Friday, November 28, 2008

Nativity -- Day 1

I've come across an interesting article by Bishop Kallistos Ware, entitled: Body, Intellect, Heart: Prayer of the Total Self. Here are some excerpts from the article:
We commune with God, in Evagrios' words, without any intermediary. Prayer at its higher level is an experience of unmediated unity. "When we are engaged in contemplative prayer," says Evagrios, "we are no more aware of the fact that we are contemplating than we are conscious of our own sleep."
What about the heart, now? Let's turn from Evagrios to Macarios. In one of my favorite books, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery, the fox has some very helpful words for us. "Good-bye," says the fox, "and now here is my secret. It is very simple. Only with the heart can one see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye. Only with the heart can one see rightly." My spiritual father, a Russian priest long since dead, always liked to quote those words to me.
Two texts from Proverbs are very popular in the Greek spiritual tradition. They come up frequently in the Philokalia: "My child, give me your heart" (Proverbs 23:26) - that means, "Give me your total self" and "Guard your heart with all vigilance" (Proverbs 4:23) - that means, "Keep watch over the entirety of your inner life, know yourself, know yourself as God granted and God taught." Finally, "The heart is deep" (Psalm 63:6 ). That is another popular hesychast and Philokalic text. It means the human person is a profound mystery.

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