Orthodox Thought for the Day


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Gerontissa Gavrilia on prayer

From The Ascetic of Love 

G.G.:  When you are unable to do something, practically or personally, for someone you wish to help, you may still send a message to God.  You may take that person in mind, place him at the Feet of Christ and pray the Lord to bless him.  Then you would have done what you could.  This may be practiced gradually.  This is what monastics who have completely withdrawn from the world do.  They did not withdraw because they did not love people, they went into retreat because they love people very much and wished to do nothing else but pray for them.  If the world stands on its feet today, it is because thousands of monastics pray for that.  People who don’t know say, “What does a monk or a nun do? 
They just pray.  So what?  Acts!  Deeds!  That’s what we need!”  They are not right, though.  For there exists no energy greater than that of prayer.  Great is the power of prayer, say the Holy Scriptures, and indeed effective.  Because prayer is power.  It is energy.  Doesn’t the Gospel tell us, You can make even a mountain move with your prayer?  Fr. Lazarus*  says something very interesting:  that the mountain we move with our faith is our own Pride—a big mountain!  And we throw it into the sea!

G:  Yes, but how can we do this?

G.G.:  Only with the grace of God!  Pray with all your heart, “Lord, take away my pride,” and the next day, He starts! 

K.:  Still, everyday life, work, marriage, children, cares, worries, all these leave you no time for anything else.  You want to, but you don’t have the time… 

G.G.:  You don’t need time.  Because as I have told you, prayer is a state of the soul.  As we read in the Way of a Pilgrim, when you wash the dishes, keep saying, “Lord, have mercy upon me…Lord, have mercy upon me,”  Whatever we do in a day, we can do it while keeping in our mind and in our heart the notion of God, a constant awareness of the existence of God, as if listening to a background music…nothing is impossible…  (pages 297-98)

on praying without love:

G.G.:  If you don’t love, don’t dare pray.  For your prayer will not reach the ears of the Lord.  It is an abomination to God.  Somebody comes and tells me, “I cannot stand this person.  Of course, I do not wish him any harm, but I pray that God may guide him.”  And I say, “How dare you?”  If I say, “Lord, please guide this person whom I do not love,” He will tell me:  “Why do you care, since you do not love him?  First love him, then come and ask Me to guide him.  I will grant it at once.  Because He said, “Love your enemies.”  (pg 299)
*Fr. Lazarus Moore (of blessed memory) was a spiritual guide to Gerontissa Gavrilia.

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