Gregory Narek - Prayers - Prayer 34

Prayer 34

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A Here is my profession of faith, here,1
the yearnings of my wretched breath to you
who constitute all things with your Word, God.
What I have discoursed upon before, I set forth again,
these written instructions and interpretations
for the masses of different nations.
I offer these prayers of intercession
in the thanksgiving prayer below.

B I pray to your unchanging, almighty Spirit:
Send the dew of your sweetness upon my soul
to rule over the impulses of my senses.
Send the all-filling gifts of your merciful grace
and cultivate the reasoning fields hardened by my heart,
that they might bear the fruit of your spiritual seeds.
All gifts that flourish and grow with us, Teacher,
come from your all-encompassing wisdom.2
You who laid hands on the apostles,
filled the prophets,
taught the teachers,
made the speechless speak,
and opened the ears of the deaf.
You, of the same family as the first and
only begotten Son of your consubstantial Father,
carry all this out through your mutual effort.
You proclaimed as the co-equal of your Father,
grant me, a sinner, to speak boldly of the life-giving,
mystery of the good news of your Gospel,
that I might follow with soaring mind,
the infinite course of the inspired breath of
your testament.
And when I embark upon the solemn interpretation
of the Word, send me first your compassion,
and let it speak through me
in a manner worthy, useful and pleasing to you,
in glory and praise for your Godhead,
and in the silence of the universal church.
Extend over me your right hand,
and fortify me with your grace.
Clear my mind of the fog of forgetfulness,
dispelling the darkness of sin,
that I might rise above this earthly life through wisdom.
May the dawn of that unobscured miracle,
the knowledge of your Godliness,
shine within me again, Almighty.
To be worthy to do and teach
and be an example of goodness for god-loving listeners.
To you all glory in all things,
with your Father almighty and
your only begotten and benevolent Son,
now and forever, without end.

C The creed of the co-existing Holy Trinity,
the rule of life and grace of salvation,
I taught in the following way:
We confess and profess, honor and worship
the shared glory and unity of the Holy Trinity,
Godhead beyond description, always good,
of the same substance, equal in honor,
beyond the flight of the wings of our thought,
higher than all examples, beyond all analogies,
surpassing the limits on high.
Before the creation of eternal undifferentiated matter
and the categories of creatures
with blessing that cannot be translated,
crowned forever with the richest greatness,
setting time in motion and all that has taken shape as time unfolds,
himself the cause and shaper of everything visible
and invisible,
who cannot be defined by name or denoted by label,
nor likened in quality, nor weighed in quantity,
nor formed by rules, nor known by kind,
nor spread to exhaustion,
nor occupying space,
nor appearing in a place.

D Father of compassion, God of the universe,
creator of everything in heaven and on earth
except the only begotten Word, through whom
all things exist, creator and giver of breath to all things
except for the consubstantial Holy Spirit,
through whom you formed all else.

E One of three glorified persons equal in power and awe,
who descended from on high to here below,
who was indeed by nature indistinguishable
from those below,
without relinquishing the throne of glory,
without leaving the watchful gaze of the parent of love,
merely entering the vessel of the virgin womb purely
and coming out joined with a body
inseparable in essence,
without any flaw in his humanity and lacking
nothing in divinity,
one and only Son of the only Father and
the first born of the Mother of God, Virgin Bearer
of the Lord,
creator becoming a true man as originally created,
not in the fallen state of mortals,
but new and splendid with the sublime glory of kings,
not seen in the ages or existing in time.
The first born, as the Psalmist said,
higher than all the kings of earth,3
formed from an incorruptible combination
like us in body,
in the manner of the soul with body,
and as gold with fire,
or to put it more plainly,
light in air, neither transformed nor separated.

