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On Cleaving To God
Chapter 13

The nature and value of prayer, and how the heart should be recollected

within itself

   Besides this, since we are incapable of ourselves for this and for any
   other good action whatsoever, and since we can of ourselves offer
   nothing to the Lord God (from whom all good things come) which is not
   his already, with this one exception, as he has deigned to show us both
   by his own blessed mouth as well as by his example, that we should turn
   to him in all circumstances and occasions as guilty, wretched, poor,
   beggarly, weak, helpless, subject servants and sons. And that we should
   beseech him and lay before him with complete confidence the dangers
   that are besetting us on all sides, completely grief-stricken in
   ourselves, in humble prostration of mind, in fear and love, and with
   recollected, composed, mature, true and naked, shamefaced affection,
   with great yearning and determination, and in groaning of heart and
   sincerity of mind. Thus we commit and offer ourselves up to him freely,
   securely and nakedly, fully and in everything that is ours, holding
   nothing back to ourselves, in such a complete and final way, that the
   same is fulfilled in us as in our blessed father Isaac, who speaks of
   this very type of prayer, saying, Then we shall be one in God, and the
   Lord God will be all in all and alone in us when his own perfect love,
   with which he first loved us, will have become the disposition of our
   own hearts too. This will come about when all our love, all our desire,
   all our concern, all our efforts, in fact everything we think,
   everything we see, speak and even hope will be God, and that unity
   which now is of the Father with the Son, and of the Son with the
   Father, will be poured into our own heart and mind as well, in such a
   way that just as he loves us with sincere and indissoluble love we too
   will be joined to him with eternal and inseparable affection. In other
   words we shall be united with him in such a way that whatever we hope,
   and whatever we say or pray will be God. This therefore should be the
   aim, this the concern and goal of a spiritual man - to be worthy to
   possess the image of future bliss in this corruptible body, and in a
   certain measure experience in advance how the foretaste of that
   heavenly bliss, eternal life and glory begins in this world. This, as I
   say, is the goal of all perfection, that his purified mind should be
   daily raised up from all bodily objects to spiritual things until all
   his mental activity and all his heart's desire become one unbroken
   prayer. So the mind must abandon the dregs of earth and press on
   towards to God, on whom alone should be fixed the desire of a spiritual
   man, for whom the least separation from that summum bonum is to be
   considered a living death and dreadful loss. Then, when the requisite
   peace has been established in his mind, when it is free from attachment
   to any carnal passion, and clings firmly in intention to that one
   supreme good, the Apostle's sayings are fulfilled, Pray without
   ceasing, (1 Thessalonians 5.17) and, Pray in every place lifting up
   pure hands without anger or dispute. (1 Timothy 2.8) For when the power
   of the mind is absorbed in this purity, so to speak, and is transformed
   from an earthly nature into the spiritual or angelic likeness, whatever
   it receives into itself, whatever it is occupied with, whatever it is
   doing, it will be pure and sincere prayer. In this way, if you continue
   all the time in the way we have described from the beginning, it will
   become as easy and clear for you to remain in contemplation in your
   inward and recollected state, as to live in the natural state.
     







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