Lord Jesus Christ, Have Mercy on Me.
10 November, 2011 § Leave a comment
“The part that stumps me, really stumps me, is that I can’t see why anybody – unless he was a child, or an angel, or a lucky simpleton like the pilgrim – would event want to say the prayer to a Jesus who was the least bit different from the way he looks and sounds in the New Testament. My God! He’s only the most intelligent man in the Bible, that’s all! Who isn’t he heads and shoulders over? Who? Both Testaments are full of pundits, prophets, disciples, favorite sons, Solomons, Isaiahs, Davids, Pauls – but, my God, who beside Jesus really knew which end was up? Nobody. Not Moses. Don’t tell me Moses. He was a nice man, and he kept in beautiful touch with his God, and all that – but that’s exactly the point. He had to keep in touch. Jesus realized there is no separation from God.” Zooey here clapped his hands together – only once, and not loud, and very probably in spite of himself. His hands were refolded across his chest almost, as it were, before the clap was out.
“Oh, my God, what a mind!” he said. “Who else, for example, would have kept his mouth shut when Pilate asked for an explanation? Not Solomon. Don’t say Solomon. Solomon would have had a few pithy words for the occasion. I’m not sure Socrates wouldn’t have, for that matter. Crito, or somebody, would have managed to pull him aside just long enough to get a couple of well-chosen words for the record. But most of all, above everything else, who in the Bible beside Jesus knew – knew – that we’re carrying the Kingdom of Heaven around with us, inside, where we’re all too goddam stupid and sentimental and unimaginative to look? You have to be a son of God to know that kind of stuff…
When you don’t see Jesus exactly for what he was, you miss the whole point of the Jesus Prayer. If you don’t understand his prayer – you don’t get the prayer at all, you just get some kind of organized cant… if God had wanted somebody with St. Francis’s consistently winning personality for the job in the New Testament, he’d’ve picked him, you can be sure. As it was, he picked the best, the smartest, the most loving, the least sentimental, the most unimitative master he could possibly have picked. And when you miss seeing that, I swear to you, you’re missing the whole point of the Jesus Prayer. The Jesus Prayer has one aim, and one aim only: to endow the person who says it with Christ-Consciousness.”
– – J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey