Reading the Filokalia No. 1
Elder, if we read books like Filokalia* that refer to the Jesus Prayer (Lord have Mercy on me a sinner), the so called prayer of the heart, then do we improve in our praying?
They help but only those who have humility. However, those who have pride and aim within a certain time to reach spiritual “heights”, to become like the Fathers of old, then they do not help them. One day some people came to my hut at Mount Athos and they said:
“We came here to teach us the Jesus Prayer, as you are one of those who excel in this prayer.”
“Eliminate me from your list”, I told them. “I have nothing and all I do is ask the mercy of God.”
Reading the Filokalia No. 2
Can someone, Elder, obtain the power of the Jesus Prayer, without having to read Filokalia and without following certain methods?
– Of course you can, just simply and humbly say all the time the Jesus Prayer. Because some people are stuck on the methods and stay there; they do not go any further.
In other words, they make the method their goal, whereas the method is merely an ancillary means.
*The most well-known collection of patristic texts is the “Philokalia” that was compiled/edited and published in 1782 by Agios Nikodimos the Athonite († 1809) and Saint Makarios Notaras († 1805).
Conversations with Saint Paisios the Hagiorite
Translated by Dr. Nick Stergiou