Clerical Articles

Learn how to pray (I)

  • February 19, 2017

If our despair springs out from the depths of our soul, if what we ask, if what we say aloud is so essential that can cover the needs of our life, then we find the right words to pray and in the highest moment of our prayer, we can meet God.

I would like to add something more about the `cry` of our prayer. Blind Bartimaeus cried out loud. But what does the Gospel say about the people who were around him? They tried to make him shut up. We can imagine those good worshipers, who had good sight, good legs, who were healthy and who surrounded Christ and talked about great things, about the coming Kingdom of God, about the mysteries of the Holy Gospel, how they turned to Bartimaeus and said: Can’t you just shut up? Your eyes, what matter your eyes when we talk about God? Bartimaeus seemed as if he were a stranger and all of a sudden he went in the middle and without paying attention to what was happening around him, was desperately asking from God what he needed. And he did this despite of the fact that his cries spoiled the harmony of those traditional discussions taking place around. Those who were bothered could have pushed him away and made him shut up. But the Gospel says that even if those men wanted to make him be quiet, he insisted because what he wanted was of a very high importance for him.

The harder they tried to make him shut up, the louder he cried.

Here is my message. In Greece there is a saint called Maximus. He was young when one day he went to the church and heard the reading from the Apostle, who says that we must pray ceaselessly. This impressed him so much that he thought he couldn’t do anything else but try to keep this commandment.

When he got out of the church he decided to go to the nearest mountain and there in silence to start praying in the way he heard in the Gospel. As a Greek peasant from the fourth century, he knew the our father prayer and some more others. And as he confesses himself he started to say them one after another then started all over again. He felt very well. He prayed, communicated with God, rejoiced. All things seemed perfect to him. But the sun was about to set and it got cold and dark.

It was complete darkness when he heard around him many strange noises. He heard the branches which were crushed under the feet of the animals, he saw the glittering eyes of the wild beasts, he heard the cries of the small animals which were eaten by the big ones. He heard all the noises which are commonly heard in a forest.

Then he felt he was alone. Alone indeed, a small defenceless creature in the middle of a world of danger, death and pain. He felt he had no aid if God didn’t offer him His Own. He didn’t continue to say his prayers but did exactly what Baertimeus had done. He started to cry out loud: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me! And he cried like this all night, because the wild beasts and their glittering eyes didn’t give him any rest.