner.” Our Lord says he went out justified, thus indirectly recommending this prayer. The Russians call this prayer the prayer of Jesus and have several variations of it:

 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, by the prayers of Our Lady, have mercy on me.

 

Sometimes they also use:
Most holy Lady, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners.

 

The Russian Rosary Begins:
O God, cleanse me, a sinner (3 X).
O heavenly King, Paraclete, Spirit of Truth, who art present everywhere and dost permeate all things, Treasury of blessings and Giver of life, come and take up Thy dwelling within us. Purify us from every stain and save our souls, O gracious Lord. Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Deathless One, have mercy on us. (3 X )
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be forever. Amen. O holy Trinity, have mercy on us.
Lord forgive us our sins.
Most Holy God, pardon our transgressions.
Do Thou Who art holy visit us and heal our infirmities for Thy name’s sake.
Lord, have mercy on us (3X).
Glory be to the Father, etc.
Our Father, etc.v Come let us bow down to Our Lord God.
Come let us bow down and adore Our Lord God.
Come let us bow down and adore Christ Himself, Our Lord and God.

 

50th Psalm, Miserere, or 129th, De Profundis.

 

Credo. I believe in God, etc.
Prayer of Jesus (100 times)

It is indeed proper to bless thee, Mother of God, the eternal blessed and completely sinless one and the Mother of Our God. Higher in honor than the Cherubim and incomparably more glorious than the Seraphim, who without harm to thy virginity didst give birth to the Word of God. Thee we extol, true Mother of God.
Glory be to the Father, and to the son and to the Holy Ghost, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
By the prayer of Our Holy Fathers, Lord, have mercy on us.

 

The Byzantine
The Jesus Prayer

 

This dates back to the 7th century, when according to tradition, a saint had an apparition recommending this form of prayer. In Russia the Rosary is called “Chotki.” It is usually made of wool in which there are 100 knots with a large knot at each decade. St. Basil the Great used a rosary of this.

 

The customary prayer is the “Chotki” is an adaptation of the humble prayer of the publican, who cried out: “O God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”(Luke 18;9-4) The Lord Jesus said that he went out from his prayer “justified.”

Early Christians adopted this prayer for their own use, and added to it the Prayer of Jesus or The Jesus Prayer and have several variations of it:

 

Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.
or
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.
or
Lord Jesus Christ, by the prayers of Our Lady, have mercy on me.

 

The Byzantine Rosary Begins:
O God, cleanse me, a sinner (3 X).
O heavenly King, Paraclete, Spirit of Truth, Who is present everywhere and permeate all things, Treasury of blessings and Giver of life, come and dwelling within us. Purify us from every fault and save our souls, O gracious Lord.
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Imortal One, have mercy on us. (3 X )
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever. Amen.
O holy Trinity, have mercy on us.
Lord forgive us our sins.
Most Holy God, pardon our transgressions.
Do You who are holy visit us and heal our infirmities for Your name’s sake.
Lord, have mercy on us (3X).
Glory be to the Father, etc.
Our Father, etc.
Come let us bow down to Our Lord God.
Come let us bow down and adore Our Lord God.
Come let us bow down and adore Christ Himself, Our King and God.

Recite the 50th Psalm and Creed.
Recite the Jesus Prayer (100 times)

 

Conclusion

It is indeed proper to bless you, Mother of God, the eternal blessed and completely spotless one and the Mother of God. Higher in honor than the Cherubim and incomparably more glorious than the Seraphim, who without harm to thy virginity give birth to the Word of God.

You do we extol, true Mother of God.

Glory be to the Father, and to the son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

By the prayer of our holy fathers, O Lord, Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us.

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The Jesus Prayer – Web Resources

January 2, 2008

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The Jesus Prayer
Fr. Steven Peter Tsichlis

THE JESUS PRAYER

In order to enter more deeply into the life of prayer and to come to grips with St. Paul’s challenge to pray unceasingly, the Orthodox Tradition offers the Jesus Prayer, which is sometimes called the prayer of the heart. The Jesus Prayer is offered as a means of concentration, as a focal point for our inner life. Though there are both longer and shorter versions, the most frequently used form of the Jesus Prayer is: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” This prayer, in its simplicity and clarity, is rooted in the Scriptures and the new life granted by the Holy Spirit. It is first and foremost a prayer of the Spirit because of the fact that the prayer addresses Jesus as Lord, Christ and Son of God; and as St. Paul tells us, “no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3) …MORE…

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On Practicing the Jesus Prayer
by St. Ignaty Brianchaninov

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

THE CORRECT PRACTICE of the Jesus Prayer proceeds naturally from correct notions about God, about the most holy name of the Lord Jesus, and about man’s relationship to God.

