Mother Alexandra was born Princess Ileana of Romania. She married and bore children, established hospitals, and wrote books before joining a monastery later in life. A little later still she founded Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Pennsylvania. This year marks 25 years since her repose, and Frederica Mathewes-Green shared this quote from one of Mother Alexandra’s handwritten notebooks:
I sometimes think we give too much importance to our outward attitude of prayer. We expect too much emotionally of ourselves, much more than God is asking for.
God is only asking us to remember Him at all times, in good and bad periods to offer Him this moment of our time–this moment, not the following one. The present is what He asks; not in great gestures of surrender, but in a continual natural stream even as we breathe.
The great moments will then be vouchsafed us by Divine grace when we are reaching for them, when prayer quickens into a life of its own and carries us with it to unexpected heights, and above all peace and joys. Prayer carries us–not we our prayer.