F He submitted himself willingly to the cross of death,
like an innocent lamb led to slaughter,4
and girded himself with mighty self-discipline
for the salvation of those he created.
He truly suffered like a mortal.
He was placed in a tomb with no special treatment for his divinity.
On the third day, in the hell of Tartarus,
he preached to the
downcast captives and showed renewal and light.
And having carried out his providential
mission of redemption,
he came back to life as God,
and ruled on the wings of the winds,
rising upon the Cherubim,
covered in an inscrutable cloud.5
He ascended into heaven on high,
sat in splendor upon the throne bequeathed to him
from the beginning, equal with his Father,
from whom he had never been separated,
neither losing what had been acquired,
nor diluting that which was his own.
Therefore, he shall come to the judgment of retribution,
examining the unseen with the scales of justice,
for which we wait and pray
with faith in his almighty Lordship over and through all,
who truly is the only one of the only one
in equal glory forever worshiped as one.

G We always praise along with the Son and Father, the Holy Spirit,
which is of the same essence,
mighty, true, perfect and holy,
who from nothing brought into existence
everything that exists,
who acts through itself and shares rule with
the other two,
in the same indestructible, boundless kingdom,
who is the first cause, the awesome Word of his selfhood.
And the same exalted Holy Spirit,
good ruler, who dispenses the gifts of the Father,
in praise of the name and the glory of
the only begotten Son,
who acted through the Laws and inspired the Prophets,
with the encouragement of your co-equal Son
commissioned your apostles.6
In the form of a dove you appeared at the River Jordan,
for the greater glory of the one who had come,
shone forth in the writings of the evangelists,
created genius, strengthened the wise,
filled the teachers, blessed the kingdom,
assisted the kings, appointed the guardians,
issued the decree of salvation, granted talents,
prepared atonement,7
cleansed those baptized into Christ’s death that
you might dwell in them
a sacrament performed jointly by the Father and
Son with the Holy Spirit,
who is God, honored as Lord, in all ways in all things.

H Being named first among the Trinity does not make one greater than the other,
or being named after the other, less than the rest,
or by saying that they are one, that there is a
confusion of persons,
or by dividing into three, a separation of wills.
For the Father would be diminished
if he did not have the power of the Word
so too if he did not have the Holy Spirit and
was speechless,
lifeless and deprived of any power to command.
And the Word, if it were not known by
the name of the Father,
would be abandoned like some orphan or just
another mortal being.
Similarly the Holy Spirit, if not commissioned
by its cause,
would be vagabond, an unruly wind.8

I But if one presumes in a refutation
to snatch the Father from his Word,
on the ground that there was a time when
the Word was not,
believing that such speculations exalt
the sublime greatness of the divine,
or if one subordinates the Spirit which proceeds forth
on the ground that it is not by nature spiritual,
thereby introducing an alien being or some
unstable mixture
into the pure and sublime unity of the Holy Trinity,
we must reject such persons from our midst.
We must drive them away in disgrace
with our confession of faith
like a stoning of fierce demons or vicious beasts,
and cast a curse upon their devilish lot,
shutting the gates to the church of life in their face.
While we glorify the Holy Trinity in the same lordship of unified equality,
in parallel praise, uniform level,
blessed on earth and in heaven,
in the congregation of the nation of
earthly thinking beings,
now and forever.

J Now, I offer to your all-hearing ears, almighty God,
the secret thoughts in this book,
and thus equipped, I venture forth in conversation,
not with the idea that my voice could
somehow exalt you,
for before you created everything,
before the creation of the heavens
with the immortal choir of praise and
the earthly thinking beings,
you yourself in your perfection were already glorified,
but still you permit me, a reject, to taste
your indescribable sweetness, through
the communion of words.
And what good is it to mouth your
royal command about
“Adonai, Lord,” and not carry it out.9
I destroyed with my own hand
the golden tables of speech,
dedicated to your message, written by
the finger of God.10
That was true destruction.
And I, with ashen-faced sorrow,
now provide a second copy, made in its likeness.
But now, since I have prayed much,
in a voice of passionate and sincere praise,
hear me, compassionate God, with this
profession of faith.
May the voice of this prayer be joined with those offered
by clean worshipers obedient to your will
so that this meager offering, a dry loaf of
unleavened bread,11
might be served with oil upon your altar of glory.

