Translated from the French by Mme. Zadah Guerin-McCaffery ALL RIGHTS FOR PUBLICATION, REPRODUCTION, TRANSLATION, ADAPTATION RESERVED FOR ALL COUNTRIES. COPYRIGHT BY: LES AMITIES SPIRITUELLES 5 rue de Savoie, Paris http://groups.yahoo.com/group/christian_mystic_friends/
2 FOREWORD Founded by SĂ‰DIR, Les Amities Spirituelles (Christian Mystic Friends Association) is putting out these excerpts on PRAYER taken from his writings. "My aim has been to lead the humble and sincere reader toward the inexhaustible wealth of spiritual poverty. In the so-called lack of continuity of my descriptions, each soul will discover intuitively and directly the food it needs. The intellect, disentangled from acquired habits, will find revealing analogies among seemingly unrelated subjects. Then it is from within himself, through the ardor of his search, upon the rigor of his moral discipline, that the reader must expect to fathom, broaden and extend his comprehension of the Gospel. His master will be Holy Desire because, while the world of thought is limited to the Universe, Jesus Christ leads us far beyond. When engaged in pursuing Him and following His footsteps, our only concern should be to employ all of the penetration of our mind to know ourselves, and all the energy of our will to master our selfishness." SĂ‰DIR We are souls whose intense yearning the immense Universe cannot satisfy. We are disciples to whom nothing is too arduous to try to imitate the Master. It is Jesus Who lights this inextinguishable conflagration within us. We never cease trying our utmost to serve Him and to serve mankind, with humility, in silence and self-abnegation, in His immeasurable abyss of Love. Madame Zadah Guerin
3 BIOGRAPHY SĂ‰DIR--the great French Mystic was born January 2, 1871 at Dinan. His entire youth was spent in writing, teaching, counseling. With tireless zeal and devotion he helped others to share in his newly discovered horizons. His brilliant mind elucidated the problems they brought to him. Sedir was an erudite; he wrote over fifty books, articles for magazines and participated in translating many scholarly tomes. Medicine, science and mathematics held no secrets from him. But - one day - having reached the summit of fame among his peers, he cut himself loose from his former associates, to consecrate his time and efforts solely to the Gospel. His teachings from then on became dedicated to making Christ known to others. Not a Christ far away but close to us = Our Friend. Making us aware of Our Friend's constant presence, of His being by our side, his new but scholarly writings continued to be published in that theme: Love for Mankind. We who met him, and came close to Sedir felt the radiance of his total devotion to us. He shouldered our responsibilities and helped bear our problems because to him Jesus Christ was the Light of the World Whom we should emulate and follow. In other words, we are to have the privilege of serving others. Through selfdiscipline we bear the responsibility of lighting the path of all who come to us for help. Sedir passed away February 3, 1926, in Paris. But his lights and example still shines around the world. Each soul who follows the teachings his life exemplifies is a Christian Mystic Friend, a member of the Inner Church. Madame Zadah Guerin
4 WHAT PRAYER IS To pray is the most difficult task ever given to man; yet everything around us prays. The minerals, the plants, the animals ask Nature for sustenance; any act is a demand, and all beings have to act as this is their nature. In all creation it is man who most frequently refuses to recognize this law, and yet it applies particularly to him. I hope I may be able to show you how unreasonable such conduct can be. Understood in its true dignity, prayer is a desire for Heaven as well as a conversation with God. It is a grace and the source of graces; it is a seed sown in the eternal fields; a masterpiece more precious than any work of art could be; it is greater than the world; one might even say, more powerful than God. Prayer is an ineffable act. Because it claims to be nothing, it can achieve everything. It transfigures the hideous, fills the voids, moves mountains. Like the refreshing dew, it assuages, cleanses, liberates. It is the fire, the anvil, the sledge hammer. It remains unknowable, yet nothing manifests without it; Unknown, it teaches us everything; so simple that renowned scientists do not understand it; Prayer, even when it is haltingly stammered, causes cohorts of angels to stop and listen; Insignificant vibration, yet gathered with awe by the bewitching hands of ardent seraphims; mere enfeebled breath, it still renews life. Prayer--root of joy, sapience of wisdom, gentleness of strength, perfection of speech, fulfillment of the promise,universal medicine. Prayer! colorless tears transmuted into pearly gems--this is prayer--such is its ever-living incarnation, Christ Jesus. MYSTIC FORCES AND THE CONDUCT OF LIFE
