The Jesus Prayer, some meditations upon it

My job is probably one of the hardest places to live up to my namesake. We are called to be like Christ, but in a place as dehumanizing and desensitizing as a restaurant, I can often become a child of Satan rather than a child of God.

So, to combat this mindset, I attempted to use one of the new tools that Orthodoxy has been teaching me to stay connected with God and his Church. I tried to pray the Jesus Prayer.

It began when I was walking into the store. I prayed through the ancient prayer many times, probably 50 or so. The words “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God. Have mercy on me” seemed to fill my head and the effects on my job and life within work were astounding. I was able to shrug off all of my usual arrogance and pride and to be joyful. I was able to treat my fellow worker not with contempt for the poor job I perceive this person doing but instead was able to see him as a child of God. I was inspired to pray for the salvation of one of the people that I work with who, by his own decisions, has gotten himself into quite a predicament.

The prayer, as simple as it is, is very powerful. Whenever I could feel myself beginning to slip in my attitude, I would pray the prayer and I would be centered. The name of the Lord Jesus is powerful. It brings the demons to their knees and my heart to prostratedness before Him.

Towards the end of the day, however, I had stopped praying the prayer. The worker whom I had earlier seen as a child of God became a nuisance, an obstacle to the money that I so desired. I began to bicker and complain, even going into a fit of rage when an employee was still on the clock an hour after he was supposed to start leaving. It all came to a boil when I walked right up to the GM and with the force of my rage told him that this person “didn’t do shit” and that he should just let him go. How is it that these evil things could come from my mouth?

It is very humbling sometimes when the demons attack. They catch us off guard and use everything to tear us down. When we stop praying, when we stop fasting, we stop living. We become animals, only content on bettering ourselves and not the others around us. That is why our Lord told us that the greatest commandments were to love our Lord our God with all of our heart, mind and soul, and to love our neighbor.

So now, sitting in silence, I have realized my sin, and the words of that ancient prayer mean more than ever to me.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me. . . amen

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Theology without works= Devil

“Theology without action is the theology of demons.” – St. Maximos the Confessor

“they will know that we are Christians by our LOVE. . .” -a hymn.

Recently, I have been on a journey of discovery of sorts. As many of you may know, I have had a slight obsession with things “Orthodox” since I took a Church History course. Well I received an inspiration of sorts tonight and wanted to share it with you. It was based on a reading about what the Church is. I have been reading Eastern Orthodox Theology (ed. Clendenin) and The Orthodox Church by Bishop Ware, and when the church was described as “the image of the Triune God” I could not help but be inspired to write the next part of this message. So now that that (2x? oh well. . . I digress) is set up for you and you may understand the rest of this message. . . let’s just read it shall we. . .

I think that is possible to be “Orthodox” in your belief, yet be thoroughly evil in your action. Even Satan is Orthodox in a the sense. Lucifer has been in the very presence of God Triune. Though he may try to persuade others otherwise, he has no choice to believe that God is in fact three unique persons existing perfectly as one united God. He has been witness to his own demise, the fullness of the word made flesh, who is Jesus: fully human and fully God. What I am trying to say here is this: Don’t seek to be only Orthodox, be Holy as God is Holy. For true Orthodoxy (or right belief) must also be right action, attitude, mindset, and thoughts.

The word Christian means literally “little Christ.” To be a little Christ, one must act like Christ, not just believe in Christ. So, when we focus on where we are in our spiritual journey, it is much more important to understand ourselves as “Christians” (that is our chief aim on earth is to live in Christ through the Holy Spirit, to please the Father.) If we truly search after God, the “Orthodoxy” will follow.

Basically what I am saying is this: we (I am speaking to myself here) can all be capable to search after a “orthodoxy” that is flawed all too often. If we are searching after an orthodoxy that is intellectual, we have missed the point. Theology should not be a “study of God” as is the dictionary term. Our search for Orthodoxy (in whatever form we may seek it) must be found in the life that we are called to, theosis/sanctification, or in layman’s terms, of who we are becoming in Christ. The idea of the trinity should not just be some theological concept discussed in academia, but a living belief instilled in our actions and interactions with others.