K But you, beneficent and charitable in all things,
O Christ, of one God, mighty and powerful,
who surpasses all with your sweet and
caring compassion
not only humanity in general and those like me
who are susceptible to all manner of contrariness,
but also the uncontaminated angels,
and even the pure and saintly, who give praise.
There was Elijah, for example,12
whose austere signs on Mt Horeb were shown
in three ways:
a great earthquake, strong winds and burning fire.
But you act in the mildness of patience and
the calm peacefulness of the sweet air,
for you alone, as the Scripture says,
are the will of mercy.13
And although our kind found joy in virtue
and otherwise adopted heavenly ways,
still they were earthlings, though chosen
among mankind.
You, on the contrary, are not even capable of evil:
You are good in your very essence
and blessed in all things,
salvation for all, tranquility in all,
calm for all, cure for all disease,
the fount of life-giving water in the words of Jeremiah.14

L Turn toward me and have mercy upon me,
O God, who so thirsts, hungers and longs for
my salvation.
You have gone so far as to designate
a heavenly host of blessed immortals,
to act as priests and intercessors for man’s salvation,
so that on behalf of us earthly beings,
for the reconciliation of the wretched and
abandoned like me,
they might perpetually pray for your great
blessed mercy,
with this light-giving phrase,
“Have mercy upon Jerusalem,”
so that based upon your great revelation
places left empty by the fallen angels,
might be filled by human beings,
who have joined you, in the manner of
the earthly Jerusalem,
about which you sent us good news.15

M Truly, you hear, kind God,
You listen, king.
You lent an ear, life and light.
You paid attention, heavenly one.
You respected us, almighty.
You noted, knower of secrets.
You saw, keeper.
You empathized, Lord beyond telling.
You humbled yourself, exalted one.
You became meek, awesome one.
You were revealed, Lord beyond words.
You were defined, boundless one.
You were measured, unexaminable one.
You focused light, radiant one.
You became human, incorporeal one.
You became tangible, immeasurable one.
You took shape, you who are beyond quality.
You truly fulfilled the yearnings of those
who pray to you.
With the voice of the blissful,16
you were even for me, miserable soul that I am,
a kind intercessor, a living mediator,17
an immortal offering, an endless sacrifice,
a gift of purity, a priceless burnt offering,
an inexhaustible cup.
Merciful Lord, who loves mankind,
may you always show
the favor of your life-giving will and your
long-suffering patience toward me, a sinner.
To you glory forever.

1. This prayer, along with parts of Prayers 34, 35, 75, 97, 92 and 93, is believed by leading commentators to be part of an earlier apologetic work that St. Gregory wrote circa 987, during a period of doctrinal tension between the Armenian and Byzantine and Georgian Churches. See, S. Boghosian, Narekatsu Hetkerov, 31.
2. The next 6 lines from the Jerusalem text, since the critical edition was garbled.
3. Ps 89,27.
4. Is 53,7.
5. Ps 18,11
6. Jn 20,22.
7. Rm 6,3.
8. Sg 2,3.
9. Lc 6,46.
10. Ex 32,19.
11. NM 6,15.
12. 1R 19,8.
13. Mi 7,18.
14. Jr 2,13.
15. Za 1,12.
16. 1Jn 2,1.
17. He 7,25.

