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Monday, October 28, 2019

Praying in Humility with "the Jesus Prayer"

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Sirach: The one who serves God willingly is heard; The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds;

As we mentioned last week in our homily, humility is a prerequisite for all prayer.  The words of the Pharisee today, although they appear to be a prayer, really is not.

For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy. –Therese of Lisieux
The Pharisee isn’t looking toward heaven – he’s looking at himself.  It’s the sin of Narcissus, falling in love with his own reflection.

Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grant pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. – Saint Isidore of Seville

A great path to prayer and to humility is the Jesus prayer.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

The Jesus Prayer has two important purposes. The first is worship as with all prayer. The second is a discipline to help our soul gain control our overactive brains and create stillness so the Holy Spirit can work through us and help us live the virtues in union with God.

three stages of progress in its practice. You begin praying the Jesus Prayer by repeating the words of the prayer out loud or at least moving the lips. This is called verbal prayer. After some time saying of the Jesus Prayer becomes silent or mental and is repeated only in the mind. This is mental prayer. Finally, the Jesus Prayer becomes a continuous prayer in the heart, the inner core of our being. We begin with vocal prayer and do not force the move to mental prayer. This will happen naturally

In praying the Jesus Prayer, our holy Fathers tell us, we say it over and over hundreds of times as part of our daily prayer rule. It is best to add the Jesus Prayer to your morning prayers as this is when the mind is the quietest. Begin by saying the Jesus Prayer verbally focusing on each word. Repeat the Jesus Prayer continually for some time and then expand to longer. You will experience the challenge of dealing with your thoughts, the tendency for you mind to wander. Attention when praying the Jesus Prayer is important. Be sincere in your prayer and repeat it with contrition.

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