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Prayer 70

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A

Now let me lift this discussion
from the lowly things of earth
unworthy of being considered part of creation
to the higher things.
Let me speak of God’s serious and stern Last Judgment
from which there is no escape.
Even those the closest to God such as the Patriarchs
or the most saintly such as the Prophets,
or the most spotless such as the Apostles,
or the truly chosen such as the martyrs,
if you did not grace them with your love
toward mankind,
with your undiminishing goodness,
unchanging providence
and unending mercy, they would be no use for
my salvation.

B

For even if I were to call to Abraham himself
with a parched mouth, as taught by
the parable of the rich man,1
Abraham would not provide so much as a drop of water,
since he too is bound by our common humanity.

And if I were to call to Moses, also a captive of
human frailty,
it would be useless for he could not save even the man
gathering branches on the Sabbath.2

And as for Aaron, he himself needed an intercessor.3
And David, he too was blamed despite his abundant good deeds.4
Then there are Noah, and Job and Daniel,
as the prophet Ezekiel explained, inspired by God:
“As I live, said the Lord God, they shall deliver neither
sons nor daughters from the fury to come, only they
themselves shall be saved.”5

As for Peter, the rock of faith,
no sooner was he out of your providential care
than he succumbed to human anxieties.6
I leave unmentioned multitudes of others
humbled by various human frailties
who are, nevertheless, among the eternally blessed,
for example, the prophet Josiah who blasphemed even
at the altar during the divine liturgy.
Like these there are many more making up
an inexplicable mystery
susceptible to various interpretations.

C

And since human power to reach salvation is finite,
we are objects of your mercy, beneficent God,
and fortified by you, Almighty,
called by you, God protector,
and pardoned by you, God for whom everything
is possible,7
graced by you, God our liberator,
and cured by you, God our healer,
granted life by you, God incorruptible,
and granted light by you, God our renewer.

Therefore, acknowledging the limitations
of my earth-born nature,
but taking courage from those you have comforted,
I petition only you, Son of the living God,
Christ blessed in all things.

What is written above is further justified
when we recall the wisdom written
in the same spirit as this prayer:
“It is better for a happy wise man
to fall into the hands of the Lord,
than to fall into the hands of men,
for the greater the power, the greater the mercy.”8

These words also suit David,
who when faced with three penalties posed by God9
willingly chose a horrible death, displaying faith
reminiscent of the living Christ,
preferring death to the two lesser penalties
that involved torment without mercy.

And if I apply these words to myself
searching to sustain my lost soul,
it would not be stretching the truth.
For in this book of lamentations
I seek not to disparage
those who have been rescued,
for without them how would we approach the Lord?
Instead I aim to glorify the name of our Savior,
and praise his grace before all people,
proclaiming those who have
been raised by high deeds
through the forever coveted salve of compassion.

D

Even as you are life, you are salvation,
you are the cure, you are immortality,
you are bliss, you are enlightenment.
Grant me peace from the torment of my sins,
so that you might also have rest
from my incessant, whining self-reproaches,
you who thrive on nothing but the salvation
of us humans.
Blessed forever.
Amen.
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Notes
   ......

  1 ...... Lk. 6:19-31.

  2 ...... Num. 15:32-36.

  3 ...... Ex. 32:25-35.

  4 ...... 2 Sam. 12:1-12.

  5 ...... Ezek. 14:14, 16, 18-20.

  6 ...... Mt. 14:30, Mk. 14:71.

  7 ...... Lk. 1:37.

  8 ...... Sir. 2:18.

  9 ...... 2 Sam. 24:10-17.