The name of our Lord Jesus Christ is a divine name. The power and effect of that name are divine, omnipotent and salvific, and transcend our ability to comprehend it. With faith therefore, with confidence and sincerity, and with great piety and fear ought we to proceed to the doing of the great work which God has entrusted to us: to train ourselves in prayer by using the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. “The incessant invocation of God’s name,” says Barsanuphius the Great, “is a medicine which mortifies not just the passions, but even their influence. Just as the physician puts medications or dressings on a wound that it might be healed, without the patient even knowing the manner of their operation, so also the name of God, when we invoke it, mortifies all passions, though we do not know how that happens” (421st Answer). …MORE…

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Concerning the Jesus Prayer
From the Jordanville Prayer Book (1996 ed.)

Saint John Chrysostom says: “It is necessary for everyone, whether eating, drinking, sitting, serving, traveling, or doing anything, to unceasingly cry: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me,’ that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, descending into the depths of the heart, may subdue the pernicious serpent, and save and quicken the soul.

Saint Seraphim of Sarov: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner”: let all thine attention and training be in this. Walking, sitting, doing, and standing in church before the divine service, coming in and going out, keep this unceasingly on thy lips and in thy heart. In calling in this manner on the name of God thou wilt find peace, thou wilt attain to purity of spirit and body, and the Holy Spirit, the Origin of all good things, will dwell in thee, and He will guide thee unto holiness, unto all piety and purity.”

Bishop Theophanes the Recluse: “In order to more conveniently become accustomed to the remembrance of God, for this the fervent Christian has a special means, namely, to repeat unceasingly a brief prayer of two or three words. Most often this is: ‘Lord, have mercy!’ or ‘Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.’ If you have not yet heard of this, then hear it now, and if you have not done it, then begin to do it from this time.

“Those who have truly decided to serve the Lord God must train themselves in the remembrance of God and in unceasing prayer to Jesus Christ, saying mentally: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.’

“Through such practice, by guarding oneself from distraction and by the preservation of the peace of one’s conscience, it is possible to draw near to God and to be united with Him. For, according to the words of Saint Isaac the Syrian, ‘Without unceasing prayer we cannot draw near to God’ (St. Seraphim of Sarov).”

Site to see

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The Orthodox Faith
The Jesus Prayer

The most normal form of unceasing prayer in the Orthodox tradition is the Jesus Prayer. The Jesus Prayer is the form of invocation used by those practicing mental prayer, also called the “prayer of the heart.” The words of the prayer most usually said are “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” The choice of this particular verse has a theological and spiritual meaning.

First of all, it is centered on the name of Jesus because this is the name of Him whom “God has highly exalted,” the name given to the Lord by God Himself (Luke 1:31), the “name which is above every name.” (Philippians 2:9-10, cf Ephesians 1:21)

…for there is no other name given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

All prayer for Christians must be performed in the name of Jesus: “if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)

The fact that the prayer is addressed to Jesus as Lord and Christ and Son of God is because this is the center of the entire faith revealed by God in the Spirit. …MORE…

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Discussion with the Gerondas on the Jesus Prayer
Having clarified this point, he went on, I must also show you some methods or rather a very simple method. Do not expect me to burden you with very heavy things. The prayer of Jesus, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me” the unceasing cry to God, our Saviour purifies our soul. All our salvation rests upon the invocation of Jesus and union with him. Let us cry to him to come and He will cure us by his coming. Let us moan like a sick man and He like a doctor will come lovingly to our aid . Let us cry like the one who fell among thieves, and the good Samaritan will come to clean our wounds and guide us to the Inn, that is to the theoria (vision) of the Light which consumes all our being. When God comes into our heart, He gains victory over the devil and cleanses the impurities which the evil one has created. The victory, therefore, over the devil is the victory of Christ in us. Let us do the human part, that is to invite Christ, and He will do the divine part, He will gain victory over the devil and cut him off. So we should not want to do the divine part ourselves and expect God to do the human one. We should understand this well, we do the human part, the prayer of Jesus, and God the divine part, our salvation. The entire work of the Church is the collaboration of divine and human. …MORE…

