Monday, October 17, 2005

A few more lines from Sophrony...

Just read these today, in His Life Is Mine:

Prayer offered to God is imperishable. Now and then we may forget what we have prayed about but God preserves our prayer for ever...

When it is given to man to know the overriding value of prayer as compared with any other activity, be it in the field of science, the arts, medicine or social or political work, it is not difficult to sacrifice material well-being for the sake of leisure to converse with God. It is a great privilege to be able to let one’s mind dwell on the everlasting, which is above all the most splendid achievements of science, philosophy, the arts and so on. At first the struggle to acquire this privilege may seem disproportionately hard; though in many cases known to me the pursuit of freedom for prayer becomes imperative...

Intense prayer can so transport both heart and mind, in their urgent desire for the eternal, that the past fades into oblivion and there is no thought of any earthly future – the whole inner attention is concentrated on... God. It is a fact that that the more urgent our quest for the infinite, the more slowly we seem to advance. The overwhelming contrast between our own nothingness and the inscrutable majesty of the God Whom we seek makes it impossible to judge with any certainty whether we are moving forward or sliding back. In his contemplation of the holiness and humility of God, man’s spiritual understanding develops more quickly than does his ability to harmonise his conduct with God’s word. Hence the impression that the distance separating him from God continually increases... Prayer becomes a wordless cry, and regret for the distance separating him from God turns to acute grief...

I can’t think when I’ve ever come across a writer who seems to see more keenly into my own adventures and misadventures in prayer than Sophrony!

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