5 Prayer is an immense act; it is comparable to a man who hurls himself into the depths in order to find a treasure beyond price, and who brings back the very one he needs. If we could only see, in the light of the Spirit, the vast drama created by the request of a pure heart, the billowing multitudes it puts into motion, we would never dare to pray. There again our ignorance is our safeguard. Prayer, in fact, is subject to only one but essential condition: that our voice reaches God. I am not using metaphors; please understand that this concerns something other than meditation, auto-suggestion or voluntary concentration. Prayer is a call for help, and nothing else. The chief point is to be heard. Formulae, attitudes, time or place are of secondary or third importance, because whether we want it or not, we are always under the eye of God. To make ourselves heard, our heart must use Heaven's language, and that is: Charity. We must candidly be aware of our nothingness and this inner void into which the infinite pours to overflowing is: Humility. Hence, believing is not sufficient. To believe in God and not obey Him is true of too many Christians. I prefer those who pretend they do not believe but who, meanwhile, obey the divine law. It is not faith which engenders love, it is love which engenders faith. Faith is not an opinion of the brain, it is a conviction of the heart. To have faith in someone does not mean believing that that person exists, it means believing in him and giving him your loyal support. Prayer not preceded by charity can do nothing; while charity without faith moves Heaven anyway. Keep in mind the admirable stories of the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan. If you ever meet among the masses of the population some of the people to whom Christ is still an "unknown quantity", yet who suffer upon witnessing the miseries of the proletariat, who share their room, their attic, their food and their labor in brotherly friendship with their comrades, you will better understand how these warm hearts, although they may refuse religious concepts, are closer to God, far closer than those unfeeling bigots who drain their employees or who ruthlessly fire a faulty servant. Without love, religion is not alive. We want to hoist this evident axiom so high that all may see. We expect to conform to the customary ceremonial when we are presented at Court. When we speak to God, we must follow the customs of His Kingdom. This supernatural atmosphere is Light--the outpouring of self, the acquiescence of the little child. Use it then, with God in perfect sincerity, with total confidence since He sees all and can do all things. That is sufficient to strengthen our prayer; and the rest such as formulae, liturgies, attitudes, time, chosen places are but props for our doubts and guardrails for our inattentiveness.
6 CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM All we have to do to obtain complete Faith--a living, active practical Faith--sums up to our adopting the daily habit of conversing with God and of speaking with God as with a friend. Let us discipline ourselves to do this. Five minutes in the morning and in the evening are not sufficient. In the same manner as an adolescent watches ceaselessly over his language and decorum, so must we, in every second that intervenes between our various tasks, at least twenty times a day, suddenly turn to Christ, recharge our courage, and find the plumb-line of our internal being. Doubtless, that may indicate following a strenuous discipline; yet, does not achieving the mastery of anything, however material its aim, need constant perseverance? There is an old saying that, "Smiling in the midst of sorrow is the first step on the path to faith. Such powerful serenity may only blossom through a perpetual awareness of God which is built, upon elevating our heart above puny, earthly vicissitudes, upon our constant soliciting of miracles, upon enjoying our nothingness. THE HEALINGS OF CHRIST To attach importance to a prayer-formula is wrong. The Father understands all tongues, and neither Hebrew nor Greek have any more value than any other dialect to His ears. Giving importance to the place, time, bodily attitude or gestures for our prayers is erroneous. If humility beckons you to bowing low, fine; but if you fume against the hard floor, your kneeling is of no avail. Of course, in certain localities activated by the dynamics of the crowds, prayer seems easier to formulate; that is but an external impression. Heaven is all around us, independent of place, formulae or rites. Doubtless these help; but let us beware that they end by hiding the spiritual realities from us. Prayer is uniquely a colloquy between the Divine Persons and our heart. To be heard by Them, all we need to do is to conform to Their line of conduct. That is all. THE KINGDOM OF GOD
