Monday, 4 March 2013

Unceasing Prayer and Fr. Benyamin - Life of Fr. Benyamin the Hermit

It happened that some of the soldiers that were on guard duty and who were stationed at the monastery of St. Bishoy and the Suryan Monastery, visited him in his cave. They marveled at his solitude and his manner of life, they asked him what does he do in this wilderness, and he answered saying that he prays, so they asked him what does he do (his work), and he answered them, “My work is prayer, is prayer not work? And a marvelous one!!!”

Regarding prostrations (Metanyas), he used to refer to them as his canon, and he loved to carry them out in the early morning before sunrise, and he did a great number of prostrations daily.

Also, everyday at sunset he would go out into the desert to pray some prayers in addition to all of the litanies (the petitions of the Divine liturgy).

He used to say regarding prayer, “We are strangers in this world, but also in the monastery, we must offer many prayers or else we will perish!!” -keeping in mind that Fr. Benyamin was a hermit in the desert. His mouth never ceased from praising, and especially the arrow prayers (The Jesus Prayer)… “O my Lord Jesus Christ have mercy upon me, O my Lord Jesus Christ help me, I praise You O my Lord Jesus Christ, and so on”

He used this prayer at 9 in particular, while working with his hands like removing the sand for example and other work.  He would use a short sentence that starts with “Oh my Lord Jesus Christ…” and would add the rest to it which would represent his personal needs. He would begin his prayers that way, and he would pray these prayers until he poured out many tears.

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