Bonding to the Heart of Christ
O Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, come into my heart! Rekindle my love. Let it overflow the chalice of my heart that I might extend the cup of mercy to every part of Life—every part of Life, every part of Life! (Say 9x)
Also, there is the classic version of the "Jesus Prayer," which is simply: "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me." Shorter still we may say:
"Lord Jesus, have mercy." Monks of old would say all day long" "Lord, make haste to help me. Lord, make speed to save me,"
The history of the Jesus Prayer goes back, as far as we know, to the early sixth century, with Diadochos, who taught that repetition of the prayer leads to inner stillness. Even earlier, John Cassian recommended this type of prayer. In the fourth century Egypt, in Nitria, short "arrow" prayers were practiced. Abba Macarius of Egypt said there is no need to waste time with words. It is enough to hold out your hands and say:
"Lord, according to your desire and your wisdom, have mercy."
If pressed in the struggle, say, "Lord, save me!" or say, "Lord."
He knows what is best for us and will have mercy upon us. We are all called to pray without ceasing, says St. Paul in 1Thess 5:17. The real question is, how. The Jesus Prayer provides one good way to pray constantly. In fact, the Jesus Prayer is the most widespread and most specifically Orthodox spiritual prayer, according to Metropolitan Corneanu.
Our task is to draw nearer to God. St. Isaac of Syria says "that it is impossible to draw near to God by any means other than increasing prayer!"
The Jesus Prayer is also called the Prayer of the Heart. In Orthodoxy, the mind and heart are to be used as one. St Theophan tells us to keep our "mind in the heart" at all times. The Heart is more than just the physical muscle pumping blood; and it is the innermost core of the person, the spirit. The heart is associated with the physical organ but not identical to it. Heart means our innermost chamber, our secret dwelling place where God lives.
Someone said the heart is a dimension of interior consciousness, awareness, where we encounter an inner space, a space of no dimensions. This consciousness is timeless, the place where tears reside and deep contact with the present moment abide and from which restful movement comes.
Acting out of our heart means to act lightly, with vigor and enthusiasm. When not in that inner awareness, we are restless, agitated, and self-concerned. There is within us a cosmic interval, a field of the heart, in which we find a Divine Reality and from which we are called to live. The mind, then, is to descend into that inner sanctuary, by means of the Jesus Prayer or wordless contemplation, and to stay there throughout our active day and evening. We descend with our mind into our heart, and we live there. The heart is Christ's palace. There, Christ the King comes to take His rest.
It can be! With God, all things are possible, and these blessed words are a great hope to the present and coming age, and they are also my hope for each one of us, for men and women of every race, dwelling in every clime as citizens of every nation. Blessed friends, the cradling of a Christ was alone never enough in itself, for His Mother Mary gloried in the joy of observing his growth year by year, watching him stretch his then tiny limbs and at last seeing him running forth in youth, maturity, and then Christhood!
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