Prayer 35

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A And now, Lord of hosts,
awesome majesty, unwavering vision,
all expansive will, undiminishing bounty,
how can our dances and songs of joy
do honor to even one drop of your goodness?
You earnestly strive to prepare for my salvation,1
but let me write what is greater, that it might be
told in the future.
You have not been called “angel lover,”
although the founder of their kingdom.
And of the heavens with their luminaries,
all your handiwork,
never have you been described as loving them.
Rather to your greater honor and praise,
you preferred the love of mankind.
For this reason you doubly magnified your name
beyond telling,
with frightening mystery.
You called the heavenly host dressed in light,
your servants and stewards of special missions,2
and us mortals, born below,
you adorned with your worshipful, lordly and
godly name,3
exceeding again all bounds of measure and weight,
by the flow of your power and exceeding goodness,
you inspired endless praise.
And by becoming man, you, one of “the One who is,”
your gifts of life, diverse talents,
splendid divine work and miracles,
poured down abundantly upon some who
asked for themselves, and others who
asked blessings for others.4
Moved by the faith of his nurses,
you cured the cripple,5
though he was lacking in faith.
How much more able, then, is your mighty word
to cleanse the disease from the bodies of those
who cry out to you in prayer?
For truly, Lord, it is a greater miracle
to keep a washed image pure,
and protected against the attack of unruly diseases,
than to cleanse a corrupt soul,
from the first, with the favor of the grace of
the baptismal font,
you exalt the glory of the Father.

B It is you, Lord, who cleanses us,
as you did first with your chosen, Moses.6
It is you, who looked over the tribe of Jacob
in their sin and lawlessness,
as they became accustomed to the dark pagan ways
of the land of Egypt.
It is you, who, in the words of the Psalmist David,
teaches the sinner to walk in the law of righteousness.7
It is you who replaces the stubborn, hardness of
stony hearts,
with the obedient softness of flesh, receptive to
the Word.8
It is you who can guide hearts to a single way,
respecting you with their full lives.9
It is you who instill respect, fear and faith,
to heed you, according to the voice of the Prophet.10

C Like a key to the doors of my hearing,
may you sprinkle life-giving divine rain
from your blessed lips that created the world.
May you remove the poison of the cunning serpent,
that troublemaker Satan, and heal me.11
And with your almighty hand guide
my tongue and strengthen my voice,
which you have freely given to all,
that it might speak boldly,
and teach fittingly,
neither depriving me of hope or betraying me
into nonsense,
by speaking impudently like our forefather Adam.12
Illumine again the light of my soul’s darkened eye
with the touch of your life-giving right hand,
so the lamp of my boldness may not be extinguished
by the serpent’s breath and be hidden under a bushel.13
Lift away my sins, Lord, and cast them into
the depths of the sea,
seas so small in comparison to your greatness that
in the words of the prophet:
they can swallow up my evil.14
Restore confidence to my wrecked soul,15
so that a monument of disappointment not be erected to my hidden faults.16
Open, almighty and merciful, the handbook of
life-giving cures,
so that the seeds sown and cultivated by
the Destroyer here below
might be cut down and uprooted with the sickle
of your will.

D In the manner of Peter, seeking to follow you,
God of all,17
I was swallowed by the waves of the sea of my sinful life.
Extend your life-giving right hand to help me, for I am foundering.
In the voice the Canaanite women, I pray from
the bottom of my heart,
like a starving dog yelping, wretched and anxious,
begging for scraps,
a few crumbs of the bread of life
from your bountiful table.
Save my physical altar, Son of bitterness,
who came to rescue me when I was lost.
For yours is majesty, victory and power.
And you are atonement and healing, renewal and bliss.
To you all glory and praise forever.

1. Is 5,4.
2. He 1,14.
3. Gn 1,26-28.
4. Mt 8,2-3 Mt 5,13.
5. Mt 9,2, Lc 5,18-20.
6. Lv 10,8, Ex 4,6-7.
7. Ps 25,8 Ps 23,3.
8. Ez 11,19 Ez 36,26.
9. Jr 32,39.
10. Jr 32,40 Ml 2,5.
11. Mc 7,33-35.
12. Gn 3,9-11.
13. Mt 5,15.
14. Mi 7,18-19.
15. Ez 9,4.
16. Ez 16,31.
17. Mt 12,30-31.

