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A Program of Spiritual Formation for Candidates to the Priesthood

The Lay Monastic Community of Caryana






Answers of the Great Masters of the Spiritual Life to the Questions of Their Disciples.


Disciple: What benefits do we get from prayer?

Master: Thoughts are directed towards sensible things. When a soul prays, he joins his mind to God and, joining to God, withdraws it from sensible things. And associating his mind with God, the soul becomes Godlike. 

Disciple: And this dictates the direction of his prayer?

Master: Yes, in that he asks of Him only what is proper and, because it is proper, receives his requests.

Disciple: This pertains to St. Paul who commanded us to "pray without ceasing"?

Master: Yes, because, in this way, we are unremittingly joining our minds to God and, by so doing, are breaking our passionate clinging to material things.

Disciple: How can the mind pray without ceasing?

Master: This may sound impossible, but Scriptures command nothing impossible. Unceasing prayer simply means keeping the mind in great reverence and attached to God by desire and clinging always to hope in Him, to be of good courage in Him in all things, both in our activity and in what befalls us.


Disciple: Is this why all the saints rejoiced in good times and in their tribulations?


Master: Yes. This led them to the habit of Divine Love. The Apostle, an example of this, exclaimed: "Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me." But woe to us wretches because we have abandoned the way of the holy fathers and for that reason we are destitute of every spiritual work. 


St. Maximus the Confessor, The Ascetical Life



(updated 05-01-02)


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