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Prayer 47

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A

What can I be, but speechless
before your awesome might?
What can I be but embarrassed and silent
my words only quiet dust in my mouth,1
when I hope for virtue
as the prophets advised?
Even if I open my clamped lips,
what would flow but more mournful elegies?
Nothing but the voice of my many wounds
pouring forth.

B

And now, weeping with the great sinner,
who willingly committed mortal sin,
I join in his cry,
“I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned,
and to my lawlessness I myself am witness.”2
Weaving this cry with the words of the 50th Psalm,3
I conclude that the wages of my innumerable
sins are greater
than the grains of sand that make up the earth
and are scattered by the wind.
I have sinned against heaven and you.
Like the Prodigal Son, who though shamed,
received his father’s forgiveness,
I make my entreaty, prostrate before you,
my face twisted in grief, pleading:
Father of compassion, God of all,
I am not worthy to be called even a worthless,
irresponsible hireling,4
let alone “son,” or even to have this word
uttered about me.
Still accept me, a wandering exile, defeated by wounds,
faint with gnawing hunger.
Heal me with your bread of life,
confront me with mercy, for you are my first refuge.
Clothe me, a lawless sinner, merciful and
unvengeful God,
with the clothes of my former innocence.
Place, with your boundless generosity,
the ring with your seal of courage
on my sinful hand that lost everything by straying in sin.
Protect the soles of my bare feet
with the sandals of the Gospels.5
Guard me from poisonous snakes.
And even though I am wanting in virtue
you sacrifice the fatted calf of heaven,
your only begotten Son, out of
love for mankind.
Your blessed Son who is always offered and
yet remains whole,
who is sacrificed continuously upon innumerable altars without being consumed,
who is all in everyone and complete in all things,
who is in essence of heaven and in reality of earth,
who is lacking nothing in humanness and without
defect in divinity,
who is broken and distributed in individual parts,
that all may be collected in the same body with
him as head.6
Glory to you with him, Father most merciful.
Amen.
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Notes
  1 ...... Lam. 3:29.

  2 ...... 2 Chr. 33:1-20.

  3 ...... Ps. 50:3-5.

  4 ...... Lk. 15:3-32.

  5 ...... Eph. 6:15.

  6 ...... Jn. 11:52, Eph. 1:22-23.