Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
Priest Stephen Anagnostopoulos
In a town from Pelopones I met once a Christian who was about 32 y.o and who spread a rosemary scent. And my amazement became even greater when he started to talk to me about the Jesus prayer, realizing that from his mouth was coming out the ineffable scent of the Holy Spirit.
He learnt about the rosary and the Jesus prayer some years ago in the Holy Mountain and since then he has been saying it ceaselessly, day and night. And many times without any interruption even during nights.The prayer completed the natural need for sleep.
Thus little by little the Jesus prayer became spiritual in his heart.
He delighted in the greatness of this prayer, without being able to explain how it was said inside himself. This was taking place in his heart so sweetly and he did not say it consciously, neither with his mouth nor with his inner word. This is the greatness of the spiritual prayer, especially of that called the prayer of the mind.
Once, being in a state like this, he was so much changed by the grace of God, so he said that: ”I forgot about myself. It was like I was getting lost and all of a sudden I felt that my soul was in the open arms of my spiritual confessor, who prayed before a bright heavenly throne with an abundance of light and grace of God.
After a while this heavenly light covered completely my spiritual confessor and it made him shine so brightly that I got the feeling that I had closed the eyes of my soul. How did I see? I do not know. My soul, which was bonded to him tightly heard him praying for me to Lord Jesus Christ.
I did not dare to raise the eyes of my soul, however I felt that light flood overflowing me, filling me with bliss, joy, peace, amazement, exultation. After some time I came back to my senses.
I felt I was not walking on earth and the Jesus prayer was uttering itself inside me for many times. My Lord Jesus, My Lord Jesus, My Lord Jesus…
For three four days I have not eaten, have not drunk water and have not slept. I delighted myself in a heavenly joy which cannot be described.
My tears were flowing like a stream and were so sweet.”
Here it ended the divine experience of this Christian who lives among us in our times, being such a rare human being in this crazy age we are living.
He tasted from the honey of the divine delight, coming from the utterance of the sweet and powerful name of Jesus Christ.
He devoted himself entirely to this spiritual labor, at first saying the prayer with his lips, in a whisper then with his inner word, regardless of the duties he had at his work, in the society and at home. In his mind, in his thoughts, in his memories, in his feelings reigned only this thirst for the name of Jesus Christ. The thirst which became love and this turned into divine love for Christ.
A tireless hunger and thirst for the love of God, from all his heart and his mind, with all his power. Our Lord, Jesus Christ assures us that the ones who hunger and thirst for the justice of God, not only they shall have their fill, but they shall also be happy thanks to this plenitude of love from God. And the plenitude of love, as it may be seen, leads this young man to the garden of Theotokos.