So, if anyone could make me want to become Roman Catholic, it wouldn’t be someone like Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI with his erudition or someone else like that. It would be John Michael Talbot, lay Franciscan and folk musician who writes songs inspired by Scripture, Catholic mystics, the Eucharist, and so forth.
Also, like Kallistos Ware, he has a tremendously mind-blowing beard.
The beards, people! The beards!!!
Anyway, John Michael has been giving talks on the Jesus Prayer around the USA of late, and is going to be releasing a new book on the subject in September, The Jesus Prayer: A Cry of Mercy, A Path of Renewal, from IVP, no less. You can pre-order from his website, or — if you lurk outwith the USA (like me) — Amazon.
And, in the lead-up to the release, he is going to give us a series of YouTube videos with his teaching on the Jesus Prayer! This is very nice of John Michael, and I’m glad he’s done it.
The first video is up already, and in it he discusses very briefly about Christian East and West, and Pope John Paul II’s reference to the Church having two lungs. We western Christians at some point stopped breathing with our mystical lung, and we can learn much from Christians of the eastern traditions.
So he gives us the Jesus Prayer, tying it to the practice of breathing prayer, something he discusses in his earlier book The Music of Creation.
Here’s the video with the whole thing, only seven minutes long: