In the first part of the video interview, Fr. Aimilianos of Simonopetra (+2019) talks about the Jesus Prayer as the essence of all prayers which exist in our Church, a living memory, not a ‘magical formula’, nor a psycho-somatic exercise related to some kind of gnostic or syncretic knowledge.
Languages: English (adapted after Romanian version @Elena Dinu), German, Greek
What is ‘Jesus Prayer’?
Now we dive deeper into the inner space…
Jesus Prayer is the essence of all prayers which exist in our Church.
This is the most concise, the most tested, and the most effective prayer that man can pray.
And as we understand, this prayer is the most direct, suitable and accessible prayer to all people, not only to monks. And this thing also has a great importance: that laypeople and monks pray with the same prayer, because this is the one that immediately makes us capable of acquiring God… Like the eyes which fill with light…
In other words, because there is no such thing as two different systems of spiritual life, for this reason, the monks, who follow the example of Heaven, and the world, which, as we said, follows the example of the monastic community, pray together with this prayer.
Therefore, prayer is a unique and exclusive good of the Church. Prayer is a consequence which flows from the depths of monastic experience, and of course, of every person who seeks and waits for God.
It is the experience of the Fathers of the Church, and it is a fruit acquired by every person who lives a clean and evangelical life.
Therefore, prayer is a living memory. And it is an invocation of the Name of God.
It is so short! It is a repetition of these words: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.”
What is going on with us through this invocation and repetition?
We acquire a spiritual dynamism that does not come from us, but from God Himself.
The name of the Lord which we repeat, it’s not something randomly chosen, but it’s comprehensive.
It comprises the divinity. It includes Christ Himself, Who immediately enters into communion with our hearts.
Thus, the repetition of the prayer has significance… Not because this invocation, by itself, can offer us something… But this invocation helps us to acquire a habit, so that the remembrance of Christ within us becomes unceasing. So everything around us and inside our hearts becomes filled with God.
So this repetition, is not a ‘magical formula’ which can bear fruit by itself.
The repetition is just an intensification, and a focusing, and a rooting of the Name of Christ and thus of Christ Himself, in our daily lives.
It is not a mechanical work. It is not a subjective opinion of man.
Is not a work which stimulates imagination.
It is not a psycho-somatic exercise about which one might think that it has access to a kind of gnostic or syncretic knowledge… or that this exercise would bring spiritual results… Or that through this formula, man can tend towards infinity or to a faceless god.
This repetition creates within man the power to unceasingly invoke God, and therefore, the human participation, offers him a state of joy and spiritual happiness, and other charisms.
And then, when man reaches this primary stage, well, he understands that Holy Spirit mediates between his personality and the Personal God!
And from that moment the Holy Spirit exalts man to God.