7 We always seem surprised when our prayers are not answered, but it is our own fault. God would not exhort us to pray, did He not want to hear us. He tells us to pray with faith, and we pray with doubt. Jesus tells us to pray with confidence, and we pray in fear. We creep into a corner of the Self, separating God from our petition and ourselves. Let us open up; joyfully open our hearts wide, so that our arms will follow suit. We must raise our eyes, lean our weary faces toward the breaths wafting from above. We must stack all our forces as soldiers stack their guns; shock them as the harvester shocks the beautiful golden sheaves of grain, with all graceful stalks of the same height, solidly tied at the right place. We must become one to reach Unity. We must become one to move the All-Unifier. Jesus is with the two or three who pray together--that has been verified. But, if you are alone, that does not minimize the promise, because first of all one is never alone; secondly, Jesus anticipates all possible situations, even those we think of as impossible. Hence, though you may be alone, you are still many: you are a mortal body, an immortal mind, and an eternal soul; you are also two hearts in one: one for good, one for evil. You are still part of your ancestors, or rather your ancestors are with you if you are in the Light; so are your descendants at times. Other beings surround you; yet your true companion, the one you may constitute or reconstruct, whatever the temporal or spiritual circumstances may be, is this mobile, living trinity, which, though so tiny can beheld in a second, yet so great it fills the Universe: by that I mean the Self which is -a person, your prayer which is another person, and God Who is the third. Sublimate your Self in the imitation of Jesus; make your prayers similar to His (whatever be their object). As to the Father, He has been with His Son from the beginning of Time. Thus you will be three, all united in Jesus, in His Name, in His Virtue, in His Spirit. In this prayer-universe all is contained in Jesus: you and your friend who pray together do so because Jesus is there; your soul, your body, your mind--Jesus encompasses them all; your ancestors or sons--Jesus stands before them; your prayer is Jesus; the answer is Jesus again; otherwise your prayer is not a true prayer, but a deal. CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM
8 The most imperfect prayer remains operative; even the non-granted prayer is never lost; we must pray until we die, each prayer more confident than the last, keeping to the simple prayer formulae said with pure faith. We are unnecessary servants who must remain ever grateful of the little God grants us. Let us coordinate the patience needed to bear our faults with the vigilance needed to overcome them. In itself this is a difficult task, and as such must be diligently pursued, by never becoming impatient, and by never being discouraged. That stage is reached through meditating upon God's love for us, upon His patience toward us, and upon the pleasure our meager efforts give Him--this is the true activity of Hope. Let us also unite our ardor for work with our trust in God: this is how another psychological contradiction is easily determined by the marked distinction between worry and zeal. Worry is a lack of faith. To overcome it we need to deploy a healthy, robust, poised zeal which is relentlessly put to use for others-not for ourselves. Thus a taste for prayer is born automatically; and our demands, being alive, free, simple, purposeful, will spontaneously surge from our hearts. THE KINGDOM OF GOD You say: "I do not feel the desire nor am I in the mood to pray. I don't even feel the need to". So, begin by following Christ, by the simplest way, through your acts. For example, if, in a little while from now, you find yourself talking with friends, stop the very first slander that comes to your lips; stop it at any price. The devil of corruption will soon whisper in your ear: "Do tell about so-and-so being a nut; since it is true, what difference does it make?" If you really want to conquer the tempter, you will have to call for help. This appeal will be your first prayer. MYSTIC FORCES AND THE CONDUCT OF LIFE
