Answers of the Great Masters of the Spiritual Life to the
Questions of Their Disciples.
Disciple: What benefits do we get from prayer?
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
Disciple: And this dictates the direction of his
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"?
because, in this way, we are unremittingly joining our minds to God
and, by so doing, are breaking our passionate clinging to material
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.
Is this why all the saints rejoiced in good times and in their
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
Maximus the Confessor, The Ascetical Life