East and West In Christ

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Teach Us To Pray Just As John Taught His Disciples


In The Lord’s Prayer as a Way of Initiation Fr. LeSaux is cited as writing:

Once as (Jesus) was in a certain place praying and when he had finished one of his disciples said: Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples”. (LK. 11.1) and the disciples listened fervently to the words uttered by the Master, the Guru. Jesus appeared in the world not to teach ideas, but to impart to men an experience, his own personal experience of being the Son of God; and then, following on from this experience of his and by its efficacy, to bring them to realize and integrate in their own awareness that condition which is their’s also, of being sons of God.

Salvation does not consist of an idea but of a change of level in the soul. It is a remorseless process of dying to oneself, dying to the inherent dualism of the human mind and to the bondage of the ego which is the main obstacle to man’s possession by the Spirit as foretold by the Scriptures. It is an immersion into a state which is beyond-mind. It is from his false ego that man has to be saved in the first place.

The essential task is the surrender—the handing over of the peripheral I to the inner Mystery, the abandonment of the phenomenal I which man regards as the centre of his being, whereas the centre of his being is independent of all localization, whether psychic or physical. That is why the real experience . . . demands first of all, a drastic purification of the intellect and of the I; this purification is the most urgent need of our time, in every tradition. “Go, sell all that you possess . . . then come and follow me” (Mt. 19.21).

(Evil), the condition of sin, is to be unaware of God’s Presence. As long as this actual remotemeness from God is not an unbearable burden, an intolerable anguish, man knows nothing. The sinful condition is to be willing to remain remote from God. Life is the experience of the Presence of God.
(from The Lord’s Prayer as a way of Initiation,Texts from Dom Henri Le Saux O.S.B. –Swami Abhishiktananda Presented by Odette Baumer-Despeigne


It is tempting to rail against intellectualism when first encountering this material. After all focusing on ideas to the exclusion of the real leaves me without the grounding I need. I am soon seduced by the stillness permeating Fr. LeSaux's words: purification, remorseless dying to oneself, dying to the inherent dualism. I am left listening to the stillness that my heart craves, touching the silence in which I am least resistant to God's mercy. It is here that I find rest--a state beyond-mind.