Sometimes, the Jesus Prayer is enough. Sometimes just enough is more than enough.
A wise and attentive confessor tonight gave me a penance that consisted solely of that prayer, once for every year of Christ’s mortal life, and a commitment to praying it whenever my mind was not directly engaged in my daily duties. I consider it a sign of hope for the larger Church that a Roman Catholic priest assigns me what is normally considered “sole property” of the Eastern Orthodox (“Hesychasm”). He even had dozens of the prayers cards in the confessional ready to be taken by penitents, so my penance was probably not a one-off.
With every breath, with every beat, with every break… pray. Sometimes enough is more than enough.
Also, say hello to my new favorite saint (i.e. a new member of the favorite saints who
play pray for me on the God-Help-Us-Somehow-Even-God-Can-Get-This-Schlub-Elliot-To-Heaven Team):
We know of the life of St. Onuphrius from the testimony of the monk Paphnutius. The saintly hermit had lived in the desert for sixty years when Paphnutius visited him. …
For a long time he fed only on vegetables which could rarely be found in the wilderness and after that, when he had overcome by patience and faith violent attacks of temptations by demons and when his heart was fortified and centred upon the love of God, an angel of God brought him bread for nourishment. Besides that, by the good Providence of God, a palm tree grew next to his cell which brought forth dates in abundance and a spring of water began to flow there.
However, Onuphrius said, his face shining: “I mostly feed and quench my thirst on the sweet words of God.” To Paphnutius’ question: “How do you receive Communion?” the hermit replied that an angel of God brings him Holy Communion every Saturday.
If you like the cut of his jib (and that beard!), join me in seeking his intercession and support. If nothing else, realize that, at every Mass, it may be the same angels bringing you the Bread of Life that ministered to St. Onuphrius.