Interview with Fr. Arsenie Papacioc of Techirghiol monastery, Romania
– What is prayer, Father?
– Prayer is, in fact, everything. Prayer is having your heart inside God’s heart. This is a sort of education that one must “impose” upon oneself – to be present with one’s heart inside God, no matter whatever else the person happens to be saying during that time. Prayer is deep silence and a state that surpasses human imagination. It is talking with God – but not with human words. It is something that goes completely beyond oneself. Prayer is necessary… prayer is our life (and by saying this last bit I’ve just “lowered” somewhat the level of our discussion here).
– Can man acquire prayer without having a Spiritual Father?
– Absolutely. When I was a child, I used to ask my mother, when I was looking at the sheep we had and see her move her leg in a funny way before going to sleep: “Why does she move her leg like that, mother?” – and my mother would answer: “She’s making the sign of the cross, my son”. [*laughs*] So the idea was – why wouldn’t I pray, too; you see?…
My dear Sir, God has made us only for Himself. And it would have been impossible for Him not to endow us with something that would help us communicate with Him. Prayer is not only mere talk. Prayer is something permanent; it’s like our names. I bear a certain name and I bear it at all times! – including when I walk, talk, or whatever. My name is always the same, isn’t it? That is, my name is X (whatever our name is) — and I am a Christian.
Now, of course, with people who work on prayer diligently, the gifts that it brings become deeper – as there are situations when, as we were talking earlier, one has a “thorn” (a problem) in one’s life, that cannot be “taken out” in any other way but with God’s help. For that is the problem-solving “tool”…