Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Receiving the gift of God's mercy...

Lent is a preparation to rejoice in God’s love. And this preparation consists in receiving the gift of God’s mercy - a gift which we receive insofar as we open our hearts to it, casting out what cannot remain in the same room with mercy.

Thomas Merton. Seasons of Celebration. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1950: p. 116

"Receiving the gift of God's mercy" - this reminds me so much of the secret working of the Jesus Prayer, how it softly works its transformations in the praying heart, without our even being aware that it's happening. All we know is that we pray the Prayer as best we can; and then one day we wake up, and we realise we have changed. Maybe we have changed only subtly - or maybe a deep and radical shift has come over us, and everything is different. We don't know how it happened. It is only the gift of God's mercy, that we had been praying for all this time...

"The heart is but a small vessel; and yet dragons and lions are there, and there poisonous creatures and all the treasures of wickedness; rough, uneven paths are there, and gaping chasms. There likewise is God, there are the angels, the heavenly cities and the treasures of grace; all things are there." St. Macarius, The Homilies.

"We don't say the Jesus Prayer, or enter wordless contemplation, to get 'some benefit.' We don't pray to reduce our stress, or strengthen our immune system, or lose weight, or add years to our life. On the contrary, we enter prayer to follow Christ, to become open to Him. His way is the Way of the Cross." Albert S Rossi. Saying the Jesus Prayer. St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary.

No comments:

Post a Comment