Prayer 36

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A No matter how great the mounting debt of my sins,
the saving grace of your trials
is greater by far.
You were nailed to the cross, the instrument of death,
on your all-embracing creative hands, which
hold all souls,1
so my disobedient hand might be stilled.
Out of compassion for my wantonness,
you bound the motion of your two life-giving feet,
so they might be pawned for my miserable feet,
always racing toward brutishness.

B You did not order the hands of those who beat
your head to shrivel.2
You, who could uproot the fig tree without effort.
This example gives me hope of reprieve.
You did not threaten me with the evil whipping
that was your own lot,
though you are proclaimed God.3
You who darkened the sun4
and grant rest with goodness to me a mortal.
You did not dry the evil mouth of those who cursed you,
you who tinted the image of the moon with
the color of blood,
so you might strengthen my meek tongue to praise you.
You did not rebuke the wanton insultors,
you who shook the very firmament,
so you might anoint my miserable head with
the oil of compassion.

You did not rip the jaws of the God-killer who called you a fanatic, charlatan,5
you who rent the hardness of the rocky tomb,6
so you might mercifully grant my soul,
though it is incapable of goodness,
a respite from the burden of emptiness.

You did not run the swords of the guards through
their bowels,7
you who condemned the snake to slither on the ground,8
so you might preserve the bones of my tormented body,
to be worthy of resurrection.

You flatten and thrust into the abyss,
those who sealed the tomb upon the bearer of life,
in order that you might rest the token of your light
in the tomb of my soul.

You did not absolutely and for all generations
strike down
those who rumored your hand perished and
your body stolen like that of a mortal,
so you might permit me, insignificant as I am,
to partake of that goodness which neither perishes nor can be harmed,
together with those chosen for salvation.

You did not turn into stone, as with Moab in
days of old,9
your frenzied persecutors who twice stole silver bribes
from the offerings in your Father’s sanctuary
to betray and degrade you,10
so that you might set me upon the steadfastness
of your rock.11
Although I waver and am sold to the powers of death,
I am redeemed by your blood.
You are blessed twice over and blessed again,
praised in all things, forever and ever.

1. Jb 10,8 Jb 12,10, Sg 3,1.
2. Mc 11,13 Mc 11,20-24.
3. Mt 27,45.
4. Is 14,12.
5. Mt 26,65.
6. Mt 27,51.
7. Mt 26,47.
8. Gn 3,14.
9. Gn 19,26 Gn 19,37.
10. Mt 26,14-15 Mt 28,12-13.
11. Mt 7,25.

Prayer 37

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A Now, of all your gifts and favors I have received
and described,
merciful, beneficent, praised and powerful Lord,
only a few have been set forth here.
But they are all nobles of the kingdom.
They are like freemen with rich estates,
sons of military orders and offspring of the sublime,
great in glory, renewed in light, honored in miracles.
Proclaimed with the unfurling flags of victory, each gift
adorned with a crowning wreath on its heads and
bringing countless other dominions and estates, gifts
praising, endearing, meek, happy, peaceful,
from those regions closest to God.
Of these the prophet prayed,
“Awake, Lord, your heavenly forces and
come to save us.”1
Who is better armed to drive out sin,
fend off hail, melt the ice of despair,
and repel those first rebels from the heavenly ranks,
whose nocturnal ways love the darkness,2
and who from the beginning revolted against God?
It is impossible to recount all the good gifts
you have rained down on me, a weak,
belligerent and ungrateful servant.
But if one were to try to speak
about even the least of this abundance,
one would be at a loss,
recalling the dust we were made of.3
Like a puny weakling, one would be struck dumb
in defeat by the greatness of the maker.

