Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Grass Partakes of Fire

From lips defiled and a vile heart,
from an impure tongue and a soul defiled,
receive my prayer, O my Christ,
and do not despise my words,
my appearance,
nor my shamelessness.
Grant me boldness, my Christ,
to say what I desire.
Even more, teach me
what to do and say.
I have sinned more than the harlot
who, on learning where Thou wast,
bought myrrh and came boldly to anoint Thy feet,
my God, my Master and my Christ.
As Thou didst not turn her away
when she came with her heart,
so, O Word, turn me not away,
but give me Thy feet to hold, to kiss,
and to anoint bodily with a stream of tears
as with a precious ointment.
Wash me with my tears, O Word,
and cleanse me with them!
Remit my transgressions
and grant me forgiveness.
Thou knowest the multitude of my evil;
Thou knowest also my wounds!
Thou seest my scars;
Thou knowest also my faith!
Thou seest my intentions
and hearest my sighs.
Nothing is hidden from Thee,
my God, my Maker, my Redeemer,
not even a teardrop,
or part of that drop.
Thine eyes have seen
that which I have not yet done.
Thou hast inscribed in Thy book
things yet to happen.
See my humility!
See each of my labors
and all of my sins!
Forgive me, O God of all,
that with a pure heart,
trembling thoughts, and a contrite soul
I may partake of Thine undefiled
and most Heavenly Mysteries
which enliven and deify
all who partake of them with a pure heart.
Thou hast said, O Master:
"Whoever eateth My Body
and drinketh My Blood
abideth in Me and I in him!"
True is every word
of my Master and God!
When I partake of Thy divine and deifying grace,
I am no longer alone --
I am with Thee, my Christ,
the Light of the Triple Sun
-- Which enlighteneth the world.
May I not remain alone,
without Thee, O Lifegiver, my Breath,
my Life, and my Joy,
the Salvation of the world.
I approach Thee, therefore, with tears,
as Thou seest,
-- and a contrite soul.
I beg to receive
deliverance from my sins.
May I partake uncondemned
of Thy life-giving and spotless Mysteries,
that Thou mayest abide,
as Thou hast said,
-- with me, the thrice-wretched.
May the tempter not find me
with Thy grace
and seize me deceitfully
and lead me, deceived,
-- from Thy deifying words.
Therefore, I shall fall down before Thee
and fervently cry:
"As Thou didst receive the prodigal
and the harlot who came to Thee,
O Gracious One,
receive me, prodigal and defiled."
With a contrite soul I approach Thee now:
I know, O Savior,
that no one hath sinned against Thee
as I have,
-- nor done the deeds that I have done.
But I also know
that neither the greatness of my transgressions
nor the multitude of my sins
surpasseth the great patience of my God
-- and His extreme love for man.
Through Thy merciful compassion
Thou dost cleanse and brighten
those who repent with fervor,
making them partakers of Light
-- and full communicants of Thy Divinity.
To the astonishment of angels
and human minds,
Thou dost converse with them often
as with Thy true friends.
This maketh me bold, my Christ;
this giveth me wings!
Emboldened by the wealth
of Thy generosity towards us,
with both joy and trepidation,
I who am grass partake of fire.
O strange wonder!
I am sprinkled with dew
and am not burned,
as the bush burned of old
-- without being consumed.
With grateful thoughts
and a grateful heart,
with my grateful members,
my soul and my body,
I now fall down
and worship and glorify Thee, my God,
for blessed art Thou,
now and for ever.

-- St Simeon the New Theologian, Sixth Prayer before receiving the Immaculate Mysteries. Taken from "Daily Prayer for Orthodox Christians," St Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church, Norcross, Georgia, 1995.


s-p said...

Wouldn't it be something to pray THAT over the table at a Church of Christ communion service?

John said...

Yep. Actually I had this laminated into a bookmark which I keep in my bible. Back then, I would take it out and read it during communion.