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Nepsis


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#21 Anna Stickles

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:10 PM

Saying the Jesus prayer is an act of faith. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner. When we pray this,  we are simply stating the truth of our poor spiritual state and asking for help. After all,  not just nepsis, but even obeying the commandments, just getting through the day with a minimum amount of sin, is only by God's grace and mercy.  We see in Romans 1, that when people entirely give up striving to worship God and exchange His glory for created things, it says that "God gave them over..." to their lust and their sin- What if He took away His mercy and decided to give us over to sin?  What if He took away His mercy and famine or economic disaster hit the land? But don't we often take this mercy forgranted?

 

 Praying this prayer throughout the day, as much as we remember, can help it sink in that we really can do nothing apart from Him. After all as the elder said, this is not a magical formula, it is a prayer, a conversation with God, a confession of who we are and who He is ... and aren't we all prone to forget how much we need Him if we don't remind ourselves constantly? Especially in the midst of all the daily cares and distractions of life don't we somehow keep thinking we are handling things fine ourselves, forgetting about the fact that He is continually with us and helping us, and if not for the mercy of God, what a mess we would be?  



#22 Anna Stickles

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:14 PM

I've made posts in other contexts about only reading Orthodox material, but that was a different context.  In the context of watchfulness, I think it means we guard against things that will cause us to sin. We read with discernment.



#23 RomanSee

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:03 PM

I see your point now. I originally thought of praying constantly as sort of a "pharisee in the temple" situation, but I suppose it all depends on your intent. In the context you describe it, it makes perfect sense that we would be watchful in the sense of crying out to our creator to forgive us our sins, for we could be taken from this life at any moment.

 

Where do you stand on the Orthodox-only issue?



#24 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:09 PM

Being watchful does not necessarily mean to abstain. It means be watchful, be careful, not stay away from everything. I don't think Anna or anyone is saying this. Even the study of "pagan" literature can be of some benefit, if approached in a WATCHFUL manner but not necessarily by all. There are several threads on this very topic. But some people do need to abstain ("let the weak brother eat only vegetables" - Romans 14:2 and "I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it" 1 Corinthians 3:2) while perhaps it is not so necessary for others depending on where they are in their spiritual maturity.



#25 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:28 PM

What Herman says is a reflection by what I was reading today in the Philokalia.



#26 RomanSee

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:56 PM

Hmmm, so watchful in the sense of "with a critical eye"? Makes perfect sense to me, meet everything carefully and watchfully, sorry for the misunderstanding.



#27 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 12:22 AM

Regarding post #23 and the pharisee, we have the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee on the 24th of this month, and it is to be noted that the Pharisee indeed thanked God for what he had and what he was; he was a 'good citizen' and kept the law.  But he lacked humility, and this - humility - is very much part of being watchful according to the Holy Fathers.  In trying to be watchful will all rigour, we must recognise that we are trying to transcend our nature for, as St Peter of Damascus writes, 'saintly humility is something that transcends nature'.  The Holy Fathers say that the tears which are the fruit of humility extinguish the fires of the enemy who seeks to distract us. 


Edited by Andreas Moran, 10 February 2013 - 12:23 AM.


#28 RomanSee

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 12:50 AM

Regarding post #23 and the pharisee, we have the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee on the 24th of this month, and it is to be noted that the Pharisee indeed thanked God for what he had and what he was; he was a 'good citizen' and kept the law.  But he lacked humility, and this - humility - is very much part of being watchful according to the Holy Fathers.  In trying to be watchful will all rigour, we must recognise that we are trying to transcend our nature for, as St Peter of Damascus writes, 'saintly humility is something that transcends nature'.  The Holy Fathers say that the tears which are the fruit of humility extinguish the fires of the enemy who seeks to distract us. 

Right, that goes along with what Anna mentioned, without the humility the prayer lacks its true value. Thanks again, I feel MUCH clearer on the issue now.






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