“But everyone does the work assigned to Him in such a way that, by repeating by heart some psalm or passage of Scripture, he gives no opportunity or time for dangerous schemes or evil designs, or even for idle talk, as both mouth and heart are incessantly taken up with spiritual meditations.” St. John Cassian, Institutes, Book 2, Chapter 15.
Let us watch the meaningless distractions we put into our lives. The Church Tradition has given to us the practice of the Jesus Prayer or the recitation of the Psalms (and many other methods) to aid us in combating the thoughts (logismoi). Modern psychology/psychiatry has realized what the Church has been saying for 2000 years. Cognitive Behavioural therapy looks at combating the thoughts that plague us and then result in our dysfunction (however one wishes to define dysfunction). Modern psychology has only, of late, realized and formulated that our thoughts affect the way we feel and act and codified as a mainline treatment. However, this reality has long been known in the Church of Christ. The thoughts are the front-line of the warfare and repetitive prayer is our foremost aid against them. Rather than serving as a method of enslaving us, these prayers actually serve as a means to our freedom. In a society constantly distracted and suffering the flames of the passions, the practice of the Church offers us freedom from distraction and slavery to our phones, newsfeeds, tweets, long online discussions, etc.
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