Der Abstieg des Geistes ins Herz: Das Gebet des Herzens in der östlichen christlichen Tradition. Eine Einführung
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The descent of mind into the heart “the prayer of the heart” in the eastern christian tradition. An introduction
Zejście umysłu w głąb serca. „Modlitwa serca” w chrześcijańskiej tradycji wschodniej. Wprowadzenie
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In Eastern Christianity, and starting from the Gospel words “pray without ceasing”, the monks have developed almost from the beginning the so-called “prayer of heart” or “Jesus prayer”. In time, this prayer had many versions, all of them very short ones. Today, the most renowned version is found in the formula: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner”. In our world, in which the contribution of reason to the development of “man” and humanity is more and more asserted, even to the extent of separating reason from sentiment, the prayer of the heart is advising us to give up the apparent superiority of reason and to censor our thoughts and experiences, filtering them through the heart. It is not the heart which finds its rest into the mind, but rather the mind finds its rest in the heart – into the depth of the heart closely united with the depth of God, the “object” of its search. The mind descended in the heart does not encounter God any more through ideas, but through the experience of His presence, which allows it to verify in reality what the mind thinks. This means that reason cannot comprehend God in the way the heart can, that – for the relationship of man with God – the heart is for the mind a kind of sense organ necessary for accomplishing equilibrium. Contemporary man is very anxious about the rational understanding of God, of the world and of himself. The prayer of the heart offers to this man the rediscovery of a forgotten relationship, that between mind and heart, in order that within the conscience of man, within his daily existence and within the world may exist more peacefully, harmoniously and with fulfillment – more divine presence.
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