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Pope Francis encourages Catholics to say Jesus Prayer throughout the day

Eamonomae

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Asteriktos

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Yeah, I remember when I was first exploring Orthodoxy and Catholicism back around 2000-2001 I read a couple books by the Trappist monk Basil Pennington in which he promoted it.

Also, bonus points, I guess, for mentioning The Way of a Pilgrim.
 

Ainnir

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I still need to read that.
 

scamandrius

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The Jesus Prayer is indeed a good spiritual exercise. HOWEVER, if it is made a rule on one's own with no consultation of a spiritual father and long before someone is ready, it can be in fact dangerous.

Also, why is the Pope encouraging Latin Rite Catholics to use the Jesus Prayer. There's nothing wrong with it, but his encouragement should be met with some pushback along the lines of "Why? Are we lacking in our own spiritual tradition that we need to adopt from others?" I don't think any Orthodox priest would ever counsel any of his flock to incorporate practices from the Lutherans or the Methodists or the Copts. For any priest of any Christian confession to counsel this is essentially saying that there is deficiency in his own. Find the good things in one's own spiritual confession. Just say no to syncretism/
 
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I presume the Pope sees the Jesus Prayer as useful as practiced by Eastern Catholics as well as Orthodox.
 

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The Jesus Prayer is indeed a good spiritual exercise. HOWEVER, if it is made a rule on one's own with no consultation of a spiritual father and long before someone is ready, it can be in fact dangerous.

Also, why is the Pope encouraging Latin Rite Catholics to use the Jesus Prayer. There's nothing wrong with it, but his encouragement should be met with some pushback along the lines of "Why? Are we lacking in our own spiritual tradition that we need to adopt from others?" I don't think any Orthodox priest would ever counsel any of his flock to incorporate practices from the Lutherans or the Methodists or the Copts. For any priest of any Christian confession to counsel this is essentially saying that there is deficiency in his own. Find the good things in one's own spiritual confession. Just say no to syncretism/
Catholics consider the Patrimony of the East as part of our tradition, just as Orthodox consider the Patrimony of the West (preschism anyways) part of theirs.
 

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The Jesus Prayer is indeed a good spiritual exercise. HOWEVER, if it is made a rule on one's own with no consultation of a spiritual father and long before someone is ready, it can be in fact dangerous.
Yes, having a spiritual father is essential, but the prayer itself is not dangerous. It's not some esoteric practice meant only for the "initiated". That would be a gnostic distortion. It is simply prayer to Jesus Christ and acknowledgement of one's sinfulness.
In my view, the more non-Orthodox pray this way, the more likely they'll discover how effective it is and the more likely they'll read the Orthodox Fathers on the subject and eventually become Orthodox. (y)
 

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The Jesus Prayer is indeed a good spiritual exercise. HOWEVER, if it is made a rule on one's own with no consultation of a spiritual father and long before someone is ready, it can be in fact dangerous.

Also, why is the Pope encouraging Latin Rite Catholics to use the Jesus Prayer. There's nothing wrong with it, but his encouragement should be met with some pushback along the lines of "Why? Are we lacking in our own spiritual tradition that we need to adopt from others?" I don't think any Orthodox priest would ever counsel any of his flock to incorporate practices from the Lutherans or the Methodists or the Copts. For any priest of any Christian confession to counsel this is essentially saying that there is deficiency in his own. Find the good things in one's own spiritual confession. Just say no to syncretism/
" In temptations of the flesh, a Christian ought to have immediate recourse to God, make the sign of the cross over his heart three times, and say, “Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.” " - St. Philip Neri
 

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The last time I spoke with a Catholic pastor, I asked him if it was OK for me to pray Orthodox prayers.
He told me it was perfectly fine. He just didn’t like my other questions about Orthodoxy and essentially called me a schismatic.
 

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How could the Jesus prayer be dangerous
Because there's a thing and it may simply be that when we draw nearer to God the enemy of our souls wages warfare against us and maybe it's a prelesty thing....
Maybe it's the part about using imagination/ images in the Jesus prayer similiar to the complaints against the Western Rosary except Westerns think of the Gospel readings of the life of Christ in their Rosary prayer while some in the teaching of the Jesus prayer teach to imagine the human heart, the blood flow, the oxygen exchange, the lungs.. to look deep within ourselves... this is imagining ourselves and that we are being our focus in prayer.

But calling upon the name of Jesus all day long and thinking about His wonderful grace and mercy and truth is never wrong.
 

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Because there's a thing and it may simply be that when we draw nearer to God the enemy of our souls wages warfare against us and maybe it's a prelesty thing....
Maybe it's the part about using imagination/ images in the Jesus prayer similiar to the complaints against the Western Rosary except Westerns think of the Gospel readings of the life of Christ in their Rosary prayer while some in the teaching of the Jesus prayer teach to imagine the human heart, the blood flow, the oxygen exchange, the lungs.. to look deep within ourselves... this is imagining ourselves and that we are being our focus in prayer.

