Sunday, March 3, 2024

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos): Faith and Prayer in the Thinking of the Fathers

 Arabic original here.

Faith and Prayer in the Thinking of the Fathers

"Faith is the substance of things hoped-for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).

Faith is also perfect trust in Christ, a trust that comes from His love for us and from His love for all creation.

Prayer comes out of our faith in Christ.

Saint Seraphim of Sarov says:

Prayer can bring down the Holy Spirit who transforms the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, and it can preserve the world's equilibrium.

Faithful prayer has an apostolic activity, in faith and through prayer we acquire great power.

All this results from our perfect trust in Christ.

We have said that faith is tied to prayer. Prayer leads one to God. At that point, grace leaks into one's heart.

Salvation is in Christ by His redemption and His love. "Your faith has saved you," said Jesus to the blind man of Jericho (Luke 18:42).

In the Bible there are many parables that reveal the power of faith which works miracles. All of them are tied to perfect faith in Christ.

The Lord Jesus said to the pagan Syro-Phoenician Canaanite woman (Mark 7:26): "'O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.' And her daughter was healed from that very hour" (Matthew 15:28).

Saint Gregory Palamas says, explaining this miracle: "Her tongue was moved by the Holy Spirit."

This means that her faith in Christ caused her to bring God's power to heal her daughter who was afflicted by the demon. Of course, all this was helped by her deep humility.

Faith in Christ only occurs and is active through one's liberation from the passions, especially through rejecting one's egoism.

The Canaanite woman also connected her faith to prayer when she cried out, "Lord, help me!"

Therefore, Saint Gregory Palamas says, "Humility is always tied to faith in Christ. Humility is fitting for the faithful and faith is fitting for the humble."

Faith in God grows and increases through repetition of the Jesus Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner!"


Metropolitan of Tripoli, al-Koura and their Dependencies

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