Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart
Now with my broken soul, my deserted mind and
my crushed heart,
I pour forth the water of my will and the milk
of my tears,
just as the prophet Samuel,1
poured water before you, all-seeing God,
to show his people how to bow
in confession and obedience
before your life-giving feet.
And now, accept these prayers of sighs and contrition,
as you inhale the scent of this bloodless sacrifice of words, king of heaven.
Bless and sanctify the letters of this book of lamentation,
and fix your seal upon it,
as an eternal monument of
servanthood along with others pleasing to you.
May it stand before you forever,
and echo in your ears constantly.
May it be pronounced upon the lips of your chosen,
and may it be spoken by the mouths of your angels.
May it be spread before your throne,
and may it be offered in your sacred temples.
May it rise as incense in the houses of worship dedicated
to your name,2
and may it give fragrance at the
altar of your glory.
May it be kept among your treasures 3
laid up in store with your property.
May it be recited to the ears of all generations,
and may it be preached to all peoples.
May it be inscribed on the doors of the mind
and imprinted on the threshold of the senses.
As if alive and in person, may it recount
the iniquities I have confessed.
And although I shall die in the way of all mortals,
may I be deemed to live
through the continued existence of this book.
May it be protected from destruction by your will, Lord,
that it might be for me, the condemned,
an ever watchful judge, fair accuser,
that reprimands with vigor and blames with rigor,
that relentlessly criticizes and sternly shames me,
that inhumanely hands me over to
the unbribable executioner from whom there is no escape
like a ruthless informant coldly exposing me to
the whole world.
May it loudly trumpet my faults in confession 4
without break or end.
This book will cry out in my place, with my voice,
as if it were me.
It will uncover what I have covered up and
proclaim my secrets.
It will lament what I have done and
extol what I have forgotten,
reveal the invisible and relate my blasphemy,
preach about the depths of my soul
and tell of my sins.
It will lay bare the unseen and display the shape of
what is hidden.
Through this book may traps be explored and
pitfalls be discovered.
May unspeakable faults be confronted and
the traces of evil wrung out.
May the life of your grace and mercy reign, O Christ.
May my dry bones be preserved in your treasury
so that at the time of eternal life,
at the dawn of that first spring light,
on the day of renewed splendor,
through your dew my soul might again stir,
with your immortal salvation
and according to the hope held out in your inspired
may I again become green and blossom,
and send up shoots of spiritual goodness
that will never dry out.
And to you, Savior, and to your Spirit,
of the same essence as the Father,
to your united lordship and your inexplicable Trinity,
all glory and adoration
with mystic praise