In this rare video recording, Fr. Gheorghe Calciu gives us precious details about the Prayer of the Heart, the fruits of this prayer and the signs of delusion. Father Gheorghe Calciu-Dumitreasa (1925–2006) spent a total of 21 years in prison for his Christian evangelism and criticism of the communist regime in Romania.
Location: Holy Cross Romanian Orthodox Church, Alexandria, VA
Date: around 2002-2003
Video source: Bucurii Duhovnicesti
Listen here to the Seven Homilies Fr. Gheorghe gave to the youth of communist Romania during lent in 1978.
Read more about Fr. Gheorghe’s life.
Fr. Gheorghe Calciu:
You close your eyes, and direct your inner attention towards the heart.
The [spiritual] heart is not really here where we hear it, but somewhere above.
This is the place of the spiritual heart. When you make this connection, the mind begins to follow the spiritual direction of the heart.
Then your entire being will change. And then, truly, the power of prayer can move mountains.
Maybe we won’t get there, but what’s important is to organize your prayer life in such a way that you pray with your mind and heart as well. When you pray, you will feel a warmth, when you truly pray, when your heart descends into your heart, you will feel a warmth. If this warmth comes from below up, then it is from the devil, don’t be deceived! If this warmth comes from above down, or finds a place in heart without passing from the lower part of the body, then, it is the Holy Spirit, who abides in you. You might even reach this state, after a long time…
I won’t make now an extended exposition of the Jesus Prayer, I will say just a few words.
Pray! Pray even for five minutes! For five minutes you must not allow even a single stray thought, except for the thought towards God, and feel around you the flutter of the Holy Spirit’s presence.
Next time I will talk more about the Jesus Prayer… And then you will feel how the Holy Spirit visits you, rarely in the beginning, but then more and more often, until it rests in your heart for long time.
I saw a man, a man who used to pray the Jesus Prayer. He was Father Benedict Ghiuș. He was already old and would rarely serve at the altar, because of his old age. He was at the Cernica Monastery [Bucharest, Romania], and when he was walking through the alleys of Cernica, or in the church, he was like a saint, like floating. Although he wasn’t smiling, his face was radiating happiness. I had a revelation about him when I went to Cernica to serve the liturgy, and he was sitting on a chair somewhere over there, in a corner, in semi-darkness, in the altar. And the more he advanced in prayer, the brighter the father’s corner became. If you had looked at him, you wouldn’t have seen any halo above his head. But you would have seen that the entire corner where he was sitting, was brighter than the rest of the altar. The altar was illuminated by candles, not light bulbs. And then I understood what the practice of Jesus Prayer means. I knew about him (everyone did) that he practiced the Prayer of the Heart…
He reached such high stages, that trough the prayer which was unceasingly uttered by his heart as his mind as well, he would emanate such light around him… That was something miraculous…
Monks say that when you pray the Jesus Prayer and you reach the perfect form of this prayer, then even if you preach, or talk to someone, or sell candles, or do other things, dig in the garden, tend the flowers, your heart and mind unceasingly sings: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Unceasingly, without pause and without separation from God. As if the mind would divide itself in two parts, one preoccupied with the daily tasks, and another one which maintains a permanent relationship with God!
Maybe we don’t seek to reach that stage, but God is great, Holy Spirit fulfills everything!