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Posted By: MengTzu Jesus Prayer - 07/28/11 10:40 PM
Dear all,

I'm new to this forum. I have a few questions about the Jesus Prayer.

1) Can a Latin Church Catholic practice it?

It would be great if the Eastern Catholic forummers can help me out with the the following questions:

2) What is the proper way to practice it?

3) Can I incorporate it with my breathing? I have read about this practice and find it very beautiful - you're invoking the mercy of Jesus at every breath.

4) Can I practice it without getting involved in anyway with Hesychasm?

Posted By: byzanTN Re: Jesus Prayer - 07/29/11 01:42 AM
I would recommend a couple of books to you, both available in paperback. I think Amazon probably has one of them. I believe the first one I may have bought from Light & Life.

1.) The Way of a Pilgrim -I have the translation by Olga Savin with a foreword by Fr. Thomas Hopko.

2.) On the Prayer of Jesus by Ignatius Brianchaninov

Both are excellent and will answer many of your questions.

Posted By: Nelson Chase Re: Jesus Prayer - 07/29/11 04:11 AM
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1) Can a Latin Church Catholic practice it?

Yes, with the Blessing of ones Spiritual Father (or a Spiritual mother) who has knowledge of the prayer and Hesychasm. So get His blessing and direction.

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2) What is the proper way to practice it?

Ask your Spiritual Father.

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3) Can I incorporate it with my breathing? I have read about this practice and find it very beautiful - you're invoking the mercy of Jesus at every breath.

That is an advanced practice, which one should not under take without the blessing of ones Spiritual Father

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4) Can I practice it without getting involved in anyway with Hesychasm?

No. They go part and parcel.

http://easterncatholicspiritualrene...sychasm-in-teaching-of-metropolitan.html

The Jesus is prayer is not a centering prayer.

http://easterncatholicspiritualrenewal.blogspot.com/2010/08/jesus-prayer-vs-centering-prayer.html

It is a mystery that should only be undertaken with the blessing of ones Spiritual Father. I hope you see the overall theme of my response- don't start the prayer without a blessing for ones Spiritual Father. This is not to discourage but to pray this powerful Eastern Prayer one needs to be under good spiritual direction or there is the possibility of the prayer not being for our profit but to the contrary it could harm us.
Posted By: Phillip Rolfes Re: Jesus Prayer - 07/29/11 04:46 PM
It is actually not absolutely necessary to have a spiritual father or mother in order to practice the Jesus Prayer. St. Ignatius Brianchinanov (spelling?) in his wonderful little work on the Jesus Prayer mentions that, due to a lack of good spiritual guides in his day, one may "replace" a spiritual guide with extensive spiritual reading. I'd recommend checking out the great Russian Fathers, particularly the above mentioned Ignatius, as well as St. Theophan the Reclude and St. Seraphim of Sarov.

Roman Catholics may most certainly practice the Jesus Prayer according to their own traditions since devotion to the Holy Name is not something limited to the East or Orient.

The key is focusing one's attention on the prayer with "the mind in the heart" as St. Theophan said. This is very difficult for some, very easy for others. For some prayer with the mind in the heart comes quickly, for others it takes years, and for others still they never quite get there despite intense struggle. Ultimately it is a gift.

As to postures, breathing techniques and other physical aids, the Fathers are universal in discouraging this unless one has an experienced guide. Sts. Ignatius and Theophan seemed particularly against this tradition altogether. Again, the main thing is prayer with the mind in the heart. This is the main reason I do NOT recommend the Way of the Pilgrim. The author of the book focuses quite a bit on the breathing techniques and other physical/mental techniques. These things can be, and in fact are quite dangerous if one doesn't have an experienced guide.

If you can, find a copy of "The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology". It is a wonderful little book consisting of quotes from a good number of Fathers, but mostly from St. Theophan. It is the best introduction to the Jesus Prayer and Eastern Spirituality that you will find anywhere.

And if you would like a prayer rope, I make and sell them. Just send me an e-mail at phillip.rolfes@gmail.com

ICXC + NIKA,
Phillip
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