Monday, March 28, 2011

Evagrius on Psalmody and Prayer

Teachers will tell you that there is joy by unearthing a gem in a previously untapped source.  The following is one of those.  Evagrius Ponticus was a desert monk in the late fourth century.  This portion reflects some of his thoughts on the benefit from a healthy mix of prayer and psalm-singing.

Pray gently and undisturbed;
Sing psalms with understanding and good rhythm
then you will be like the young eagle that soars in the heights.

Psalmody calms the passions and puts to rest the body’s disharmony;
Prayer arouses the mind to activate its own proper activity.

Prayer is the power befitting the dignity of the mind;
it is the mind's highest and purest power and function.

Psalmody pertains to multiform wisdom;
Prayer is the prelude to immaterial and uniform knowledge.

Knowledge has great beauty: it is the co-worker of prayer,
awakening the intellectual power of the intellect to contemplation of divine knowledge.

If you have not yet received the gift of Prayer or Psalmody,
persevere and you will receive it.

De Oratione, 82-87

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