Read the introduction. It's crucial to understanding something of Sophrony's life, as well as the rewarding difficulty of his book. Says translator Rosemary Edmonds: ''It is not easy reading on any reckoning'' because ''few of us have any inkling of the life described in these pages.'' We crave knowledge, writes Fr. Sophrony, and ''God is our only means of access to this higher knowledge, if He will reveal Himself.'' He has revealed Himself, and we are perfectible through the persons of Christ and the Holy Spirit, that is (Sophrony is very clear here) -- our potential is ''eternal life in the bosom of the Holy Trinity,'' and prayer our work toward it. Part One explores, in depth, the nature of prayer -- its struggle, beauty and gradual transformation of the soul -- its ''infinite creation [as] the supreme art.'' But Fr. Sophrony cautions that ''Deep prayer comes gradually.'' It is not, in essence, an intellectual pursuit but an entire way of life to which body and soul must adapt slowly. In this capacity (as he explains in Part Two), the Jesus prayer is a simple and beautiful embodiment. Arduous no doubt, but material to our participation in the life of Christ for the world. Fr. Sophrony's words will stick with you -- several days later we still feel the sense of them. 128 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
A discussion of prayer, especially the "Jesus Prayer." Not simply a presentation of techniques, it emphasizes theology as well as practice.