The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedJohn Cassian
Title QuotedJoannis Cassiani Opera omnia cum amplissimis commentariis Alardi Gazæi in hoc parisiensi editione, contra quam in lipsiensi, textui continenter ad majorem commoditatem lectoris subjacentibus
Date (Year/Month/Day)1950/01/31
ImprintParis : Migne. 1874
QuotationHesychasm-is that the English word for it?-has been my latest discovery. I came across it in the Etudes Carmelitaines. It is a discipline, a technique to dispose the mind and body for contemplation. It is, or was, practiced by monks in the Orthodox Church. It is something like Yoga, but not so formal or so detailed. And it centers upon the Name of Jesus (as the Yogis concentrate all their powers upon the Mantra or Name of God) or on words of Scripture. What I like about it is that it reflected the spirituality of the Fathers of the Desert (cf. Cassian's conference on the Deus in Ad-jutorium is not really comprehensible, I think, without reference to the kind of interiorization implied by hesychasm) and of the Greek Fathers. But it also throws light on St. Bernard's sermon on the Holy Name. St. Bernard's prayer must have been something like hesychasm.
Quotation SourceEntering the Silence: Becoming a Monk and Writer. The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 2, 1941-1952.; Edited by Jonathan Montaldo. / San Francisco : Harper Collins. 1996, p. 404-05
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