No-one has found prayer without attention and vigilance2 October 2021
So make haste. Say the [Jesus] prayer all the time. Don’t let your mouth stop at all. In this way you’ll become accustomed to it internally and then it’ll be taken up by the mind. Don’t be put off by negative thoughts, because then you’ll become feeble and besmirched.
‘Force continuous prayer, against nature’, and see what grace you’ll receive.
Our life is sorrow, son, because we’re living in exile. Don’t seek perfect ease. Christ took up the cross, and we shall, too. Provided we endure sorrows, we’ll find grace from the Lord. This is why the Lord allows us to be tempted: to test the zeal and love we have for him. This is why we need patience. Without patience, people don’t become effective, they don’t learn about spiritual matters, they don’t attain to any measure of virtue and perfection.
Love Jesus, say the prayer unceasingly and it will illumine your path.
Take care not to judge. Because then God will allow grace to depart and the Lord will let you fall, so that you’ll be humbled and see your own faults. When grace withdraws, in order for us to be tested, everything becomes carnal and the soul falls. But don’t lose your intent; rather, shout the prayer continuously, with force, with difficulty, with great pain. ‘Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me’. And again, lots of times, exactly the same. And when you gaze upon Christ in your nous, say to him: ‘Glory to you, glory to you, my God’. And if you’re patient, grace will return, as will joy. But so will temptation, sorrow, turmoil and irritability. And then, the struggle again, victory and hymns of thanks. And this goes on and on until you’re gradually cleansed from the passions and you become spiritual.
Ascetic effort, son, requires privations. It needs a struggle and a great deal of effort. You have to call on Christ day and night. You have to show patience in all temptations and sorrows. You have to smother anger and desire.
You’ll have to work very hard before you understand that prayer without attention and vigilance is a waste of time; effort without reward. You have to set a vigilant guard on the outside of your inner feelings, because without such a guard, your mind and the forces of your soul are expended on empty, commonplace things; they’re like water running down the streets. Nobody’s ever found prayer without care and vigilance. Nobody’s ever been allowed to ascend to the things above without first disdaining the things below.