Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart
And now, being bereft of all the virtues mentioned
and seeing myself among those who
should be punished, I pray for mercy
with the prayers of all others,
with the defeated and timid,
the weak and small,
the fallen and despised,
the banished and returned,
the doubter and the true believer,
the disgraced and the exalted,
the repressed and the upright,
the stumbling and the standing,
the rejected and the accepted,
the hated and the called,
the stupefied and the sober,
the wayward and the restrained,
the exiled and the invited,
the disowned and the beloved,
the dejected and the cheerful,
the somber and the joyful.
But here I will not recount again the sins of Jerusalem,
as Micah commanded concerning his forefathers,1
or as Isaiah told of Jacob’s iniquity,2
rather I will reveal my own transgressions,
for with the peril of death upon me, I utter, “Alas,” like the prophet Micah,3
and reproach myself like the Psalmist,
so that my full confession might find favor,
and I will not need to say “alas” again,
but might be at once cleansed completely by your blessed command.
Now, again upon my knees, before your
I open my soul before you,
showing how I sink like an image of death,
like the crawling beasts
lowered to the ground and covered in dust,
I, who nailed myself on the path of destruction in
this fleeting life.
Let me lean upon you, Lord, staff of life,
body springing from the root of David,
inexplicably joined to your uncreated divinity.
I stand bowed and humbled before you, good Lord,
with my face turned to the ground
and my eyes raised to you on high,
gazing pathetically upon you
who hears our sighing,
perfectly compassionate, thoroughly sweet,
a lake filled with tears of light,
I offer prayers of hope to your majesty.
O totally generous God, whose patience never ends,
hear me though I cause you bitterness.
You alone are the means of our salvation,
God of all, great beyond telling,
nature beyond comprehension,
truth beyond examination,
mighty power, able benefactor, unending calm,
indescribable inheritance, fitting fortune,4
abundant preparation, unobscured wisdom,
fervent gift, desirable offering,
longed-for bliss, peace unspoiled by sadness,
discovery beyond doubt, life that cannot be
estate that cannot be sold, exaltation that
cannot be exchanged,
doctor of all arts, unshakable foundation,
who turns back the wayward, finds the lost,
gives hope to those who seek refuge, light for
those in darkness,
forgiveness for sinners, a sanctuary for runaways,
calm for the troubled, salvation for the dead,
who liberates the captive, frees the betrayed,
steadies the slipping,
grieves with the scandalized,
suffers the doubters,
O vision of light, sign of rejoicing, rain of blessing,
breath of our nostrils, strength of our visage,
covering of our head.5
O mover of lips, inspirer of speech,
helmsman of the soul, lifter of hands, extender of arms, who holds the reins of the heart,
O voice of a friend, called like one of the family,
genuine antiphon, fatherly minister of care,
name given in confession, worshiped image,
boundless stamp for communion wafers,6
lordship before which we bow, eulogized memory,
gateway to joy, unfailing path, door to glory,
way of truth, ladder to heaven,
worthy of a multitude of other praises,7
of infinite forms and verses without end,
which an earthbound mouth cannot pronounce
and the body lacks the stamina to say
and the soul’s yearnings cannot sustain.
All eyes turn to you, O God of all.
Incline your ear toward the prayers of
the weeping voices of your servants and handmaidens.
Accept the dew of my woeful song, the tears of my sore
eyes, upon the immaculate feet of your humanity, Christ,
as you did when the sinner Mary washed your feet with her hair and tears.8
Let me return to you professing faith with
the kiss of my lips upon tasting the communion of
life’s salvation, beneficent God,
mercifully having received union with the same spirit
and the same compassion as the sinful woman.
I hope for the pledge of your great gifts
in exchange for my meager faith.
And through the compassion of your love for me,
your servant who proclaims your cherished name,
may the severe winter winds become tranquil air,
the gusty storm become a pleasant breeze,
the misgivings of fear become great confidence,
the meting out of punishment turn into bliss,
the perils of grief become spiritual rejoicing,
the tossing waves calm into placid water,
the arm-wrenching helm turn toward a safe harbor,
the harvest of heavy sin be transformed into
a stipend of grace.
And for the myriad of good things from you,
may your mighty name be magnified, proclaimed and honored with incense.
May the instigator of evil be embarrassed,
rejected and persecuted.
May the mortgage of sin be annulled,
may the snares be cut loose, the traps removed,
may the ties be undone, the abyss eliminated,
may perils be lifted, deceit torn away,
may the mortgage of sin be annuled,
may yokes fall off, ploughs unhitched,
and instead of the gloomy darkness of
and the siege of the armies of demons,
may the sun of your glory shine forth,
giving life, salvation and light,
from the right and the left, the front and the back.
And may the morning rays of the soul’s springtime shine
upon those who await your coming.
For you are charitable and comforting in all things,
and all things are possible for you,
you who want life and salvation for all.9
O hand of Jesus Christ, giver of all gifts,
turn also toward me extending your grace.
Dwell in me, become a part of me and do not leave
my anguished soul, the chamber of love.
And may your incorruptible image,
a token of the brilliant light beckoning us
to Christian salvation,
stay with me to intercede for my entry
in the book of your legacy of eternal life,
Holy Spirit of the Gospel and heavenly creator.
And to you who are your own sole cause,
and to you, the only begotten of the sole cause,
and to you who bear the sole cause,
three persons in one Godhead,
worthy of glory from the greatest of mortals
and the ranks of saints,