ORIGEN (c. 184 – c. 253)
On Prayer

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David says: “To you have I lifted up my eyes, you who dwell in heavens” (Psalm        122:1) and “To you, O God, have I lifted up my soul” (Ps 24:1).  For the eyes of the mind are lifted up from their preoccupation with earthly things and from their being filled with the impression of material things.  And they are so exalted that they peer beyond the created order and arrive at the sheer contemplation of God and at conversing with him reverently and suitably as he listens.  How would things so great fail to profit those eyes that gaze at the glory of the Lord with unveiled face and that are being changed into his likeness from glory to glory (cf. 2 Cor 3:18)?  For then they partake of some divine and intelligible radiance.  This is demonstrated by the verse “Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord” (Ps 4:6)….

Suppose that a righteously minded physician is at the side of a sick man who is praying for health, and knows the right way to treat the disease about which the man is praying. It is obvious  that he will be moved to heal the sick man, surmising, it may well be correctly, that God has had this very action in mind in answer to the  prayer of the suppliant for release from the disease. Or suppose a man of considerable means, and generous, hears the prayer of a poor man offering intercession to God for his needs. It is plain that he likewise will fulfil the objective of the poor man’s prayer, becoming a minister of the fatherly providence of the One who had brought together the one who was praying and the one who was able… to meet his need….

One of the most supreme virtues according to the divine Word is the love of neighbour.  And we must suppose that it is far more present in the saints toward those struggling in life than in those who are still in human weakness and struggle alongside their brothers and sisters.  For it is not only here below that there applies to those who love the brethren the saying “If one member suffers, all the members suffer together; and if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice together” (1 Cor 12:26).  Indeed, it is fitting also for the love of those beyond this present life to speak about “the anxiety for all the churches.  Who is weak, and I am not weak?  Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?” (2 Cor 11:28-29). and Christ  says the same thing when he confesses that with each of the saints in sickness he is sick and similarly that he is in prison, naked, a stranger, hungry, and thirsty (cf. Mt 25:35-40).  For who is there reading the gospel who is not aware of the fact that Christ applies what happens to those who believe in Him to himself and counts their sufferings his own?

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In their many different idioms the classical spiritual writers have attempted to throw light on the eternal question of union with God. 
Every month we give you a brief passage from a spiritual classic.