Sunday, March 21, 2010

30 Days of Hearing

Day 16: Disquieted

I woke up this morning disquieted. I don’t know why, except that I remember dreaming a lot. The dreams I remember were not nightmarish, but for some reason unsettled my heart.

The sounds of my disquieted soul provoked me to seek God’s peace. I remembered the Jesus prayer and began to meditate on it. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” This ancient prayer, practiced over centuries, has been a mantra of saints who long to live from a peaceful union with Christ.

The desert fathers and mothers of the 4th and 5th centuries used the Jesus prayer to practice “hesychia”, a Greek word for tranquility or peace, “a state in which the Christian, through grace and intense asceticism, reintegrated his or her whole being into a single person who is placed completely under the direct influence of the Trinity dwelling within….” (The Power of the Name, Alphonse and Rachel Goettmann)

As I repeated the Jesus prayer, meditated on each word, I was reminded that when I bring myself into God’s presence, it isn’t my ability to purge myself of sin or produce perfect piety that warrants Christ’s presence. It is Jesus’ mercy on me, a sinner—grace emanating from his nature--that welcomes me into his presence.

My heart is quiet now. It is well with my soul.

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