Friday, 23 September 2005

The Beginning

To be a monk is to live a life of prayer. Our ascesis is subordinated to the life of prayer. Orthodox monks pray the Jesus Prayer. We will say something about the Jesus Prayer.

The most important thing in the life of the Christian is spiritual love. This is not sentimentality but the Holy Spirit. Many people talk about the Holy Spirit, but how many people have it? ‘The wind (pneuma) blows wherever it will; and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes and whither it goes. So it is, everyone who is born of the Spirit (pneuma).’ (John 3, 8.)

Part of the nature of God--God is love--is the freedom associated with love: there is no spiritual love without freedom. Where you see compulsion, there is no true love; when you encounter spiritual love in a person, you find freedom in that person.

It is the same with God.

This spiritual love is different from Eros.

Christian prayer is a relationship between two persons: the monk and God. Eros can enter into this relationship. But the relationship of prayer between the monk and God is ideally a relationship of spiritual love supported by Eros.

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