Item description for The Way of a Pilgrim: And the Pilgrim Continues His Way by Reginald M. French...
Overview A narrative of the geographical wanderings and spiritual search of a crippled Russian peasant provides insight into mid-nineteenth-century Eastern Christianity
Publishers Description An essential addition to the HarperCollins Spiritual Classics series, The Way of a Pilgrim" is combined in one volume with its companion work, The Pilgrim Continues His Way." Translated from the original Russian by Reginald M. French and with an introduction by Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions, The Way of a Pilgrim "is the chronicle of an anonymous nineteenth century Russian Christian's travels and spiritual inquiries. Eye-opening and extraordinary, The Way of a Pilgrim "offers a one-of-a-kind portrait of the traditions and interior life of Russian Orthodox spirituality and practice.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.02" Width: 5.35" Height: 0.65" Weight: 0.4 lbs.
Release Date Dec 13, 2013
ISBN 0060630175 ISBN13 9780060630171 UPC 099455012003
Reviews - What do customers think about The Way of a Pilgrim and the Pilgrim Continues His Way?
What a Blessing Mar 18, 2008
I believe God works in mysterious ways and it was through Him that I obtained this book. In my prayers I asked Him 'how should I pray?' and I believed He answered it with this book. I ran across this book by accident on another website and felt that it was a book I needed to read. I ordered it not even knowing what it was really about, only knowing it was a book under the heading 'Books For Spiritual Growth'. This book changed my life. The Jesus Prayer is a blessing and has taught me what true prayer should feel like. I say 'feel' because that's what eventually happens when it is scripted to your heart. You no longer say it, you feel it in everything you see and do. It's hard to explain, but if you get there you'll know what I'm talking about. The book also reccomends achieving this prayer under the guidence of a Christian Orthodox church authority (priest, monk, etc...) who has attained this prayer of the heart. There is VERY good reason for this, and I suggest anyone who wants to try to obtain the prayer of the heart to seek out their counsil.
Excellent book on prayer and the Christian life Nov 15, 2007
In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul writes "Pray without ceasing," (1 Thes 5:17) and in his letter to the Ephesians, he writes "Pray at all times in the Spirit." (Eph 6:18) What does it mean to pray at all times without ceasing? Can it be done? These are the questions asked by the pilgrim, the main character of The Way of the Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues his Way, two books written in the late nineteenth century by an anonymous Russian Christian. The pilgrim character tells of his journeys through Russia as he seeks to learn to pray unceasingly.
Through the telling of his tale, the pilgrim shares much about prayer. The focus of prayer is The Jesus Prayer, and the goal for the pilgrim is to continually pray this prayer from his heart. The writer introduces lessons on prayer and the Christian life through other characters such as priests, wise teachers called "starets" and other Christian travelers who share their stories of faith. The pilgrim carries two books with him that are his sole possessions on the earth and his treasures. These are The Bible and a book of Eastern Church Fathers called The Philokalia. The narrator references both books to provide lessons on prayer.
His journey reveals what he learns about prayer. Through the book, the narrator reveals several lessons about prayer for reflection and practice. The main theme is ceaseless prayer.
An older teacher shares with the pilgrim that, as Paul writes to the Romans, "we know not what we should pray for as we ought." (Rom 8:26) The teacher advises that the perfection of prayer is not within our power, but we can pray often and always. The teacher then shares The Jesus Prayer with the pilgrim,
"The continuous interior prayer of Jesus is a constant uninterrupted calling upon the name of Jesus with the lips, in the spirit, in the heart, while forming a mental picture of His constant presence, and the imploring of His grace, during every occupation, at all times, in all places, even during sleep. The appeal is couched in these terms, `Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.'" (Pilgrim 9)
The pilgrim begins by practicing saying the above prayer thousands of times a day. With much effort and by the rejection of other thoughts and doubts, he develops the habit of saying it continually. He first says it with his lips and mind. Later in the book a teacher shares with him the expanded form of the Jesus Prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."(Pilgrim 135) His teacher explains that in this form of the prayer, the entire Gospel and way to salvation is represented.