9 Some people never pray because either they do not think about it, because they do not have faith, or because prayer is beyond their ken; all of which may be due to educational background, to culture or to one's malleable reactions to the tests of Destiny. The immaterial organ of prayer is not yet developed in these people and their consciousness still ignores the possible recourse to invisible Powers. When the yearnings of an immortal soul finally tends toward the Divine--and that always happens at a definite time in its evolution --holy desires are born. Any desire builds around itself its organs of actions and its own form of expression. By virtue of this, artists who portray sacred characters give a particular contour to the head of the saintly personages they depict. The more we defer taking a stand, the harder it becomes; the less we pray, the less we can pray. Hence, it would be wise to start right away, in spite of being lukewarm, in spite of ennui and lack of response. Any circumstance must serve as a pretext to ask God's help. Never can we bother God; never shall we exceed doing the ultimate that our duty calls for. THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT ...I have forgotten all initiations, I guarantee you. But I understand you. You think: why should I pray since the Primary Cause acts with justice, kindness and perfection? Prayer would then be childish, it would prove our hearts to be like a child crying for his toy or pride which considers itself important enough for the universe to grant its wishes -- or like a human being who cannot conceive that his desires should not be granted!" "Oh, scientist:" .....and his powerful hand weighed heavily on my shoulder, ....."have you not seen a babe suckling his mother? Or a woman's head resting on her spouse's shoulder? Does not the buried stone seek the light? Does not the plant pierce a wall in search of light? Animals at least once a day salute the sun. The ocean at regular intervals rises with the tides which selenic waves revivify. People seek happiness. Planets, also, when inclining their poles. Even your intelligence has become vast because it asked for it. Does it mean that each of these beings asks as he should? No, all that was created is imperfect, but it recognizes its powerlessness and feels that there is a higher sphere. If ideal and perfection did not exist, would providence have dared to have the cruel courage to sow those seeds in our depth-consciousness? The road of man is similar to that of all other beings; should he follow in utter simplicity the spontaneous direction of life palpitating within himself, it would not be possible for
10 him to err." INITIATIONS Everything prays: the stone which ripens in the depth of a quarry, the plant in search of the sun, and the animal which salutes its course; any act is a demand; a result is not obtained through our will only but, because when working for its realization, our energies, even the most physiological ones, desire and hope for success. The heart of man, alone, too often, thinking itself master of the world, rejects any ideas of help. And as our spirit is the supreme flower in all Nature, we have the task of completing the great-work of evolution and of uniting the effort of that work and its results to the throne of the Father. But today, we are still floundering far from this state of living prayer-appanage of the slaves of Love whose voices the evils, events and creatures obey. That is why, such as we are, the best we can do is pray by being an example. THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT That is why Jesus speaks of forgiveness. Please note that He asks of us to follow this severe training just at the most necessary times: whenever we appeal to divine justice through prayers, or appeal to human justice through legal proceedings. Any prayer, no matter how feeble, partial, superficial or even artificial we suppose it to be, is a reaching out of our selves toward the ideal of equilibrium, of peace and of harmony. If the spiritual part of man ascends toward this serenity while in a state of furor, it will bounce back and his furor will be increased. He will have added fuel to the fire and after terminating his prayer, he will be worse off than when he began his ascent. No action -- and, in this case, no insult or injury -- is viable, it lives only through the feeling which produced it. This feeling is an act in the central realm of the Word from where our heart, our animic-center, originated. The guides, guardians and angels, with which the Word surrounds us, know us by feeling; they do not see our physical body nor our mental form. It is the heart they see; they perceive its humiliations, its rancours, its feelings of vengeance and of forgiveness. Peace must then be consummated between the same four parties of a quarrel: the two adversaries and their two angels. And these four are probably together only today at the most during this particular lifetime. Who knows where, after death, they will meet;in the purgatory of Catholicism, or in the numerous worlds of the reincarnationists? And when? The safest course is to be reconciled right away, rather than drag for several cycles the vampirish load of an anger or of a grudge
11 (Matthew 5:23-24).
