Are you looking for …
- … a simple and quiet way to pray in busy and hectic times, because you want to give space and attention to your inner longing?
- … a path that leads to the depths of your heart and your inner source, because you are experiencing and realizing, that the outer life can’t be everything there is?
- … a relationship oriented spirituality within the you-me-relationship with Jesus Christ, because you are sensing, that your meditation needs an inner point of reference, a counterpart?
- … a spirituality that corresponds to reality, which proves to be effective in day-to-day life and leads to social responsibility and lively relationships, because you want to stand on your own two feet?
- … a connection with people who inspire you along this path, who strengthen and support you, because you know that it’s difficult to go down this inner path on your own?
… You are welcome!
The Jesus prayer as contemplative prayer
The word “contemplation” is derived from the Latin word “contemplari” meaning “contemplate, consider”. Contemplation is about recognizing God’s working within us and our lives. Contemplation is not something one can do or achieve by merely thinking. It is a true gift given by God. However, in an atmosphere of tranquility, mindful awareness and under guidance, we can prepare and become more receptive for contemplation.
Praying with the name of Jesus Christ
Forms of silent prayer, meditation can be found in all religious traditions. The Christian contemplative prayer is accompanied by devotion and love and lets them grow. It is a relationship oriented prayer within the you-me-relationship between the one who prays and God, characterised by the orientation towards Jesus Christ who is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6).
- The tradition: Praying with the name “Jesus Christ” is a form of prayer which has been practiced in Christianity for a long time. Its root lies in the so called One-Word Prayer of the Desert Fathers and Desert Mothers, who lived in the Egyptian desert and Palestine in the 4th century. John Cassian brought this form of prayer to Western Europe. Later it also spread from Egypt over Mount Athos into Eastern Europe and was connected with the name of Jesus.
- Ignatius of Loyola: Praying in the “Third Way” is described as a form of prayer by the Saint Ignatius of Loyola in his book called “Spiritual Exercises”. In this form of prayer awareness is focused on the breathing rhythm, on a simple word of prayer, which is repeated with every breath and also on the relationship between the person praying and God (Spiritual Exercises N° 258). A corresponding sitting/body posture supports concentration while meditating (N° 252).
- The form: The continuous, attentive and loving proclamation of the name “Jesus Christ” in a quiet sitting posture, silence and in connection with the rhythm of the breath and awareness of the palms of the hands are helpful in order to anchor our awareness and deepen our connection with the presence of God and the divine inside us.
- The name: When we silently invoke the name of Jesus, we betake ourselves into his presence and open up for his power. In the name “Jesus Christ” you will find his entire person. We align ourselves with his person, enter a relationship with him. Christ – the Risen One is invisibly at work and present. By aligning ourselves with this name, we enter a new, unimagined space for a relationship which wants to open itself up to us.
- Contemplative retreats according to the “Gries Path”: “Gries path” derives from the name of the retreat center “Gries” founded by Father Jalics in 1984. In his book “Contemplative Retreat – An Introduction to the Contemplative Way of Life and to the Jesus Prayer” this path is described concretely. In our courses we introduce into this kind of prayer by following the steps of his book. Concise assistance is given to deal with difficulties arising with praying. We offer 10 days retreat courses in our retreat center throughout the year.
Franz Jalics, SJ
An Introduction to the Contemplative Way of Life and to the Jesus Prayer.
Xulon Press. Copyright by Deutsche Jesuiten. Edited for publication in the United States by Ruth A. Fox, Ph.D.
Franz Jalics, SJ
Called to Share in HIS Life.
Introduction to a Contemplative Way of Life and the Jesus Prayer (a Retreat).
Foreword by J. Neuner, SJ. Translated by Sr Lucia Wiedenhöver, OCD.
Printed by St Paul`s Press, Bandra, Mumbai. Copyright: Echter Verlag. For sale in Asia and Africa.