B After writing this much I testify again
to the flawed immaturity of my soul
when compared to your perfection, O creator, and
my waywardness in comparison to your kindness.
However, the strength of your praiseworthy
creative force,
your everlasting light, generous and abundant,
defends me against the ways of the Trickster, who
aims to harden the heart, making it
a rock of despair,
threatening to dry up the two springs4
of the Eden of my sentiments that were
established by the Gardener
to water and make the garden of good works
planted in me flourish.
May we not be snatched again from our
original paradise, through the evil trickery of heretical
illusions that parch our eyes
so that when the miraculously resurrected God stands
as a mediator among the gods,5
bringing his gift of grace,
all the injuries of deceit and short-sighted anxieties,
will be pulverized as if dashed upon a hard rock,
or washed away by the trickling of a stream,
or blown away like the dust.

C And so my reprimand shall come, as Job said,
not from myself,6
but from your all-seeing eye,
of which I am in terror,
wrenched with anxieties, dread and fear.
But refuge for my broken spirit lies in your living,
incorruptible, constant hope,
that looking on me with mercy,
as one condemned to perdition,
when I present myself before your heavenly beneficence,
empty-handed and without gifts,
bringing with me the evidence of your untold glory,
I will remind you
who never slumber in forgetfulness,
who never shut your eyes,
never ignore the sighs of grief,
that with your cross of light
you may lift away from me, I beg you, the peril that chokes me,
with your comforting care, the vacillating sadness,
with your crown of thorns, the germs of my sin,
with the lashes of the whip, the blows of death,
with the memory of the slap in the face,
the neediness of my shame,
with the spitting of your enemies, my
contemptible vileness,
with your sip of vinegar, the bitterness of my soul.

D For yours is all the boundless goodness,
only begotten Son of God,
together with which, I remember my wrongs,
calling your all blessed name aloud
with supplications.
Look upon my embarrassed confessions of defeat
and grant mercifully to this son worthy of execution,
the death of immortality,
so that on my sins, again and again,
growing by leaps and bounds,
the goodness of your mercy might be proclaimed
with resounding solemnity in heaven as on earth.
And to you with the Father and Holy Spirit,
glory forever.

1. Ps 80,3 Ps 80,7.
2. Ap 12,12.
3. Gn 2,7.
4. Ps 69,3 (Arm. 68):3.
5. Ps 82,1 (Arm. 81):1.
6. Jb 21,4.

Prayer 38

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A Now, as I wrote in the beginning of this work,1
about the dark origins of the cardinal sins and
the workings of the bodily organs,2
by which I am dominated, human heir of death,
here, in this prayer, I recount, even if it is
a drop taken from the limitless expanse of the sea,
a few aspects of the spiritual life
that liberate those born in the light
through our Lord Jesus.3

B Some of these are truly splendid, and should be
placed on a high throne,
their stores of grace, filled to the brim with
kindness and wealth,
the king and his loving subjects,
the emperor and his nobles,
the crowned and their princes,
the famous and his good report,
the victor and his trumpets,
the general and his troops,
the hero and his glory,
the groom and his revelers,
the queen and her maids,
the lady in waiting and her retinue,
freedom and its benefits,
the visitation and its outstretched hand,
the promise and its atonement,
the protection and its right hand,
the gifts and their wrapping,
the seal of life and its indelibility,
the soul and its imprint,
the cloud and its shadow,
art and its miracles,
the spirit and its immortality,
the word and its perfection,
the taking of the oath and its fulfillment,
the force and its order,
the baptismal font and its miraculous work,
manna and its incorruptibility,
the living rock and its stream,
the pillar of fire and its rays,
thunder and its echo,
hope and its salvation,
the tree of blessings and its fruit,
the bough and its bounty.
And so that I shall not err by saying this,
I note my omissions,
for as the eyes are blinded when looking at the sun,
I have averted my attention from the greatest and
presented the lesser points that are within
my meager ability.

C I apologize for my always miserable, wretched soul,
because my composition mixes
the voice of good news with mournful protests,
bringing justice and judgment,
decision and penalty,
investigation and spotlights,
scolding and torches,
nakedness and embarrassment,
revelation and shame,
innocence and reward,
error and punishment.

