Prayer as Participation in God

“For, we must first be raised up to It [The Trinity], as Source of good, by our prayers; and, by a nearer approach to It, be initiated as to the all good gifts which are established around It. For God is indeed present to all, but all are not present to Him. But then, when we have invoked It [The Trinity], by all pure prayers and unpolluted mind, and by our aptitude towards Divine Union, we also are present to It. For, It is not in a place, so that It should be absent from a particular place, or should pass from one to another. But even the statement that It is in all existing beings, falls short of Its infinitude (which is) above all, and embracing all. Let us then elevate our very selves by our prayers to the higher ascent of the Divine and good rays,—-as if a luminous chain being suspended from the celestial heights, and reaching down hither, we, by ever clutching this upwards, first with one hand, and then with the other, seem indeed to draw it down, but in reality we do not draw it down, it being both above and below, but ourselves are carried upwards to the higher splendours of the luminous rays. Or, as if, after we have embarked on a ship, and are holding on to the cables reaching from some rock, such as are given out, as it were, for us to seize, we do not draw the rock to us, but ourselves, in fact, and the ship, to the rock. Or to take another example, if any one standing on the ship pushes away the rock by the sea shore, he will do nothing to the stationary and unmoved rock, but he separates himself from it, and in proportion as he pushes that away, he is so far hurled from it. Wherefore, before everything, and especially theology, we must begin with prayer, not as though we ourselves were drawing the power, which is everywhere and nowhere present, but as, by our godly reminiscences and invocations, conducting ourselves to, and making ourselves one with, it.” St. Dionysius the Areopagite, On the Divine Names, Chapter 3. Section 1.

As we are taught, let us always re-present ourselves to God. To be present to Him Who is always present to us is the discipline of prayer and asceticism. Let us strive that we might enter into Him Who is always near to us.

Nicole Roccas talks about this in her book on Despondency and lays out how most of us, though being busy, are caught in our despondency. We simply need to ‘re-present’ ourselves to God. By doing so, we shall begin to enter into the Divine mystery.

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