Don Divo Barsotti

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sexta-feira, 11 de janeiro de 2019

DHIKR AND THE JESUS PRAYER


Unceasing recollection of God leading to peace

Introduction
There is this mysterious experience that the closer I am to God, the closer I come to the other. Indeed, prayer brings me closer to my brothers and sisters. Several years ago, Fr. Pierre de Bethune, secretary of the Intermonas­tic Council, said: “Beyond all violence, prayer is the strongest bond, because it goes through God. It is the shortest way between humans, because God is the one who is nearest to us.”[1] It is strik­ing that a spokesperson of the Sufi community in Tibhirine, Algeria, told the Trappists of Our Lady of Atlas that the Sufis wanted to meet for shared prayer. “We do not want,” he said, “to engage in a theological dialogue with you, for it has often raised barriers which are man-made. Now we feel called by God to unity. So we have to let God invent something new between us. This can be done only through prayer.”[2]
As a Christian, I am convinced that, being at­tuned to God’s presence in my own life, I will gladly open myself for God’s presence in my Muslim brothers and sisters. When I truly try to live my Christian faith on a deep mystical level, I easily open my heart for other believers. Hence, I very strongly believe that disciples of Jesus have to familiarize themselves with their very own rich mystical traditions and walk the mystical path. Karl Rahner said that the Chris­tian of the future will be a mystic, or he or she will not exist at all. Maybe I can add that human beings of the future will be mystics or they won’t exist at all. Unfortunately, as Sebastian Painadath writes: “Most Christians cannot sit quietly in meditation even for a short period of time. In the formation of priests and religious a disciplined initiation to contempla­tive pursuits is weak. The laity often looks for gurus in spir­ituality outside the Church. […] In contempla­tive silence all reli­gions meet at the depth level.”[3] And is maybe only at this level that hu­manity will be able to create a lasting peace.
This article seeks to explore some aspects of Christian and Islamic mysticism, and their im­portance for the future of humanity. First, I will discuss the Jesus Prayer. Then I will describe the Islamic practice of dhikr, or the unceasing repetition of God’s name. Finally, I will point out that a continuous recollection of God can contribute to peace in the world.
The Jesus Prayer