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Awareness (and Prayer)

“…by prayer, we practice the habit of keeping God “before our eyes.” Eventually, our constant awareness of the Lord’s presence in prayer permeates our hearts and pervades our minds so that everything we say becomes a kind of prayer and worthy of God’s holy ears.” (Fr. Basil)

“God knows the needs of His people. Man prays in order to unite his mind and heart with God. He prays in order that God’s will would be done in his life. He prays so that whatever he needs from God would be given. He prays so that he would consciously and with full awareness express the fact that all that he is, has and does is dependent on God. It is man who needs to pray. It is not God who needs man’s prayers.” (Fr. Thomas Hopko)

“As we gather in our parishes as communities of faith and as families, and as we follow the example of Jesus and retreat from the turbulence of society into the stillness of the heart, we discover that authentic prayer extends beyond the communal and individual act of worship. Rather, authentic prayer is a condition of the heart, a state of being in communion with God and with others in ways that occupy and engage the human soul in every dimension of life, even in the most ordinary of daily tasks. Our monastic tradition endeavors to cultivate this awareness with particular emphasis on communal life and prayer. With equal conviction, our parishes strive this season to offer increased opportunities for us to cultivate prayer in daily life, through the Divine services, through the study of Scripture, through retreats and lectures, and through social outreach opportunities.” (Archbishop Demetrios of America)

“Prayer can become a way of life, once we have tasted its sweetness, and once we finally begin to understand the futility of so many of our thoughts. In time, we learn to long for the ultimate source of existence on an ongoing basis, and to make the awareness of God part of the fabric of more and more of our moments. No other person can fill us with life as God does, and it is for Life that we were created. Yes, we, each of us, are sinners and strugglers, each with our own weaknesses. But by the same token, whatever the spiritual life is supposed to be, it can’t be meant only for those who are so perfect that they are beyond all temptation. Somehow, it is in the midst of our confusions, fears, distractions, temptations and habitual mistakes that we are meant to pursue that “one thing needful”: a living relationship with the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, and to love Him who is “the express image of the Father,” and who is also the one “upon whom the Spirit of the Father descends and remains.” (Timothy Patitsas)

“…human beings made in God’s image feel the Holy Spirit within them that cries out from their souls the awareness of the Lord’s presence. We are not whole until we are in touch with the living God within our souls. When that God-awareness happens and the light of the Spirit illumines the mind, the reaction is one of awe, followed by repentance. Why had I not seen it before, the person wonders. Have I been wandering in the darkness of ignorance and did not know it? O Lord, I’m so sorry – says the conscience to the mind. Repentance is a precious gift, the beginning of the journey of the soul to the Lord…Silent inner prayer is part of that process of salvation from the initial enlightenment into repentance, through purification and on to the third stage of the journey, which is perfection, described by St. Isaac as the “silence of the mind.” Even there prayer never ceases but continues in a new form, the awareness of being in the presence of the Lord.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)


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