In Eastern Monasticism, one of the key concepts is stillness. The monks of the East believed that such stillness was the goal of holiness because when the heart was allowed to rest in the presence of Christ, one is able to experience the fullness that God intends for his creatures. Such stillness is not the result of technique or efforts, but rather is a grace received with gratitude. The believer is called not so much to try and generate this experience, but rather create the possibility for the Lord to bestow upon him or her this grace of interior transformation.
The enemy of inner stillness is the attachments and disorders that are caused by sin. Entering into such freedom requires an inner poverty in which the believer is not craving the things of this world. This inner poverty does not necessarily mean giving up all of one’s possessions for a person can have nothing and still have the desire for things. Inner poverty is a relationship with the world in which one is able to possess things without being possessed by them. One’s relationship with the created world should be that all of one’s possessions are the complete disposal of the Holy Spirit and the mission of salvation.
Disordered desires are a pollution that robs us of our Sabbath rest. Undoing these disorders is a work of the Holy Spirit, and thus one must seek the Holy Spirit’s purifying light. Confession, meditation, and frequent reception of the Eucharist guide us and make us docile to this Spirit. Although it may appear at first that much is accomplished through consistent effort and diligent practice, our work only bears fruit in the measure to which it corresponds with God’s will. As we are conformed more to Christ, we begin to awaken to the reality that every good inspiration was in fact the work of the Holy Spirit. We are simply instruments of His activity.
May this post inspire you to remain faithful to the daily practice of prayer.