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Prayer 74

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A

Heavenly king, Lord of all,
patient toward all in all things,
Son of the living God, beyond our understanding,
your true mercy is manifest when
the expectation of reward is cut off.
Your benevolence is displayed when the mind’s
vision is blocked.
Your love of mankind is expressed at the hour
when weakness lays siege from without and within.
The divine healing of your hand is manifest
when life departs completely from our bodies.1
You visit where there is no exit.
Your greatness is clear when you cure the
wound of despair.
Your genuine humanity shared with us is revealed
when at unexpected times you dispense salvation.
Your victory is obvious
when you open the closed door of life
at my last breath.
Your magnificent grace is there
when you forget my wrongs and
remember your goodness.
Your ungrudging generosity is manifest
when you include me in your care,
ingrate that I am, along with the grateful.
I know and recognize
that you look upon this offering of words with
your former compassion as you lift away my
sinful habits.

B

For hymns rise up and chants are sung
when the Lord in his kindness rewards the bad servant
with goodness.2
When he grants rest in the royal palace to one
who should be imprisoned.3
When he seats on the tufts of the sumptuous throne
one who belongs in the dust bin.4
When he lifts toward the heights of happiness
the eyes of one expecting them gouged.5
When he places the ring of royalty on the hand
of him who expects his fingers cut off.
When he draws into his comforting embrace
one expecting lashes of a whip.
When in plain view of all he rescues
someone poised for destruction.
When he bestows glory as well as life
to him waiting for death’s devastation.
When he decorates with laurels
the head of one expecting beheading.
These are the blessed fruits of your magnificent vine,
compassionate Lord. This is the living harvest
of your creative commandments.
These are the yearning thoughts inspired by
fervor for you.
These are the rays of light of your
all-encompassing radiance.
This is the pleasurable taste of your glorious sweetness.

C

These are yours alone, Lord,
and by you was I moved to write them.
I pray, blessed Lord, for those gifts uniquely
yours to give,
Grant them, I pray you.
Open, Lord, the treasures of your good things,
according to the prayer of the Proverbs.6
Do not mix my wrongdoing in the storehouse of
your good things.
Do not store up vengeance and anger, which are
hateful to you, with compassion and mercy,
which you love.
Do not keep in your venerable creation the darkness and cruelty displeasing to you
or the sin and misery harmful to me.
Do not record with your blessed right hand
into the book of life
the mortgage of my damning debts.
Rather bring to pass the seemingly impossible,
exalt your name yet again, Lord, by showing
how simple and easy these are for you.7

D

My debts are too numerous to count,
but not so marvelous as your mercy.
My sins are many,
but small compared to your forgiveness.
My transgressions are frequent,
but your love for mankind vanquishes them all, powerful and almighty,
The stains on my soul are too numerous for me to count,
but for you they are very limited.
The weapons of sin produced by a miserable wretch like
me are not so strong against life as the memory of your
death, living Lord, for fending off the Destroyer.
What effect can a small shadow have on the light of
your day, God?
How can the dusk withstand your radiance, great God?
How can my unruly frail body be placed on the scales
with the cross of your suffering?
How does the mass of all the sins of the universe appear
to your eye, Almighty, who made everything in
abundance? Are they not for you but a clump of earth
that easily crumbles or a drop of rain that splatters in all
directions and disappears at your command?

E

How long would it take your omnipotent power to
pardon my transgressions?
       Not even the batting of the eye,
not the fleeting side glance,
not the quick glaring flash,
not the slightest hesitation,
not the hurried footstep,
not the raindrop’s coursing a cubit,
not the grasp of a line by the mind,
not the speed of light,
not the taking of a breath.

None of these insubstantial, fleeting events or
ephemeral states is so short or instantaneous as
the disintegration, destruction and melting of the
glacier of my sins by your power God, Lord of all,
Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, beyond human understanding.
You grant the sun of sweetness to the evil as
well as the good, and make it rain upon both.8
You mete out fairly the vicissitudes of life.
Those who find contentment in the expectation
of rewards, you pay with the spurs of temptation
for their few sins.
And those who have chosen the worldly life,
you forgive with mercy
ministering your care to both alike,
awaiting their return to you.
To you glory, Almighty, for the miraculous work
of your patient loving care,
blessed forever.
Amen.
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Notes
  1 ...... Mt. 8:3.

  2 ...... Mt. 18:27.

  3 ...... 2 Sam. 19:28.

  4 ...... Wis. 10:13-14, Ps. 113 (Arm. 112):7.

  5 ...... 1 Sam. 11:2.

  6 ...... Pr. 8:21.

  7 ...... Mt. 19:26.

  8 ...... Mt. 5:45.