But calling upon the name of Jesus all day long and thinking about His wonderful grace and mercy and truth is never wrong.
I was taught to, as much as possible, focus on the words of the prayer. When the mind wanders from them, as it inevitably will, you just gently bring your focus back to the words, without "imagining" anything. I'd love to one day reach the state where the prayer "prays itself" in me, all day long. I may not probably won't live that long, though....
 

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Yes, having a spiritual father is essential, but the prayer itself is not dangerous. It's not some esoteric practice meant only for the "initiated". That would be a gnostic distortion. It is simply prayer to Jesus Christ and acknowledgement of one's sinfulness.
In my view, the more non-Orthodox pray this way, the more likely they'll discover how effective it is and the more likely they'll read the Orthodox Fathers on the subject and eventually become Orthodox. (y)
Do you have any EVIDENCE to back up your assertion that Jesus Prayer use leads to more converts to the Orthodox faith? I'll wait.
 

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Catholics consider the Patrimony of the East as part of our tradition, just as Orthodox consider the Patrimony of the West (preschism anyways) part of theirs.
But I don't use any of the Patrimony of the WEst in my prayer rule, nor do countless other Eastern Rite Orthodox. There are good reasons for that. Mixing and matching of Rites only begets confusion and a cacophony of individual desires over that of the inherited tradition from the Fathers.
 

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Do you have any EVIDENCE to back up your assertion that Jesus Prayer use leads to more converts to the Orthodox faith? I'll wait.
Lol. Why are you getting yourself all worked up about people praying? Are you telling me that converts shouldn't be allowed to pray Orthodox prayers until after they're baptized or chrismated? That's absurd.
 

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The Jesus Prayer is indeed a good spiritual exercise. HOWEVER, if it is made a rule on one's own with no consultation of a spiritual father and long before someone is ready, it can be in fact dangerous.

Also, why is the Pope encouraging Latin Rite Catholics to use the Jesus Prayer. There's nothing wrong with it, but his encouragement should be met with some pushback along the lines of "Why? Are we lacking in our own spiritual tradition that we need to adopt from others?" I don't think any Orthodox priest would ever counsel any of his flock to incorporate practices from the Lutherans or the Methodists or the Copts. For any priest of any Christian confession to counsel this is essentially saying that there is deficiency in his own. Find the good things in one's own spiritual confession. Just say no to syncretism/
Since when is it dangerous to pray, especially to invoke the name of Jesus? And if indeed dangerous, how so? Do you have evidence of this danger?

I get that having a spiritual father is important, but there seems to be a shortage of them these days. And not all priests are spiritual fathers, let alone good ones. I recall reading somewhere a number of years ago that if you do not have a spiritual father and there are none available, the next best thing would be to turn good, solid Orthodox books.

St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, On The Prayer Of Jesus, p. 39 (New Seeds Books, Boston, Ma.), writes, "This means that all Christians can and should practice the Prayer of Jesus for the purpose of repenting and calling upon the Lord for help, with faith and the fear of God, with the greatest attention to the thought and the words of the prayer, and with contrition of spirit. In this way not only monks...but lay people as well can and should practice the Prayer of Jesus." (my emphases)

Unless you don't consider Catholics to be Christians, there is no reason why Catholics should not be encouraged to pray the Prayer of Jesus. Suggesting that they could or should is no commentary whatsoever on "their own spiritual tradition". It's not as if the Orthodox Church has a monopoly or trademark on the Prayer of Jesus.
 

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But I don't use any of the Patrimony of the WEst in my prayer rule, nor do countless other Eastern Rite Orthodox. There are good reasons for that. Mixing and matching of Rites only begets confusion and a cacophony of individual desires over that of the inherited tradition from the Fathers.
Since the Jesus Prayer is Scriptural as is the Hail Mary I don’t think either can be claimed as the provenance of any one Rite although later devotional and theological developments certainly can. A Roman Catholic praying the Jesus Prayer on his beads or an Eastern Orthodox praying the Hail Mary on his knots is hardly going to cause confusion.
 

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I get that having a spiritual father is important, but there seems to be a shortage of them these days. And not all priests are spiritual fathers, let alone good ones. I recall reading somewhere a number of years ago that if you do not have a spiritual father and there are none available, the next best thing would be to turn good, solid Orthodox books.

St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, On The Prayer Of Jesus,...
That was St. Ignatius as well, though I cannot find the specific reference at the moment.
 

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“There is no danger of delusion, as is bandied about by a few unknowledgeable people, as long as the prayer is said in a simple and humble manner.”

Elder Joseph of Vatopedi on the Jesus Prayer
 

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“There is no danger of delusion, as is bandied about by a few unknowledgeable people, as long as the prayer is said in a simple and humble manner.”

Elder Joseph of Vatopedi on the Jesus Prayer
The quote supports my claims more than yours. Notice what he says "as long as..." That means there is a condition. If it is not meant, then it does become dangerous.

Praying the Jesus Prayer which has a particular ascesis attached to it without guidance has many pitfalls. I don't understand why you are so opposed for people to have acquired some sort of spiritual maturity before going into these depths.
 

