Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Like a Field of Untrodden Snow" -- Beginning Continuous Prayer

The theme of continuous prayer, spoken of by St. Paul and so many in the Christian spiritual tradition, can seem an unattainable goal. It is not. Metropolitan Anthony, in clear language, shows us it is a matter of resolve, desire—love. When a person turns to God, however simply or imperfectly, that person is blessed by communion with God. Responding to that blessing, we may be begin to offer our ordinary life—its hours, choices, encounters, possibilities—to God in prayer. Thus, a life of continuous prayer is born.

It is difficult to pray for a whole day. Sometimes, we try and imagine what it would be like. We think either of the liturgical life of contemplative monks or else the anchorite’s life of prayer. We don’t so often think of a life of prayer taking place in ordinary life, when everything becomes prayer or an occasion for prayer. But this is an easy way to pray, although it is of course very demanding.

Let us rise in the morning and offer ourselves to God. We have woken from a sleep which divides us from yesterday. Waking up offers us a new reality, a day which has never existed before, an unknown time and space stretching before us like a field of untrodden snow. Let us ask the Lord to bless this day and bless us in it.

And when we have done this, let us take our request seriously and also the silent answer we have been given. We are blessed by God, his blessing will be with us always in everything we do which is capable of receiving this blessing. We will only lose it when we turn away from God. And God will stay near us even then, ready to come to our aid, ready to give us back the grace we have rejected.
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

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