They’re earthbound, not knowing how to fly aloft, to burn bright in the sky, to enjoy the necessary celestial support. They’re magnetized, bound, firmly attached to corruptible, earthly things. It’s not easy for them to break away. They attempt to lay up treasure on earth. They’re constantly seeking pleasure to bring them joy, though, in fact, it brings them more pain. It’s sad and lamentable to seek joy in the mire.
Ascent to heaven begins with contrition, with real repentance, with remorse. It’s worth remembering that we weren’t made to return to dust. The life of the passions doesn’t in fact bring joy and satisfaction. Attaching yourself too firmly to the things of this world is a serious mistake and brings its own cost in terms of bitter consequences. It’s not unfeasible to advance beyond the visible. Anyone can manage it. They need only to want to, to have a real desire. At first we’re hesitant, shy, afraid and we don’t want to risk much. We may find it to be something we can’t grasp, strange, unnatural, impossible and, in any case, not for us. We think we’re playing an offensive and impious game and that we’re too sinful for any of that. But prayer isn’t only for saints.
If only you pray modestly and humbly, your heart becomes sweeter, enlightened, strengthened and restful. It feels it’s worth the effort to pray. It feels elation, exultation, security, fortification and comfort. It realizes that prayer’s a great need of the soul, a natural motion, a divine function. It becomes a good deed rather than a formal habit. A daily delight and gift. Just as the body wants its daily food, to maintain itself, so does our immortal soul.
It’s not possible to love God and not be linked to Him, to talk with Him and to pray. We should always think on Him and invoke Him. Remembrance of God is itself a prayer. You commemorate the Beloved and are glad. Invocation of God is a source of great joy, peace and blessing. Without prayer, the soul is gasping, weak and sickly. Prayer confers spiritual health, balance, discernment, enlightenment and blessedness. Prayer arms us against sin. People who pray have entered into conversation with God and don’t concern themselves with vain matters. They learn humility, sobriety, simplicity and love. They’re God’s beloved children. Prayer’s a great gift from God to us.
by Monk Moses the Athonite