Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sophrony again...

Very few apologies for another quote from Archimandrite Sophrony's His Life Is Mine (also I discover published by AR Mowbray & Co Ltd in 1977 - long out of print, of course, but they crop up on Amazon quite cheap):

Real prayer, of course, does not come readily. It is no simple matter to preserve inspiration while surrounded by the icy waters of the world that does not pray...

Of all approaches to God prayer is the best and in the last analysis the only means. In the act of prayer the human mind finds its noblest expressions. The mental state of the scientist engaged in research, of the artist creating a work of art, of the thinker wrapped up in philosophy - even of professional theologians propounding their doctrines - cannot be compared to that of the man of prayer brought face to face with the living God. Each and every kind of mental activity presents less of a strain than prayer. We may be capable if working for ten or twelve hours on end but a few moments of prayer and we are exhausted.

Prayer can accomplish all things. It is possible for any of us lacking in natural talent to obtain through prayer supranatural gifts. Where we encounter a deficiency of rational knowledge we should do well to remember that prayer, independently of man's intellectual capacity, can bring a higher form of cognition. There is the province of reflex consciousness, of demonstrative argument; and there is the province where prayer is the passageway to direct contemplation of divine truth.

Direct - that's the point. Letting down the shutters of preconception, of the "religious clothing" of the mind - praying naked, as naked to God as Psalm 139 describes, as stripped as the tax collector at the Temple (Luke 18) or Bartimaeus in the crowd (Mark 10)...

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

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