Pope Francis yesterday encouraged busy Catholics to say the 12-word “Jesus Prayer” throughout the day, recommending the short prayer at the heart of Eastern Christianity’s mystical tradition. Source: CNA.
Referring to the 19th-century Russian spiritual classic The Way of a Pilgrim, Pope Francis said during his weekly general audience: “The spiritual journey of the Russian pilgrim begins when he comes across a phrase of St Paul in the First Letter to the Thessalonians: ‘Pray constantly, always and for everything give thanks’.
“The Apostle’s words struck the man and he wondered how it was possible to pray without interruption, given that our lives are fragmented into so many different moments, which do not always make concentration possible.
“From this question, he begins his search, which will lead him to discover what is called the prayer of the heart. It consists in repeating with faith: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner’.”
He asked pilgrims in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace to repeat the words out loud, saying that it was a prayer “that, little by little, adapts itself to the rhythm of breath and extends throughout the day”.
“Indeed, the breath never stops, not even while we sleep; and prayer is the breath of life,” he said.
Telling pilgrims that his latest address was his “penultimate catechesis on prayer,” the Pope also reflected on how to sustain prayer amid the pressures of daily life.