Archbishop Rowan Williams’ Holy Week Lectures
Below are links to Archbishop Rowan Williams’ Holy Week lectures (HT, Jason at Per Crucem ad Lucem). I recently listened to lecture one, in which Williams discusses three early church figures and their insights on prayer: Origen, Gregory of Nyssa and John Cassian. For all three saints, the Lord’s Prayer plays a huge role in teaching us how to pray. From Origen, Williams highlights praying “in Jesus” to the Father. From Gregory of Nyssa, we see how prayer is closely connected to our various relationship with others. A solid prayer life, in other words, makes us people who want to be reconciled with others. Turning to Cassian, the Archbishop leaves us with some practical advice to help us when we become distracted in prayer (as is so often the case). To help us re-focus when distracting thoughts enter, pray, as did Cassian this short, easy-to-recall phrase, “Oh God, make speed to save me.” Also, Cassian advises, it’s better to begin with a commitment to frequent, short, yet focused times of prayer than to attempt three-hour sessions of prayer. As one who struggles to maintain a consistent prayer life and who wants to grow in this area, I found these reflections exceedingly helpful and inspiring.