Through his interactions with others and his reading, the pilgrim continues to learn about The Jesus Prayer and its effects. He shares the following,
"What the Gospel is, that the prayer of Jesus is also, for the Divine Name of Jesus Christ holds in itself the whole gospel truth. The holy Fathers say that the prayer of Jesus is a summary of the Gospels."(Pilgrim 27)
This explains why the prayer so effective for those who pray it in combating their spiritual enemies and producing the fruits of the Spirit in their heart.
The author emphasizes that God's grace drives prayer and rewards prayer. He urges those he speaks with to make attempts at prayer and ask God to help them. He does not belittle even the feeblest attempts at prayer. For the author, every intention of ours and every movement of ours toward God are valuable to God. He summarizes his thoughts,
"The love of God gives grace a thousand fold more than human actions deserve. If you give Him the merest mite, He will pay you back with gold. If you but purpose to go to the Father, He will come out to meet you. You say but a word, short and unfeeling--`Receive me, have mercy on me'--and He falls on your neck and kisses you. That is what the love of the heavenly Father is like toward us, unworthy as we are." (Pilgrim 117)
This is an important spiritual value for the pilgrim that he tries to practice and teach. God gives us grace to come to Him, and when we come, he pours out more grace upon us.
The Way of the Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way summarize the Bible's lesson on prayer. The author illustrates that prayer leads us to Christ and the Father and is itself inspired and initiated by the Holy Spirit within us. The author has included many scriptures about prayer. He shows systematically how the New Testament encourages prayer. He offers a lesson on how prayer empowers us to do good works, so that the term, "Pray and do and think what you will" is reasonable and sensible for the Christian who prays sincerely.
The book offers a way of life that is hidden in Christ through a continual praying from the heart to Christ. The author shows how it is possible and beneficial to pray continually as prescribed by Scripture.
Interesting read, not-so-good theology Aug 14, 2007
I seem some value in this, but agree with the reviewer who cautioned against taking it out of context. It seems people are drawn to the ritual of the Jesus Prayer itself, without regard for Jesus' teachings. Jesus said the most important commandment is to love God with all your heart, your soul and your mind. I think this prayer can help you achieve that to some degree. However, he said a second commandment is equally important, to love your neighbor as yourself. This prayer puts all the focus inward on the self, maybe some upward toward God, and absolutely none toward loving your neighbor. Several times in the book, the pilgrim actively avoids contact with others so that he can isolate himself and focus on his prayer. Several people are quite kind to him in the process, and although he shows gratitude to them, he does little to help others and make the world around him better, which Jesus clearly calls us to do. All that said, I do think it is an interesting read and can promote healthy spiritual debate and discussion.
East Christianity's version of the West's John Bunyan classic - "The Pilgrim's Progress" Dec 28, 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.
Author: 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."
Content: 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.
Conclusion: 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!')
russia Dec 20, 2006
Like most people, I started reading this after "Franny and Zooey". What I really liked about this book is its simplicity. It stars a simple peasant who gives up all of his posessions to worship Jesus, after all.
But more than that, the writing sytle is very warm and simple. It is written in first person. Simple thoughts with a lot of meaning, I think.
For instance the peasant writes about how he feels joy when he first begins the Jesus prayer, but remembers when he was warned by someone in the church not to be fooled, because when someone starts the Jesus prayer they're overwhelmed with superficial emotions. That's the part that has really stayed with me, for some reason. It resonated with me so well because well, I think we all know what that's like; getting all excited for something and thinking it's going to be a major passion in your life and then it turns out it doesn't matter much in a month.
Now, I must admit I was tempted to follow the jesus prayer (this was before I decided to practice Judaism) and it is heart warming. I think we should all recite the Jesus Prayer; we will be more kind hearted like the peasant. That's what I got from this book.