Over the past four weeks I have been writing a series on Hesychastic Prayer of the Greek Orthodox tradition. Hesychastic is a strange sounding word, but it is essentially the Greek Orthodox word for silent, contemplative prayer. If you have a moment, please see at least the last 2 posts for the introductory remarks on this subject.
For those with strong antipathy towards Christianity or any other form of organized religion please do not misconstrue my comments in this series. I am not writing these comments to suggest that you should agree with me or change your views. I am writing about this subject because I have found some of the practices of Greek Orthodox meditation to be a very useful counterpoint to some of the teachings I have studied in Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim practices of meditation. Learning those practices of other cultures that may be more efficacious than those one is used to is a primary benefit of inter-monastic studies.
I am also glad to stimulate interest among readers who may not realize the full power and glory of the Greek and Russian monastic traditions. In general, most of us in the west have very little awareness of the richness of these cultures. This comment is even more true of the other national Christian churches of Eastern Europe such as the Serbian, Ukrainian, and Bulgarian churches.
Please also be aware that I am in no way seeking to whitewash the serious dysfunction and errors that are also interlaced into the Orthodox traditions. There are just as many serious issues in the Orthodox cultures as there are in Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Muslim, and Hindu traditions. But do not let this dysfunction and error keep you from the priceless and immaculate truths that are also a very real attribute of these faith practices.
With these caveats and preludes, this week I want to offer a prayer I have written over the early days of this Lenten season. I offer this prayer because it helps me with the first part of the Hesychastic practice. For me that first part is to call to mind an image or vision or sense of God that is so attractive that I am freely willing to offer my love and praise to this divine other. That is, now that I have found a way to clear away the multiple distortions arising from my own clouded mind as well as the ones I feel have been superimposed upon the image of God by organized religion.
The goal is to perceive the divine energies simply, clearly and directly.
For those inclined to practices of adoration this prayer is to be recited inwardly in silence as a prelude to the repetition of whatever mantra you feel called to use. Please feel free to discard or adapt this prayer in whatever way you feel is consistent with the spiritual path you feel called to follow.
The Chaplet of Divine Grace
For the sacred beauty of your divine grace that leads us to seek you-alleluia For your holy love and mercy-alleluia For your wisdom and peace-alleluia For your righteousness and truth-alleluia For your laughter and joy-alleluia For your way of holiness and charity-alleluia For the simple glow of abiding in trust and faith in your eternal love–alleluia For the clear waters of baptism-alleluia For the instructions on penance and reconciliation-alleluia For the blessings of communion-alleluia For your handbook on gentleness-alleluia For the impulse to praise and adore-alleluia For your struggles and suffering-alleluia For your courage and sacrifice-alleluia For the perfect light of your transfiguration-alleluia For the healing infusion of your revelation-alleluia For the insights into the hidden structure of being from which your life and name emanate-alleluia For your radiant triumph in all the realms of existence-alleluia For the intimate sense of your divine glory-alleluia
Please let me know what you think or send me those prayers you have written yourself. All constructive comments will be responded to.
Will Raymond Author of “The Simple Path of Holiness” host of Meditationpractice.com
will at meditation practice dot com (spelled out to limit spam)