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Prayer 62

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A

Now, why should I not add to the Psalms I have quoted
passages from the Prophets?
But what pleasure is there from nourishment
if my sense of taste is numbed by pain as I eat?
And what advantage can I derive from the Psalms
if I cannot take them to heart?
For I curse myself with them, but I do not know it.
I am cleansed, but I do not glisten.
The sun dawns, but I am not enlightened.
I eat honey but am not sweetened.
I am filled with balm but am not cured.
I rise early for prayers each day and return
empty handed.
I am mocked endlessly but never learn.
I am warned but do not come to my senses.

B

Truly, my sin and lawlessness dwell in me
and I am worn away by them,
as the Prophet said of the transgressors,1
and the Lord taught in the parable
of the new wine in old casks.2
For as Isaiah foretold,
“Rebels and sinners shall be destroyed together.”3
And the same is in store for me, wretch that I am,
for I recite the psalm, “The Lord abundantly requites
those who act haughtily,” 4
to which I link the prophecy,
“The Lord has a day against all who are proud
and haughty,” 5 when I recite,
“The wicked go astray from the womb . . .”6
and I add, “Let the wicked of the earth be destroyed”
and “the haughty be wiped from the earth”7
and “the unjust shall be uprooted from the earth.”8

C

Weep for me when you read,
“As the tongue of fire devours the dry grass,
so shall sinners be consumed in the furious flames.”9
Weep for me also at the psalm, saying,
“Let burning coals fall upon them.”10
And pray I might be pardoned from divine judgment,
foretold by the Prophet, “If you refuse to heed me,
you shall be devoured by the sword.”11

Weep at this psalm:
“Death shall be their shepherd.”12
Prepare salty tears mixed with the sighs of my heart,
when the Lord on high says to me, along
with Israel, “My people did not listen to me.”13

Sigh “alas!” for me, when another Prophet says the same:
“Woe to them, for they have strayed from me!”14

Trumpet the words of the heart, heavy before crying,
when God who sees all puts me to shame,
reprimanding me with the insolent house of Jacob,
“Look, you, wicked nations, and see; wonder and
be astounded.”15
D

O great God, reconsider and withhold the terrible
sword of your righteous anger,
menacingly raised over me.
I am fear-stricken before you
as you extend the bounteous care of
your right hand over me.
Bestow the anointing oil of life
upon your supplicant. And glory to you
in heaven on high, and from mortals
on earth below, throughout all the nations
and reaches of the earth,
forever,
Amen.
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Notes
  1 ...... Is. 59:12.

  2 ...... Mt. 9:17.

  3 ...... Is. 1:28.

  4 ...... Ps. 31 (Arm 30): 23.

  5 ...... Is. 2:12.

  6 ...... Ps. 58 (Arm 57):3.

  7 ...... Is. 16:10, Ps. 104 (Arm 103):35.

  8 ...... Pr. 2:22.

  9 ...... Is. 5:24.

  10 ...... Ps. 140 (Arm 139): 10.

  11 ...... Is. 1:20.

  12 ...... Ps. 49 (Arm 48): 15.

  13 ...... Ps. 81 (Arm 80): 11.

  14 ...... Hos. 7:13.

  15 ...... Hab. 1:20.