'By the grace of God I am a Christian man, By my actions a great sinner, and by calling a homeless wanderer of the humblest birth who roams from place to place... On the twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost I went to church to say my prayers there during the liturgy. The First Epistle of St. Paul to the Thessalonians was being read, and among other words I heard these--'Pray without ceasing.' It was this text, more than any other, which forced itself upon my mind, and I began to think how it was possible to pray without ceasing... So begins the wandering of our Pilgrim, an unknown nineteenth- century Russian peasant, and the end of his quest is the Jesus Prayer, the unceasing repetition of the cry, ''O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.'' The Way of the Pilgrim has been the chief medium through which this ancient prayer has become known in the West, and though the content of the prayer is often overlooked in superficial equations of it with Buddhist mantras, the book is an awesome and humbling glimpse into a spiritual state of hunger and thirst for union with God. 264 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
This classic of world spiritual literature is the firsthand account of a pilgrim's journey as he endeavors to live out Saint Paul's instruction to "pray without ceasing." The narrator, an unnamed nineteenth-century peasant, sets out on his pilgrimage with nothing but a Bible, a rosary, and some dried bread. As he walks, he recites the Jesus prayer ("Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me")--a prayer that is said to quiet anxiety and fill the heart with love for all creation. With this prayer constantly on his lips, the pilgrim undergoes a profound spiritual education. This edition includes the sequel to "The Way of a Pilgrim, " entitled "A Pilgrim Continues His Way, " which contains a lengthy appendix reviewing the teachings of the Holy Fathers on the Jesus prayer.