Just a page or two from the ancient (or not so ancient) writings of these holy men gives much to ponder. Consider the following section from the chapter by Theopan the Recluse (cited as written by Bishop Nkon of Volodak, Russian spiritual writher in the late 19th and early 20th century--giving accurate credited in complicated).
“What is prayer? What is its essence? How can we learn to prayer? What does the spirit of the Christian experience as he prays in humility of heart?
“All such questions should constantly occupy the mind and heart of the believer, for in prayer man converses with God, he enters, through grace, into communion with Him, and lives in God.
“Prayer is the test of everything; prayer is also the source of everything; prayer is the driving force of everything; prayer is also the director of everything. If prayer is right, everything is right. For prayer will not allow anything to go wrong.”
I am in awe. The questions alone give thought for a lifetime. But today I’m drawn to the powerful and mysterious phrase ‘humility of the heart’, humility, or rather lack of it, being one of my major spiritual concerns and roadblocks. That humility dwells in and springs forth from the heart rings so true. Although my mind can consider humility, humility doesn’t reside there nor can my mind make me humble…ah, if only…. Even my ‘if only’ shows pride, which of course my mind can’t get rid of.
Okay, I’ll stop all that mental exercise. Let me conclude by saying that I believe that humility comes from an open heart, which can only be opened through God, through grace, and yes, through prayer. I’m working on it.