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Thursday, July 6, 2006
The Jesus Prayer

The classical form of the Jesus Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

Fr. John Corapi recently talked about how this prayer is a wonderful prayer to say during our day. I completely agree. Please realize that the actual words of our short prayers can vary. Some versions will say, "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me" while others say, "Lord Jesus, have mercy." Monks of old said, "Lord, make haste to help me. Lord, make speed to save me," throughout their entire day.

The Jesus Prayer originates in the early sixth century, with Diadochos, who taught that repetition of the prayer leads to inner stillness. Even earlier John Cassian recommended this type of prayer. In the fourth century Egypt short "arrow" prayers were practiced.

Realize that this prayer, repeated throughout the day, is a very pious action. It does not go against Our Lord's command not to pray in "vain repetition" because Jesus' emphasis is on "vain" prayers, not on the fact they are repeated often. Jesus himself taught us the Our Father for us to repeat just two lines after Matthew 6:7! The important thing is that we must raise our hearts and minds to God (CCC 2559). That is prayer!

Abba Macarius of Egypt said there is no need to waste time with words. It is enough to hold out your hands and say, "Lord, according to your desire and your wisdom, have mercy." If pressed in the struggle, say, "Lord, save me!" or simply, " Lord." He knows what is best for us, and will have mercy upon us. St. Francis of Assisi said, "Preach always, when necessary use words."

Fr. John Corapi said that if we can't concentrate on prayer because we are in pain or dying , just say the name of "Jesus".


Image Source: Blessed Cardinal Schuster


del_button July 6, 2006 at 4:32 PM
Louis said...

Yes, this is a wonderful little prayer and so full of meaning. I even have a set of "Jesus Beads" which is 100 wooden beads and a wooden Crucifix. The Eastern Orthodox monasteries use these very much as we use the Rosary.

del_button July 6, 2006 at 4:59 PM
Deanna said...

It's so easy to get caught up in feeling like we have to explain our needs and our feelings to God and that our prayers won't be effective without a lot of "words".
What do we really have need of more than mercy?
Good reminder!!
Even when we can't articulate the need crying out to Him by calling on His name is acknowledging our dependence on Him.

del_button August 26, 2006 at 8:54 AM
Anonymous said...

Jesus Jesus Jesus


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