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Because you are confusing saying the prayer devotionally with saying the prayer while pursuing hesychia which I agree with you must be done under direction of a spiritual father. And all prayer should be done in a humble manner, nothing new there.

“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
 

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“The Jesus Prayer basically is used in three different ways. First as the verse used for the “prayer of the heart” in silence in the hesychast method of prayer. Second as the continual mental and unceasing prayer of the faithful outside the hesychast tradition. And third as the brief ejaculatory prayer used to ward off temptations.”

“The use of the Jesus Prayer outside the hesychast method for unceasing prayer is to repeat the prayer constantly and continually, whatever one is doing, without the employment of any particular bodily postures or breathing techniques. This is the way taught by Saint Gregory Palamas in his short discourse about how unceasing mental prayer is the duty of all Christians. Anyone can do this, whatever his occupation or position in life. This also is shown in The Way of the Pilgrim.”

 

Mor Ephrem

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“There is no danger of delusion, as is bandied about by a few unknowledgeable people, as long as the prayer is said in a simple and humble manner.”

Elder Joseph of Vatopedi on the Jesus Prayer
Surely the elder would reach a different conclusion after discussing the matter with our resident experts.
 

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Good Advice from the Holy Father. The Jesus Prayer, common among both Eastern Catholics and Orthodox Christians, is a wonderful prayer that can enrich the spiritual life of all Christians imo, Latin Catholics like moi included. I've been praying the Jesus Prayer myself for quite some time before, and now have increased doing it, after the Pope advised it.
 

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Because you are confusing saying the prayer devotionally with saying the prayer while pursuing hesychia which I agree with you must be done under direction of a spiritual father. And all prayer should be done in a humble manner, nothing new there.
All prayer isn't in pursuit of hesychia? Could you please break down the legal categories of prayer.
 

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I gave you a quote from the OCA web page outlining the different uses of the Jesus prayer.
 

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"The Jesus Prayer is a prayer of marvelous versatility. It is a prayer for beginners, but equally a prayer that leads to the deepest mysteries of the contemplative life. It can be used by anyone, at any time, in any place: standing in queues, walking, traveling on buses or trains; when at work; when unable to sleep at night; at times of special anxiety when it is impossible to concentrate upon other kinds of prayer. But while of course every Christian can use the Prayer at odd moments in this way, it is a different matter to recite it more or less continually and to use the physical exercises which have become associated with it. Orthodox spiritual writers insist that those who use the Jesus Prayer systematically should, if possible, place themselves under the guidance of an experienced director and do nothing on their own initiative." - Met. Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Church
 

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I'm scared to repeat this prayer because Jesus said not to use vain repetition when we pray. I feel more comfortable just talking to God about my issues.
 

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It's not a vain repetition, it is Pious Repetition. The Bible is full of Pious Repetitions. For e.g. the Psalmist prays "Praise the Lord" repeatedly. The Jesus Prayer is similarly a pious repetition we can pray all the time that enables us to "Pray without ceasing" as St. Paul instructs us to in the Bible.
 

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It's not a vain repetition, it is Pious Repetition. The Bible is full of Pious Repetitions. For e.g. the Psalmist prays "Praise the Lord" repeatedly. The Jesus Prayer is similarly a pious repetition we can pray all the time that enables us to "Pray without ceasing" as St. Paul instructs us to in the Bible.
So how would you define a vain repetition then? Could you give me an example of a vain repetition within prayer, that Jesus disapproves of?
 

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I'm scared to repeat this prayer because Jesus said not to use vain repetition when we pray. I feel more comfortable just talking to God about my issues.
You can and should do whatever works best in your own spiritual life, I'm not your spiritual guide or advisor to say otherwise. Regarding 'vain repetitions,' I think the passage has to do with the intentions and mindset: whether your orientation is God-centered, 'loving God and neighbor,' or self-centered and prideful. Jesus mentions giving to the needy in private and not for show (Matt. 6:2-4), and then says the same thing about praying in private rather than making a show of it for others (vv. 5-6). The point is not to completely eliminate all prayer or giving in public, but to make a point about how we are supposed to be with the right intentions and orientation, which is then what he means when he speaks of "vain repetitions" (v. 7). I think this is confirmed in the following verses. Jesus says God already knows what we need (v. 8), but I don't think anyone would assume that that means we should give up requests during prayer entirely since God already knows. Jesus just meant we should approach things with the right mindset, intentions, and expectations. Jesus then goes on to give us a prayer that includes petitions for things from God (vv. 8-13), and the 'Our Father' has been used ever since. Whether it's being prayed in a 'vainly repetitious' way depends on the individual.
 

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Compare to Christ’s advice on fasting. Same idea, I think.
 

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I'm scared to repeat this prayer because Jesus said not to use vain repetition when we pray. I feel more comfortable just talking to God about my issues.
Do you know what vain means? Vain means empty. Calling upon the name of the Lord is NEVER empty. But, sure, go with what is "more comfortable."
 

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Can one break the commandment to not use the Lord's name in vain while praying the Jesus prayer?
 
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