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The work of holy stillness is dynamic and so enthralling that when the mind is enthroned in the heart, it is captivated and longs for nothing to tear it away. It descends into the deep recesses of the heart and rises to the inﬁnite heights of the divine Will. Puriﬁed in its furnace, the mind becomes ﬁt for the contemplation of the judgments of God. Like the apostles after Pentecost, man now lives as if he were ‘full of sweet new wine’, given over to the sober drunkenness of divine love.
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Through the hesychastic method, the ascetic keeps watch over his senses which are the entrances of his soul, so that the enemy cannot enter and tempt him as he tempted the ﬁrst-created, pillaging Paradise in his heart. Instead of the Cherubim, it is now the mind of man that guards the place of the heart, having as an invincible ‘flaming sword’ the Name of the Almighty Jesus. And if God is well-pleased to make man’s body ‘a place for the manifestation of His glory’, what greater honour can mortal man render to the Great King than to fix his mind in his heart, the place that is the footstool of His feet?
Being free from the agitation and vanity of this world, hesychastic life anticipates the supra-cosmic victory of Christ Who has come and is coming again. More speciﬁcally, by his struggle to rid himself of earthly cares and to surrender to the memory of God, invoking His Name with ardent love, the hesychast becomes a sharer in the victory of Him Who encouraged His people with the words: ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’
ACCOUNTS FROM THE LIVES OF THE HESYCHASTS
PURE PRAYER AND MENTAL STILLNESS IN SAINTS SILOUAN AND SOPHRONY
Father Zacharias studied theology at the Orthodox Theological Institute of Saint Sergius in Paris and at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He has lived all his monastic life in the monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Essex where he serves as a spiritual Father and minister of the word of God to his brethren and the people that come to him. Read more…
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