Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: Saint Ephraim the Syrian 2

“He who has his mind under control when he prays, and is careful in what he says, keeps away the demons,” says Saint Ephraim the Syrian. “He, however, who elevates himself is duped.”

When I read this, I think of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the skill in which we experience the present moment for what it is in a non-judgemental manner so that we can identify what is happening and make a positive response, rather than a kneejerk one.

Takes humility to be able to do that, I believe.  Concentration in prayer requires mindfulness to stay in the prayer and refuse to allow one’s self to be distracted by all the available distractions that inevitably flow through our minds when we start to pray.

However, if we think we ourselves accomplish this, we fool ourselves because we need the Holy Spirit’s constant assistance to concentrate.


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