Dear Parish Faithful,
I am now in possession of what appears to be a wonderful and wonderfully helpful book by one of today's most prominent and exciting new theologians: Metropolitan Ilarion Alfeyev of the Russian Orthodox Church. This new book has just been published by SVS Press.
This little book is the "perfect" starting point for anyone looking for some deep and practical insights into the "art of prayer." It is a gift when a profound theologian can condense his vast knowledge and hopefully his personal experience of God in an extremely accessible and readable version that is meant for just about anyone who is a serious practicing Christian, but who may feel that there is something elusive and difficult about establishing a meaningful, consistent and effective prayer life. His Eminence manages to say a great deal in a very limited amount of space, so every sentence is important and deserving of careful thought and reflection.
As Met. Ilarion writes in the opening paragraph of the book:
Prayer is an encounter with the living God. Christianity gives man direct access to God, who listens to man, helps him, and loves him. This is the fundamental difference between Christianity and, for example, Buddhism, in which during meditation the one praying deals with a certain impersonal super-being, in which he is immersed and in which he is dissolved, but he does not feel God as a living Person. In Christian prayer, man feels the presence of the Living God.
And he writes elsewhere:
God does not need words; He needs men's hearts. Words are secondary; of paramount importance are the feelings and dispositions with which we approach God.
I am sure that we will eventually obtain some copies for our parish bookstore. Please speak with Nancy Farison if you would like to pre-order or reserve a copy.