By Fr. Cleopa
That is why he will bring text excerpts to your mind – either by the Apostle or from the Gospel, or from the sermons you have heard in Church. You’re sitting and praying and the devil will present to you great and highly spiritual matters. Then you feel a sort of spiritual pride growing inside of you: ”Oh, that is why I get these elevated words – because I am praying to God!” – and he’s laughing his head off! What you do then is not praying but spinning away theological issues in your head. Our Savior tells you to pray this way: Don’t speak many words, as the hypocrites who think that God will hear them if they say many words.
What Christ asks from us is the “monologue” prayer — that is, the prayer that has one “word” – one thought. Remember the Canaanite woman? She kept following Christ and asking him in a few words: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! and Son of David, have mercy on me! – but she was crying from all her heart. She didn’t pray [to Him] much, she just kept saying one short prayer, but heartfelt, until she won God’s kindness, and He said: O, woman! Great is your faith!
It’s the same with us, during prayer – especially during the prayer of the heart: whenever we wish to descend our mind into our hearts, that is how we should pray: with one thought only. Because if you give up the theological thoughts during prayer, with God’s help, before long, your mind will enter your heart.
The chamber of our mind is our heart. When you read in the Gospel, “When you pray, enter your closet” – you should know that this is about your mind entering your heart. As that’s where the bride will sit next to the Groom – that is, our soul will unite with Christ in our heart.
So, as soon as your mind has entered your heart, you will receive what it is a natural sign. You will start by feeling something like a “nail of fire” in your heart, warming it up from its center outwards. Then your whole heart will warm up; then your chest; then your spine; then your whole body, and then you will start sweating profusely, and your eyes will start to shed warm tears of repentance, with a lot of intensity. That is the fiery prayer.
So what happens there? The Groom meets with the bride – Christ meets our soul. This spiritual union makes man one spirit with God. It is what the Apostle says: That he which is joined to an harlot is one body… But he that is joined to the Lord – By faith. Is one spirit with him. This union and attachment of God to one’s heart, through Jesus Christ, brings along great spiritual sweetness and warmth.
But at the basis of this work is neither the sweetness, nor the warmth that one will feel in one’s heart. The basis of this work will be the crushing of one’s heart, the contrition, one’s aching heart for one’s sins, and the repenting tears that one sheds at that time. In that state, our soul will feel such happiness, such relief, such warmth, and such spiritual sweetness, that after it wakes up from this state of union with Jesus Christ in its heart, it will not be able to utter any words properly.
What happy moments; what sweetness; what joy the soul will have felt in its heart! And if a praying person remained in that state for an hour or two – with his mind in his heart, united with his heart – when he woke up, for a week or two, no thought from this world could enter his heart! The sky/heaven of his heart gets cleaned so much, that the “air” of his heart will remain full of the work of the Holy Spirit. A happy heart that has “drunk” with repenting tears and great love, from the union with Jesus Christ. A spiritual love that one cannot describe in mere words!
So this is the prayer of the heart that I have told you about, and which only one in ten thousand barely reach! That’s how high it is. And as to the spiritual prayer which I was telling you about in my first comment, only one in a whole generation can reach it.