The Way of a Pilgrim ; And, The Pilgrim Continues His Way
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.
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TITLE: "East Christianity's version of the West's John Bunyan classic - 'The Pilgrim's Progress' " December 27, 2006
RANK: 5.0 STARS
(there is also a newer and fresher translation by Olga Savin and forward from Father Thomas Hopko, read cover, published in 2001 by Shambhala Classics)
A hidden spiritual treasure worthy of contemplation and meditation for any Christian who wants to grow closer to the heart and life of Jesus.
While reading this book, I realized that this spiritual devotional is a gem on the cultural and timeless level as John Bunyan's classic "The Pilgrim's Progress" (a favorite with Protestants) or Thomas a Kempis' classic "The Imitation of Christ" or Brother Lawrence's "The Practice of the Presence of God"(well known by Roman-Catholics). Historically, the eastern church (Ortodoxy) is one whose theology is synonymous with mysticism, something that comes across in "The Way of the Pilgrim" thru the Jesus Prayer and Philokalia. The western church (Catholic and Protestant) emphasis is more on systemic theology and doctrinal formulations.
The author is unknown. Father Thomas Hopko (from famous Orthodox Seminary St. Vladimir in New York), who write the forward, states that "whatever the origin and intention of the anonymous author's fascinating story" the pilgrim's way "affirms first of all that the source, goal and content of human life is ... the living God Himself."
The spiritual way of this pilgrim tells us "that life is communion with God ... a ceaseless prayer in pursuit of God and communion with him." It also tells us that "Jesus Christ is this life."
The pilgrimage starts with an honest question: "What does it mean to pray without ceasing?" (as the pilgrim had heard during Liturgy; 1 Thes. 5:17, Eph. 6:18, 1 Tim. 2:18). He searches long for an answer to his questions of "how one is to pray unceasingly and what is the nature of this sort of prayer."
He travels with a Bible that is very dear to him (which he had been reading from early childhood) and a sack of dried bread crumbs and some water. Once he learns of the "Jesus Prayer" that the holy Church Fathers had written about, he realizes that "the prayer began to move of its own accord from my lips into my heart." He states that "calling on the name of Jesus now filled my days with joys" and everytime a spirit of sorrow, fatigue, doubt came over him, repeating "the Jesus Prayer" helps him to turn his mind and heart to God and fills him with divine peace and joy. The pilgrim also learns and acquires the Philokalia, a collection of deep spiritual writings from the Christians of the East. Thus the Pilgrim's progress is a life of reading the Bible, having a life of prayer, and contemplating on the spiritual gems found in the Philokalia.
If you believe that "we are all pilgrims on a journey to God", as the forward to "The Way of the Pilgrim" states, than your spiritual life will be enriched by this Christian classic.
"Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Doamne ajuta! (Roumanian for 'May God help us!')
THE PILGRIM CONTINUES HIS
Three Keys to the Interior Treasure
Interior Prayer of the Heart