on 19 June 1999
How does one obey the scriptural imperative to "Pray without ceasing?" The simple pilgrim (we learn his background in bits and snatches) sets out to learn how... from both the wise and the simple he meets on the road. In a period and place where a cup of tea is a rare treat and a book one's sole possession, glimpses of disaster and survival, madness and understanding, suffering and joy, simplicity and layers of implications appear with every turn in the road.
"Pray, and do not labor much to conquer your passions by your own strength. For 'greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world,' (1 John 4:4), says holy Scripture."
on 1 April 2003
THE WAY OF THE PILGRIM AND THE PILGRIM CONTINUES HIS WAY is a story about the "Jesus Prayer" which has been known and practiced in the Eastern Orthodox Church for a long time.
After learning more about the current notoriety of the "Jesus Prayer" from the internet, I am again reading about it solely for its teachings about the subject of prayer in general. The tale of the Russian pilgrim is truly proving to be a blessing to me in surprising ways.
on 23 September 2009
The anonymous author of this tiny book wrote in the nineteenth century. The translation or R M French is clear and always good.
At the centre of the book lies the idea of learning `to pray without ceasing,' as instructed by St Paul. To this end, the pilgrim of the title learns about the Jesus Prayer, `Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' He then walks through an effectively medieval Russia, all the while learning how to pray this prayer. The book describes his growth in faith, and the wonderful peace that grows deep down in his soul.
The book is therefore moving but also enormously useful. It can be read both as a work of devotion but, more importantly, should be treated as a textbook of how to pray in the Orthodox tradition. Don't treat it as a book for the Orthodox alone, though: it will help anyone and everyone who has the awareness that they need to grow in prayer, and have the discipline to do so.
on 5 February 1999
Wow. It's sort of the ultimate Christian or spiritual life. Any mere thoughts I could have about life or religion pale in comparison to the life our little pilgrim actually lived. If you like Russia or its history, you're in for a double treat. If you've read Catcher in the Rye, or more particularly Franny and Zooey, you'll get a bang out of knowing that you and the great J.D.Salinger share a love for the same little pilgrim.
on 14 December 1998
For the Christian mystic, an element that is all but shunned in the current state of the Christian religion, this book will refresh, enlighten and renew your search for Truth and do it within the "confines" of religious doctrine. For the fundamentalist Christian, this book will soften your heart slowly, bit by bit, and before you know it, "the world" will not appear as evil and as frightening as it can sometimes appear.
on 30 December 1998
The book Franny was reading and Zooey has read in Salinger's Franny and Zooey, a stunningly simple yet insistent explanation of the way of praying "The Jesus Prayer": "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me." This prayer repeated incessantly is reputed to bring joy and let you "see God" in Franny's words. Get it. Pray it. It works.