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For if that which was done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

The Power of the Name

I occasionally find very unusual books in a local charity shop who have a one pound section as well as a slightly overpriced but very well stocked bookstall. A little booklet caught my eye, a slender pamphlet on the Jesus prayer by Bishop Kallistos Ware, The Power of the Name. I decided on it as part of my holiday reading after glancing through the first paragraph:

"... the person who has attained hesychia, inner stillness or silence, is par excellence the one who listens. He listens to the voice of prayer in his own heart, and he understands that this voice is not his own but that of Another speaking within him."

If anyone of a practical turn of mind asked me what was the point of it, what practice - even broken, half-hearted and unfaithful practice - of the divine office achieved over a year or two, I would quote this sentence. In the Psalms one utters the heart of Christ in the Spirit. In the office one is learning to listen to this utterance, perhaps with the faintest feeling for what the author means by silence, or maybe even a beginning to be aware of the lack of silence, a realisation of the babble and noise where silence isn't.