John Cassian on the Lord’s Prayer

[The Lord's Prayer], although it seems to contain the utter fullness of perfection inasmuch as it was instituted and established on the authority of the Lord himself, nonetheless raises its familiars to that condition which we characterized previously as more sublime. It leads them by a higher stage to that fiery and, indeed, more properly speaking, wordless prayer which is known and experienced by very few. This transcends all human understanding and is distinguished not, I would say, by a sound of the voice or a movement of the tongue or a pronunciation of words. Rather, the mind is aware of it when it is illuminated by an infusion of heavenly light from it, and not by narrow human words, and once the understanding has been suspended it gushes forth as from a most abundant fountain and speaks ineffably to God, producing more in that very brief moment than the self-conscious mind is able to articulate easily or to reflect upon.

— John Cassian, Conference 9, excerpted
in The Essential Writings of Christian
edited by Bernard McGinn

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About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • Peter

    Mysticism defined!

    At least the original spark of it.

    And God sovereignly gives or “infuses” this heavenly light at His will, when and where He chooses.

    We can do what we can to get ready for this. And we can spread the awareness of the possibility and the reality of it according to our powers. But God is the author of the light; God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

    Great quote!

    Love, Peter

  • Two Elders on the Jesus Prayer

    To strip down to even a more simplest of prayers…
    …here’s a wonderful little book on THE JESUS PRAYER!

    The Orthodox world – and beyond – is acquainted
    with the justly famous and righteous Elder Joseph the Hesychast,
    who reposed on the Holy Mountain in 1959. Less known outside Russia is
    Archbishop Golinsky-Michaelovsky, who was another
    committed practioner and teacher of The Jesus Prayer.

    The English Language Editor was Fr. Ambrose (Young) and the
    Publisher was The Skete of the Entrance of the
    Theotokos into the Temple
    in Haysville, Ohio.

    click HERE for a preview!