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St. Theophan the Recluse

St. Theophan the Recluse

St. Theophan the Recluse (+1894) was one of the most influential spiritual writers in pre-Revolutionary Russia. His works impacted hte lives of hundreds and thousands of ordinary people. The following is taken from his book, The Spiritual Life and How to be Attuned to It (trans. Alexandra Dockham;  St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1995):

You have probably heard the question as to how the saints hear our prayers, and maybe you yourself have asked hte same thing. In answer to this, there are explanations and htere are explanations – but the question still remains a question. In my own opinion, by supposing the existence of such an element such as I described, how can the saints hear our prayers? Do you know how the electric telegraph works? In St. Petersburg, for example, they start up a particular piece of equipment; in the same instant, that action in St. Petersburg is reflected in a similar piece of equipment in Moscow, and the very same motion occurs. Why does it happen likes thi? Because the equipment is of the same type and because the wire connecting them is fitted to them. The action of the telegraph is like our prayer. We, along with the saints, are like two pieces of the same kind of equipment and them edium in which the saints dewll and with which our souls are surrounded… that is the wire. When true prayer – that is sincere prayer – moves in the soul then that prayer, by means of the action on of the element upon iit, flies as if on a beam of light to the saints and tells them what we and we are praying about. There is no grap between the time we make oour prayer and when it is heard; the only necessity is that it come from our heart. It is our telegraphic line to Heaven. The very same prayers, which are not from our heart, but which come only from our head and tongue do not produce a ray which rises ot heaven and they are not audible. Those are not even prayers, but only prayer-like modes (p. 84-5).

Our Lady of Vladimir, pray for us!

St. Theophan the Recluse, pray for us!

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