the Jesus prayer in the Arena

Some quotes on the Jesus Prayer and unceasing prayer as I re-read the Arena . . .

At first set yourself to say a hundred Jesus Prayers unhurriedly and with attention. Later, if you see that you can say more, add another hundred. In course of time, if need be, you can still further increase the number of prayers said. To say a hundred prayers attentively and unhurriedly about half an hour is needed; but some ascetics require even longer. Do not say the prayers hurriedly, one immediately after another. Make a short pause after each prayer, and so help the mind to concentrate. Saying the prayer without pauses distracts the mind. Breathe with care, gently and slowly; this precaution prevents distraction. When you have finished praying the Jesus Prayer do not give yourself up to different considerations and dreams, always empty, seductive, and deceptive; but according to the guidance received in the work of prayer, pass the time till sleep. On going to sleep, repeat the prayer; fall asleep with it.

The Fathers advise us after dinner to occupy ourselves with the remembrance of death. That is perfectly correct, but actually the living Jesus Prayer is inseparable from a living remembrance of death.

It is obvious that unceasing prayer cannot be the possession of a novice; but in order to become eventually capable of unceasing prayer he must practice frequent prayer. Frequent prayer in due time passes automatically into unceasing prayer.

The Arena: Guidelines for Spiritual and Monastic Life by Ignatius Brianchaninov

Brianchaninov

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