sexta-feira, 11 de janeiro de 2019


Unceasing recollection of God leading to peace

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

Prayer of Jesus or Prayer of the Heart

Prayer of Jesusor Prayer of the Heart

by Archimandrite Fr. Jonah Mourtos

To speak about the prayer of Jesus, for me, is very difficult. I will try to do it because of your kindness to invite me here. But I must say that I am not the right person for it, because of my sins. And because I don't have this prayer in my heart. I have forgotten it. Even this - to practice the prayer of the heart - was the deepest reason for me to become a monk. But now… all is forgotten, my life is not pure anymore…
But thank you again because you give me the opportunity to remember people that had this kind of prayer in their heart. They used to say, to recite the prayer of the heart in their hearts, in their minds without stop. One of them was my spiritual father. But I met also another two persons, fr. Efrem and fr. Paisios in Mount Athos. So some of what I am going to say is my memories from them, and I thank you again for giving me this opportunity, because I know, they are in heavens now, and they see us and they are very happy that we are together today, and they pray for us.

What it is the "prayer of the heart"

The prayer of the heart is the deepest prayer of the Orthodox Church. From now on when I say Orthodox Church, I mean the one Catholic and Apostolic Church, the first Church. It starts as a repetition of the name of Jesus. The prayer doesn't have one formal, standard type. It may be 'Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me' or 'Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner' or 'Lord Jesus Christ' or simply 'Jesus'. It is up to everybody's character to choose what he or she likes more. The result is the same, the prayer is the same.
Most of people prefer the 'Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me'. The form is not so important, the meaning is very important.

The Art of Contemplative & Mystical Prayer ROMANO GUARDINI

Contemplative prayer has the tendency to become ever simpler and more silent. As we gain experience in this form of prayer we need fewer and fewer thoughts, until finally one single thought may be sufficient to find the way to truth and God. Fewer thoughts demand fewer words. St. Francis used the phrase “My God and my all” as his theme of contemplation for a whole night.

A Reading from The Prayer of the Heart

"Jesus": The Shortest, Simplest, and Most Powerful Prayer in the World

"Jesus": The Shortest, Simplest, and Most Powerful Prayer in the World
More Featured Writing
Its simplicity and flexibility
What it is not: Magic
What it is not: Psychology
What it is: Power
What it is: Real presence
What it is: Grace
What it is: Sacramental
What it is: Sacred
Its practice
I am now going to tell you about the shortest, simplest, and most powerful prayer in the world.

It is called the "Jesus Prayer", and it consists simply in uttering the single word "Jesus" (or "Lord Jesus", or "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner") in any situation, at any time and place, either aloud or silently.

There is only one prerequisite, one presupposition: that you are a Christian. If you have faith in Christ, hope in Christ, and love of Christ, you can pray the most powerful prayer in the world, because you have real contact with the greatest power in the universe: Christ himself, who assured us, in his last words to his apostles, that "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (Mt 28:18).

It is also the simplest of all prayers. It is not one of the many "methods", because it bypasses methods and cuts right to the heart of practicing God's presence, which is the essence of prayer, the secret of which has been given to us by God the Father. The secret is simply God the Son, God incarnate, the Lord Jesus.

1. Its simplicity and flexibility
As the Catechism says, "The invocation of the holy name of Jesus is the simplest way of praying always.... This prayer is possible 'at all times' because it is not one occupation among others but the only occupation: that of loving God, which animates and transfigures every action in Christ Jesus" (CCC 2668).

Because it is so short and simple, this prayer can be prayed literally at any time at all and at all times, even times when longer and more complex forms of prayer are not practical or even possible. This includes times of anguish, pain, or stress, and times of deep happiness and joy.

It can be used by everyone (and has been): by the rankest beginner and the most advanced saint. It is not only for beginners; the saints use it too. It is not "cheating" just because it is so short. For it will make you pray more, not less. This only sounds paradoxical, for one of the things Jesus reminds us to do, when we invoke him by name, is to pray more!

It is so simple that it is like the center point of a circle. It is the whole circle. It contains in itself the whole gospel. The Catechism says: "The name 'Jesus' contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation" (CCC 2666). Into this name the Christian can pour all of his faith, with nothing whatsoever left over, for to be a Christian is to rest all of your faith on Christ, with nothing left over.

It is not only the shortest prayer but also the shortest and earliest creed. Twice the New Testament mentions this most basic of all the Christian creeds: the simple three-word sentence "Jesus is Lord" (I Cor 12:3) and the same creed in four words: "Jesus Christ is Lord" (Phil 2:11). It is also the most distinctively Christian creed, for "Lord" (Kyrios) means "God", and Christ's divinity and lordship over one's life is the distinctive, essential faith of Christians: no non-Christian believes that (if he did, he would be a Christian), and all Christians believe it (if they do not, they are not Christians) .