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The significance of the Jesus Prayer
The “prayer” is called the “Jesus prayer” but is founded on a Trinitarian basis. Moreover, Christ, “being one of the Holy Trinity” , never exists without the Father and the Holy Spirit and constitute, together with the other Persons, “a Trinity of one substance and undivided”. Christology is tightly connected with Triadology. Let me come back to the matter of the “Jesus prayer”. The heavenly Father ordered Joseph through the angel to call Christ, Jesus: “. . .and you shall call his name Jesus…” (Matt. 1. 21) Joseph obeying the Father, called the Son of the Virgin, Jesus. Evenmore so according to the Holy Spirit which illumined the Apostle Paul, “no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12. 3). By saying, therefore, the prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me”, we acknowledge the Father and are obedient to Him. Moreover we feel the energy of and the communion with the Holy Spirit. The Fathers illumined by the Holy Spirit, told us that the “Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit, makes everything”. The complete Holy Trinity created the world and made man; and again the entire Holy Trinity recreated man and the world. “The Father was well pleased, the Word became flesh”. And He “became flesh” by the Holy Spirit. That is to say, the incarnation of Christ was made “by the good will of the Father and the cooperation of the Holy Spirit”. For this reason we say that the salvation of man and the acquisition of divine gifts are common acts of the Holy Trinity. I will mention two characteristic teachings of the Holy Fathers.

Saint Symeon the New Theologian writes that the Son and Word of God is the door of salvation according to His declaration: “I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture”. (John 10. 9). If Christ is the door, the Father is the house”.In my Father’s house are many rooms” (John 14. 2). So we enter into the Father through Christ. And in order to open the door (Christ) we need the key, which is the Holy Spirit. For we know the truth, which is Christ, through the energy of the Holy Spirit. The Father sent His Son to the world, the Son and Word of God reveals the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the Father and is sent through the Son, forms Christ in our hearts! We know, therefore, the Father “through the Son in the Holy Spirit”.

St. Maximos speaks often in his works about the mystical incarnations of the Word. He writes that, just as the words of the law and of the Prophets were the forerunners of the presence of the Word in the flesh, in the same way the Son and Word of God, being incarnate, became the forerunner of “his spiritual presence”, “by instructing the souls through his own words so that they will be able to accept His divine presence”. In other words Christ must be incarnate within us, because we shall not be able to see His glory in Heaven otherwise. The incarnation of Christ within us, however, is done by the good will of the Father and the cooperation of the Holy Spirit. Can you see how the common action of the Holy Trinity is expressed, how we acknowledge and confess the great Mystery that the Lord revealed through His incarnation? He who then denies and does not acknowledge the Jesus prayer makes a big mistake. He denies the Holy Trinity. He does not obey the Father and does not accept the illumination of the Holy Spirit, therefore, he does not have real communion with Christ. So, he must be in doubt as to whether he is a Christian or not. …[More]…

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On Unceasing Prayer
From the Life of St. Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica
by St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain, editor of The Philokalia


Do you see, my brethren, how all Christians, small and great, should always pray, using the noetic prayer, “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me”; and how their mind and heart should become accustomed to saying it always? Just think how pleasing this is to God, and how much good comes from it, that out of His extreme love for mankind He even sent a heavenly angel to reveal it to us, so that we should no longer have any doubt about it.

But what do lay people say? “We are involved in so many matters and cares of the world. How can we possibly pray without ceasing?”

My answer to them is that God has not commanded us to do anything impossible; but He has commanded us to do all those things that we are able to do. Therefore this too can be accomplished by anyone who diligently seeks the salvation of his soul. For if it were impossible, it would be so for all lay people, and there would never have been so many in the world who did accomplish it. …[MORE]…

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The Jesus Prayer
Fr. Lev Gillet

Online book of “The Jesus Prayer”. A classic treatise on the Jesus Prayer written by Fr. Lev.Gillet,also known through many of his writings as “A Monk of the Eastern Church”.

1. THE SHAPE OF THE INVOCATION OF THE NAME

… And Jacob asked him and said: Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said: Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. Genesis 32:29

The invocation of the Name of Jesus can be put into many frames. It is for each person to find the form which is the most appropriate to his or her own prayer. But, whatever formula maybe used, the heart and centre of the invocation must be the Holy Name itself, the word Jesus. There resides the whole strength of the invocation.

