Quote:'There are Coptic people who object, just as Catholics objected, to praying in a language which they do not understand. But the Coptic monks are insisting, and so apparently is the hierarchy of this Church, that understanding the words of a prayer is the least important part of the meaning and the value of the prayer. The monks remind me that "the Spirit intercedes for us with groans too deep for words" (cf. Romans 8:26) and, therefore, when you are groaning, when you are aching, when you are too tired to participate intellectually in the psalmody, you are still praying. The Holy spirit is unlocking the depths of that which lies within. Sometimes when the mind is fully engaged and thinking in its own terms and categories, it will not release the inward soul to discourse with God. Sometimes the mind must work itself through its desire to control and come to a kind of humility, a relaxation of its powers, so that the Spirit might work at deeper currents than those which the mind employs.
'So I think the words of the psalmist: 'Like a weaned child on its mother's lap, so is my soul within me" (Psalm 131:2). Just as the weaned child doesn't speak and yet communes with its mother so completely, we commune with our Mother Church. Our hearts are united in prayer before God, not so much by our faculties of understanding and the employment of our intellects as by the submission of our affects, our thirsts, and our appetites to our trust in God, and to a good order among each other in charity.'
(Page 49, 'Journey Back to Eden - My Life and Times Among the Desert Fathers' by Mark Gruber OSB)
I am most grateful to Peter Theodore Farrington for giving me this splendid book as a gift. It is yet another proof for me of the generosity and outgoing love which seems to characterise the British Orthodox Church.