The continuous reform

– the conditions for the exercise of the prayer of Jesus



                                                                                                                                    Part 4 a

                                                                                                            By Abba Yvan Jacques



For the hermit Saint John of Saint Catherine’s monastery the goal of the monk is to participate in the cross, the resurrection and the deification of his being. For the essence of spiritual life is the continuous reform or metanoia. A reform that changes man.


Saint John of Saint Catherine’s monastery says :


“In meditation, the attracted fire consumes the vices by prayer.”


The prayer is also the treasure of the monks and becoming perfect is the joy in the Lord.


Saint John also says that we must observe some principles so as to progress quickly in the prayer of Jesus.


  1. Silence : avoid all noise because noise confuses the internal mechanism.
  2. Solitude : John says : “for him who is not alone, may his brother help him but for the lonely an angel will help him.”
  3. Internal meditation : the prayer of Jesus should become a continuous murmuring, remembrance of death should be with you before you go to sleep and when you get up. It means releasing everything. Who isn’t attached to anything, will discover a great freedom in himself.
  4. A retired place : the cell for the monks is a blessed place. William of Saint Thierry once said : “I experience God more in my cell than in the church.”
  5. Guard your heart : the wakefulness of the heart is the friend of the hermits.


The writings of Saint Simeon learn us that all this is fruitful.

Nicolas Stetathos, his biographer, mentions this episode :


“When he was praying, he was filled with great joy and tears came to his eyes. Not yet introduced in such experiences, I was astonished about his praying. He said incessantly : Lord, have mercy on me … “


In his 91 discourses Simeon describes his monastic vocation. He exposes his vocation and his vision on God like this :


“I dared to invoke you saying : Who are you Lord ?

You told me : I am the God that has become man because of you.”


to be continued

Midi "Praying for Bree" is
used with permission 
and is copyright © 2001 
Bruce DeBoer