The Name of Jesus may either be used alone or be inserted in a more or less developed phrase. In the East the commonest form is: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.” One might simply say: “Jesus Christ”, or “Lord Jesus”. The invocation may even be reduced to one single word “Jesus”. …[MORE]…

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The Jesus Prayer – Its practice

December 29, 2007

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9. Its practice

I will tell you a little bit from my own experience about what I think will happen when you use this prayer. For I have tried many other, more complex, and more abstract ways to pray, and I have found them all less effective than this most childlike of all ways.

Perhaps the most shattering consequence of his real presence, which is brought about by invoking his name, is that we become unable to lie to ourselves any more. He is light, and wherever he inserts his lordship there is now an absolute necessity of honesty and a zero tolerance for any form of self-deception, self-congratulation, or self gratification, even those forms that felt necessary, natural, and almost innocent before. He is gentle, but he is light, and he simply does not and will not coexist with any darkness at all; either he casts it out, or it keeps him out.

This is the negative dimension of the fact that he is light. He subtracts our falsehoods. But he also adds his truth. The positive dimension is essentially a clarification of vision, of perspective, of “the big picture”. He does not (usually) give specific directions or instant solutions, but he always gives a clarification of our vision. (This usually happens gradually.)

Thus there is a positive side to even the negative point made above. For instance, he makes us men see how flawed and mixed our motives are even in such natural and spontaneous things as a look into the face of a beautiful woman. (Half of all the women in the world are beautiful to men, nearly all are beautiful when they smile, and all are beautiful all the time to God.) We find that there is something in this look that is his, and also something that is not from him but is from the world, the flesh, or the Enemy.

And yet this insight does not bring about a guilty despair but a happy humility. For it is a sign of his presence. He is the standard. When the plumb line is present, apparently straight lines show their inclination. And this is, of course, upsetting (how easily our lines incline!), but much more is it a cause of joy (it is he!). As John Wesley said, “The best thing is, God is with us.” Once we realize that, we have the secret of joy: simply to do all that is from his will with joy, because he is there, and what is not from his will do not do.

And when his light and our darkness, his straight and our crooked, are thus brought into relationship and warfare, we gain rather than lose, even if it is upsetting. It is like bringing in the Roto-Rooter man: the garbage becomes visible, but it also becomes removable. Before his light came in, our sin was just as much present but undetected. But he was not just as much present. So that is a gain. Furthermore, he is stronger than sin; he exorcises sin more than sin exorcises him. All we have to do is to give him a chance. Open the blinds, and light casts out darkness every time.

This new sense of vision or perspective that invoking his name brings about is most sharply perceived when we invoke his name upon our problems and complaints. The wordless message I seem to get most frequently is something like this: “There are things that are infinitely more important for you than these little problems. They are all little compared to me. In fact, most of what you think of as your problems are in fact your opportunities—opportunities for the really important thing, the ‘one thing needful’, your relationship with me. So get on with it. You don’t have much more time.” He is surprisingly brisk and unsentimental. He is a no-nonsense God.

Perhaps the most definite and ubiquitous sign of his real presence, and the clearest difference between the times when I invoke his name and the times when I do not, is the state of quiet, calm alertness that he brings. Usually, I am either calm or alert, not both. When I am calm, I am relaxed and ready for sleep; when I am alert, I am worried or agitated and ready for problems. His peace, however, is not sleepiness, and his alertness is not anxiety.

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The Jesus Prayer – What it is: Sacred

December 29, 2007

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8. What it is: Sacred

The fact that this holy name of Jesus actually brings about the presence of God explains why God gave us, as the second of all his commandments, “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” (Ex 20:7). In the Old Testament, the self-revealed name of God was YHWH, in Hebrew: a name is always written without the vowels because it was forbidden to pronounce it, since it meant “I AM”, or “I AM WHO AM”, and to pronounce that name is to claim to bear it. You can pronounce any other name, like “Ivan” or “Mary” or “Hey, You” without claiming to be the person who bears that name; there is only one name that you cannot say in the second person (you) or the third person (he or she), and that is “I”. Thus no Jew ever dared to pronounce that holy name, or even guess how the vowels were supposed to be pronounced, because it could be truly spoken only by God himself. That is why the Jews tried to execute Jesus for blasphemy when he pronounced it in his own name (Jn 8:58).

And that is also why Jesus commanded us to pray to the Father, as the very first petition of the model prayer he taught (which we call the Lord’s Prayer, or the Our Father) “Hallowed be thy name” (Mt 6:9). For we actually bring about and fulfill what we pray for when we call on the holy name of Jesus. We bring his presence and his mercy down from Heaven to earth, so to speak. Thus it is blasphemy to treat this holy name like any other name, because it has a holy power unlike any other power.

