Understanding the Poustinia and Quiet Prayer Corners in my Room

The call to go into a quiet place every Sunday morning always refreshes me.  I am glad I didn't resist the whisper for intimate prayer.  Having finished reading Heather King's Shirt of Flame, I am quite rejuvenated to begin my daily practice of prayer again.  I've managed to survive the challenges of this week because of prayer and a constant lifting up of my heart to the hope that doesn't disappoint.  

This morning I find myself sitting still before my room's place of prayer.  I haven't given myself much of a chance to be quiet as I have this morning in a while.  The words of Catherine Doherty soothe me and bring me to that stillness where the restlessness of the heart finds its way to God.  She talks about the the vocation of the poustinia (in Russian a poustinia is a place to pray, most of the time in the wilderness where you can be alone).  

It means that within yourself you have made a room, a cabin, a secluded place.  You have built it by prayer--the Jesus Prayer or whatever prayer you have found profitable.  You should be more aware of God than anyone else, because you are carrying within you this utterly quiet and silent chamber. 
So you enter into the poustinia with a simple heart, knowing that you come from eternity, that from all eternity you were in the mind of God, and that you are in it now.  With simplicity comes tremendous peace, a peace which shatters the division of life and death.  The great fear of death gradually disappears, and that is the ultimate in simplicity, the simplicity of a child.
The poustinik should have a gentle attitude towards himself, toward other people and toward all of God's creation.  In other words, the attitude of the poustinik is one of cosmic tenderness, a tenderness towards all God's creatures.  But that tenderness and gentleness begin with oneself, a proper love of oneself.  Gentleness leads to a good kind of order--order in the poustinia, order around it, a caring for the trees, the plants.  The poustinik is possessed by a gentleness in loving himself, creation, and all others in the way God loves everything.  God said that everything he made was very good, and the poustinik has a gentle care for this goodness.  You should always remember that the goal of the poustinia is to interiorize it.

I hope I get to practice these things next week.  To carry the peace of the silent chamber in the middle of busy meetings, conflict, interacting with difficult people, hopelessness, impatience.   My mind needs to be more aware of the disposition needed to remain attuned to God's peace.  

So this morning as I prepare again for another journey at work, I think about those people who have given me a hard time last week.  And I pray for them, that my patience grows in the middle of the discomfort of having to deal with them.  That my wisdom sharpens in the middle of moments of tension and bending.  That I will remain inspired by the living examples of people whose faith remain steadfast like St. Rita, St. Therese and recently my highschool teacher Sir Joey Cumagun.

a place of pondering in a corner of my room


  1. I love the notion of creating and carrying a poustinia within our hearts--a place of inner silence and peace. :)

  2. Yes, definitely. I felt liberated when I read that part.


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