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Prayer 39

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A

Since I abandoned my former composure,
led by the destroyer and
totally wasted by my own laziness,
now I address my former self,
recounting with heavy heart and pitiful sobs
the scandal of my ways
before the congregation of the multitude of nations.

B

I am a living book,
written like the scroll in the vision of Ezekiel,
inside and out,1
listing lamentations, moaning and woe.
I am a city without walls or towers,2
a house empty without doors for protection,3
salt in looks but lacking taste,4
sea water unfit to quench the thirst,
land, useless for cultivation,
field, barren and covered with briars.
My personal acres, cared for by God,
but already sown with the devices of the Slanderer,
an olive tree that is wood without fruit,
a barren orchard to be cut down,5
a hopeless, twice dead, talking plant,
a burned out candle that cannot be lit.

C

Now again, in the same vein, I repeat
similar pathetic images
that await me, miserable soul, as bitter punishment for my shame.
Gnashing of teeth and endless wailing, for the eyes of
my wretched self,
paternal anger that cannot be deflected by filial regret,
unmendable corruption for my sinful body,
new reprimands for me, an inventor of evil for
my diseased soul,
the anxiety of doubt for my escape as a captive,
waiting to be visited by the heavenly host.
Testifying I am a miserable, wounded soul,
who deserves to be burned in the bundles of weeds,6
with a stern voice pronouncing me, incorrigible refuse.

D

Truly, these are but the charming melodies of a harlot,
with her harp, strolling about and beating her breast,7
brazenly wailing, miserably and scornfully,
as the prophet Isaiah wrote in his admonition to Tyre.
If she could because of a minor misfortune (the loss of
her clientele),
protest with all manner of fake moaning and groaning,
then in what kind of desperate voice should I cry out?
I who wait the coming of the Lord,
and yet have been caught unprepared and naked.

E

Now, if I recount again the fearsome judgment,
my repentance should be multiplied.
And if I present my tribulations realistically
terror should seize me.
And if I describe this vision in detail
my tribulations increase.
For having recognized all this in advance and
not repented, even in retrospect, I am grateful that
you spared me, merciful lover of mankind,
mighty doer of good,
All-giving Christ, King, blessed forever.
Amen.
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Notes
  1 ...... Ezek. 2:9-10.

  2 ...... Jer. 50:15.

  3 ...... Jer. 51:30.

  4 ...... Mk. 9:49.

  5 ...... Lk. 13:10.

  6 ...... Mt. 13:30.

  7 ...... Is. 23:15-16.