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The Jesus Prayer – What it is: Sacramental

December 29, 2007

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7. What it is: Sacramental

The Catechism says: “To pray ‘Jesus’ is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies” (CCC 2666). In other words, it is sacramental.

God comes to us on his name like a king on his stallion. When we pray to the Father in Jesus’ name, we provide God with a vehicle to come to us— or, rather, we use the vehicle God has provided for us. We do not initiate, we respond; we respond to his grace by using the gift of his name that he gave us and told us to use; and he responds to our obedience by doing what he promised: actually coming.

This is the definition of a sacrament: a sign instituted by Christ to give grace and a sign that actually effects what it signifies. Jesus himself is the primary sacrament. So the believing Christian’s use of Jesus’ name is sacramental. The very act of praying “Jesus” effects what it signifies, brings about what the name “Jesus” signifies, which is “Savior”, or “God saves”. That is the literal meaning, in Hebrew, of the name God commanded Joseph to give to Mary’s son: “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mt I:2I).

A name is not a machine, for a person is not a machine. The name of a person must be personally “involved” (that is, called upon) in faith and hope and love, as a human father is “invoked” by his son in Jesus’ parable in Matthew 7. But though it is not a machine, it really “works”: when a son calls to his father, “Dad!” the father actually comes. Why? Suppose we were to ask the father. His answer would be obvious: “Because that’s my son!” The same is true of our relationship to God now that Christ has made us God’s children and his brothers. No stranger can call a human being “Dad”, and no stranger can be sure that a man will come if he calls him only by his “proper name”, for example, “Mr. Smith”. But Mr. Smith’s son can be sure his dad will come because his son can invoke him under the name “Dad”, as no one else can. Jesus has made it possible for us to do the same with God. In fact, the name he taught us to call God is “Abba”, which is the Hebrew word, not just for “Father”, but for “Dad”, or “Daddy”, or even “Dada”. It is the word of ultimate intimacy.

You may think the claim that invoking his name actually brings about his presence is an arrogant one. But in fact it is a humble one, because it is obeying his design, not initiating our own.

Or you may think, “What right do we have to think he will come whenever we call? Is he a dog?” No, he is a lover.

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The Jesus Prayer – What it is: Grace

December 29, 2007

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6. What it is: Grace

In saying it brings God closer, I do not mean to say that it changes God. It changes us. But it does not just make a change within us, a psychological change; it makes a change between us and God, a real, objective change. It changes the real relationship; it increases the intimacy. It is as real as changing your relationship to the sun by going outdoors. When we go outdoors into the sun, we do not move the sun closer to us, we move ourselves closer to the sun. But the difference it makes is real: we can get warmed only when we stand in the sunlight—and in the Sonlight.

When this happens, it is not merely something we do but something God does in us. It is grace, it is his action; our action is to enter into his action, as a tiny stream flows into a great river.

His coming is, of course, his gift, his grace. The vehicle by which he comes is also his grace: it is Jesus himself. And the gift he gives us in giving us his blessed name to invoke is also his grace. So, therefore, his coming to us in power on this vehicle, this name, is also pure grace. Even our remembering to use this vehicle, this name, is his grace. As Saint Therese said, “Everything is a grace.”

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The Jesus Prayer – What it is: Real presence

December 29, 2007

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5. What it is: Real presence

It is probably a very good exercise to practice “the imitation of Christ”, to walk “in his steps”, to ask “What would Jesus do?” in all circumstances. But the prayer we are teaching now is even better, for two reasons. First, invoking his name invokes his real presence, not mental imitation; something objective, not subjective; between us and him, not just in us. Second, it is actual, not potential; indicative, not subjunctive; “What is Jesus doing?” rather than “What would Jesus do?”

To invoke Jesus’ name is to place yourself in his presence, to open yourself to his power, his energy, The prayer of Jesus’ name actually brings God closer, makes him more present. He is always present in some way, since he knows and loves each one of us at every moment; but he is not present to those who do not pray as intimately as he is present to those who do. Prayer makes a difference; “prayer changes things.” It may or may not change our external circumstances. (It does if God sees that that change is good for us; it does not if God sees that it is not.) But it always changes our relationship to God, which is infinitely more important than external circumstances, however pressing they may seem, because it is eternal but they are temporary, and because it is our very self but they are not.