The Invocation of the Name of Jesus: As Practiced in the Western Church


The Hesychast, or Jesus Prayer, practiced in the Eastern Orthodox Church, exists also in Catholicism, as “individual prayer” which “has the virtue of . . . opening us up to grace”. In this anthology of writings from the Fathers of the Roman Church, Coomaraswamy looks beyond recent interest, showing the prayer to be a tradition that helps “makes the divine Logos present in man.”


  • 9781891785566
  • 256

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In this anthology of writings from the Fathers of the Roman Church, Rama Coomaraswamy shows that this interest is not just a recent phenomenon, but that the invocation of the Holy Name extends throughout the history of Catholicism, especially as “individual prayer (as opposed to canonical)” which “has as its aim…the purification of the soul” and “has the virtue (strength) of re-establishing equilibrium and restoring peace, in a word, of opening us up to grace.” Coomaraswamy stresses that this renewal is especially necessary for contemporary individuals who have so often lost sight of both the purpose and method of prayer in their lives and no longer have any real connection with a traditional praxis that “makes the divine Logos present in man.”


In the stunning way it blends wisdom with erudition, the Introduction of this book could have appeared as a free standing book in its own right. As it is, it provides the framework for thirteen short chapters, each devoted to a giant of the Christian Church, which taken together put to rest the mistaken notion--occasioned by the extraordinary popularity of the 19th century Russian classic, The Way of the Pilgrim--that the Jesus prayer belongs primarily if not exclusively to Eastern Orthodoxy. It accomplishes this task definitively, and goes on to show that the "deep structure" of the Prayer resonates through different idioms in all the world's authentic religious traditions -
Huston Smith