Immediate forgiveness is but one example of the rule which commands never to postpone till the morrow what can be done today. Nothing ever comes isolated; men, happenings, circumstances are veritable little worlds; groups meet groups which each of us, represents, in the presence of other groups, which are spectators. THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT "Forgive us our trespasses". ...We have already spoken about forgiveness at length; but might I remind you, that to obtain it from God, we must exercise it, too. In so doing, we imitate Christ and He takes us along with Him. One learns to forgive them when one remembers universal justice, primarily, and then by remaining in the zero of humility. After these passive and subjective exercises have been followed, then we can practice the most superficial sort of forgiveness which is the forgetting of the injury by the organ which had received it. Then and only then, can we say that sentence of the Lord's Prayer without condemning ourselves: "As we forgive those who trespass against us". THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT Psychically, you must also lock yourself in your closet and stabilitate an inner silence. Pray aloud, as long as no one can hear you. But see to it that your passions and worries are stilled. God is always within us, even when we do not feel His presence, and more so when we feel barren. Do understand that we must not pray in order to obtain palpable consolations nor to experience more or less agreeable psychic impressions. When you feel such things when you pray, I would almost advise you not to pay any attention them, because to follow them distracts and leads us to seek after spiritual ecstasies. If Heaven grants them to you occasionally, let us accept them gratefully as it is so easy to be selfhypnotized or conjure through autosuggestion or magic some long desired psychic manifestation and to welcome it as coming from God. When we pray aloud, we animate the request because the voice gives a body to the desire, not an artificial body such as those produced by perfumes, gestures, schemas, yantras, mantrams and psalms, but a normal and natural body. Thus we bring in collaboration for some good, air, the organs of speech and the centers of language; we give a salubrious example to the spirit of the things which surround us and we feed our invisible witnesses. From man's standpoint, the Universe is divided into spheres and hierarchies; from Heaven's standpoint,
12 these various parts keep a separate existence, though He reassembles them ceaselessly into the mobile Unity of His Life. Let us be one, like that. THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT Prayer is an immense action; the most superhuman of all efforts. Behind each of us are multitudes of people who anxiously await that we open the doors of the temple where they can come to pray. There are some who die from this desire. We are responsible for these sufferings which we barely surmise however, and yet we all know that prayer is a duty. We are doubly responsible from that moment on, and when we unconsciously satisfy the intense yearnings of these beings, our voice becomes for them a harmony, a light, or dew. For, His life forms an uninterrupted prayer; for He Himself is the living incarnation of prayer. He was the pioneer Who hewed the passage through which our appeals can rise to the Father. He is the mediator, the interceder, the priest, the victim and the sacrifice. THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT It is Saint Theresa who developed the first of these points of view most comprehensively. According to her, when the soul has recognized the Father Who is in Heaven through the methods of human cognition, via the discursive operations of understanding, the soul enters into the state of abandonment, and begins the practice of the prayer of quietude whose phases are described in the first demands of the Pater-Noster. The praise Hallowed be Thy Name is, in fact, a period of rest after the fatiguing asceticism of purgative life and of logical meditation. it denotes the first dawn of contemplative life when the creature has given almost its all; the Creator is going to give it illumination as if in answer to the second demand: Thy Kingdom come. Quietude now reaches its level; joy descends into the soul and occasionally communicates itself to the body which may become the theater of extraordinary phenomena. When this first phase of relief has been experienced, a new period of work begins whose third demand: Thy will be done establishes the foundations through humility and through the total inner abnegation of the created being. The essence of this work is the assimilation of the divine will by the human will, whose life little by little becomes a constant sacrifice. This effort causes pains which are the signs of the new birth, of the mystical genesis of the Word within us. This is the daily bread from which we receive a crumb each day. It is such a powerful food and so plentiful that the masses of souls cannot withstand it. Sorrows, trials, persecutions and all imaginable sufferings are, in reality, but the
13 effects of this divine remedy upon our inner spirit.
The fifth demand, forgiveness, must become the touchstone of all virtues, the sign of regeneration, the material and objective proof that all parts of our being have assimilated the mystical bread, the living Word. THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT
14 Works by SĂ‰DIR Translated in English Mystic Mosaic (An anthology of his works) Initiations A Few Friends of God Meditations for 52 Weeks Five volumes on the Gospel: The Childhood of Christ The Sermon on the Mount The Healings of Christ The Kingdom of God The Crowning of His Work Prayer Dreams Christian Mysticism The Mystic Path The Seven Mystical Gardens The Mystic Forces and the Conduct of Life The Song of Songs Spiritual Precepts
15 Education of the Will Our Slavery and Our Liberty Ascentic Energy The Gospel and the Problem of Acquiring Knowledge Sacrifice De Signatura Rerum (translation of Jacob Boehme's) The Brie Shepherd, French Dog History and Doctrine of the Rose-Cross The Rosicrucians ALL RIGHTS FOR PUBLICATION, REPRODUCTION, TRANSLATION, ADAPTATION RESERVED FOR ALL COUNTRIES, COPYRIGHT BY: LES AMITIES SPIRITUELLES 5 rue de Savoie Paris Geme 1954