Frederica on Spiritual Practices

I came across this interview with Frederica Matthewes-Green on her website.  I found the question regarding her spiritual practices interesting….so I thought I would post it here.   

Explorefaith: Would you mind sharing with our readers some of your own personal, spiritual practices? What do you do each day, as an Orthodox Christian, as a human, as whatever, that connects you to the Divine?

FMG: Thirty years ago I began rising in the middle of the night for my daily prayer time. I still do this. Fr George recommended that I begin that time by saying the Nicene Creed and Psalm 50; after that, I say a hundred Jesus Prayers. I go return to bed and go back to sleep in continuing prayer.

When I wake in the morning, I say some prayers before I get out of bed (there are a short series of prayers, called “the Trisagion prayers”, which open virtually every Orthodox service), and greet the icons in my room before starting the day. I put on the teapot and, lighting the candles, say some more prayers in my icon corner; this is when I go through my intercessory prayer list, and each day I pray for a section of the parishioners in our church directory. When I go to my computer, I first do bible study in the New Testament and Psalms, using wonderful Bible software that provides the helps I need to study the texts in Greek.

Throughout the day I try to remember to say the Jesus Prayer. I try to note on the clock whenever a new hour begins, and to say at least some Jesus Prayers during each hour. I am trying to learn to “pray constantly” as St. Paul says.

Three nights a week, and more in Lent, there are church services, which I usually attend (and of course there is the Eucharist on Sunday). At bedtime I say the Trisagion prayers again and go to sleep saying the Jesus Prayer.

I also keep the Orthodox fast, which is to abstain from meat and dairy and some other foods on Wednesdays, Fridays, and during the 4 “Lents” of the church year. Essentially, it’s a vegan diet, and we are keeping it a bit more than half the days of the year. I have hypoglycemia, so I adjust it slightly, and in particular when I’m traveling and don’t have access to “home foods.”

The most important spiritual discipline is how we treat other people, however, so that keeps me involved in volunteer work, financial giving, and attempting to practice love and to subdue pride in every human interaction. This is the most challenging discipline, to me, but potentially the most transformative.”

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