Hesychia and Undistracted Prayer

by Scott D. Hendricks

31. The intellect cannot be still unless the body is still also; and the wall between them cannot be demolished without stillness and prayer.

32. The flesh with its desire is opposed to the spirit, and the spirit opposed to the flesh, and those who live in the spirit will not carry out the desire of the flesh (cf. Gal. 5:15-17).

33. There is no perfect prayer unless the intellect invokes God; and when our thought cries aloud without distraction, the Lord will listen.

34. When the intellect prays without distraction it afflicts the heart; and ‘a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise’ (Ps. 51:17).

35. Prayer is called a virtue, but in reality it is the mother of the virtues: for it gives birth to them through union with Christ.

36. Whatever we do without prayer and without hope in God turns out afterwards to be harmful and defective.

~ St. Mark the Ascetic

G.E.H. Palmer and Philip Sherrard and Kallistos Ware trans., The Philokalia: the complete text, vol. 1 (New York: Faber and Faber, 1979), 128.