D Again and again, I flinch doubly misfortunate
and wretched,
for unbearable anger is coming with a sickle
to harvest my ripened sheaves of grain,
a judge for the court,
a strongman for the tribunal,
an executioner for execution,
an arm to carry out the judgment,
a rod to reprimand,
armor for revenge,
a shepherd for sorting the flock,
for the words you said to me,
shall judge me, the condemned, on the
last day of judgment.4
Hurry, merciful Lord, with your sweet acceptance,
attend the faint sighs of my cowardly wavering
with the great strength of your blessed hand.
Do not be angry, but with your characteristic good will,
comfort, cure, forgive and save me,
at my last trial.
And to you glory, forever and ever.

1. See Prayer 6.
2. Rm 7,23.
3. Rm 8,2.
4. Jn 12,48.

Prayer 39

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A Since I abandoned my former composure,
led by the destroyer and
totally wasted by my own laziness,
now I address my former self,
recounting with heavy heart and pitiful sobs
the scandal of my ways
before the congregation of the multitude of nations.

B I am a living book,
written like the scroll in the vision of Ezekiel,
inside and out,1
listing lamentations, moaning and woe.
I am a city without walls or towers,2
a house empty without doors for protection,3
salt in looks but lacking taste,4
sea water unfit to quench the thirst,
land, useless for cultivation,
field, barren and covered with briars.
My personal acres, cared for by God,
but already sown with the devices of the Slanderer,
an olive tree that is wood without fruit,
a barren orchard to be cut down,5
a hopeless, twice dead, talking plant,
a burned out candle that cannot be lit.

C Now again, in the same vein, I repeat
similar pathetic images
that await me, miserable soul, as bitter punishment for my shame.
Gnashing of teeth and endless wailing, for the eyes of
my wretched self,
paternal anger that cannot be deflected by filial regret,
unmendable corruption for my sinful body,
new reprimands for me, an inventor of evil for
my diseased soul,
the anxiety of doubt for my escape as a captive,
waiting to be visited by the heavenly host.
Testifying I am a miserable, wounded soul,
who deserves to be burned in the bundles of weeds,6
with a stern voice pronouncing me, incorrigible refuse.

D Truly, these are but the charming melodies of a harlot,
with her harp, strolling about and beating her breast,7
brazenly wailing, miserably and scornfully,
as the prophet Isaiah wrote in his admonition to Tyre.
If she could because of a minor misfortune (the loss of
her clientele),
protest with all manner of fake moaning and groaning,
then in what kind of desperate voice should I cry out?
I who wait the coming of the Lord,
and yet have been caught unprepared and naked.

E Now, if I recount again the fearsome judgment,
my repentance should be multiplied.
And if I present my tribulations realistically
terror should seize me.
And if I describe this vision in detail
my tribulations increase.
For having recognized all this in advance and
not repented, even in retrospect, I am grateful that
you spared me, merciful lover of mankind,
mighty doer of good,
All-giving Christ, King, blessed forever.

1. Ez 2,9-10.
2. Jr 50,15.
3. Jr 51,30.
4. Mc 9,49.
5. Lc 13,10.
6. Mt 13,30.
7. Is 23,15-16.

Prayer 40

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A Almighty God, doer of good, creator of all,
hear the sound of my sighs of distress
and my terror of imagined perils to come.
Save me with your strength, ridding me of my sins.
For you are capable of all things and are
the key to all things1 with your boundless greatness
and infinite wisdom.

B And seeing with my mind’s eye in the distance
the terrible vision of the life to come,
I observe in advance the day of light,
the hope of the saints,2
and the day of darkness, the punishment of the sinful,3
from which none can escape nor find refuge,
neither in the deep abyss nor in the bottomless pits,4
neither on the heights of the mountains,
nor in the caves in the stone,
neither on the hardness of boulders,
nor in the cavity of a hole,
neither in the crevices of a pit, nor the waves of a flood,
neither in the labyrinth of the basement,
nor the loft of the attic,
neither behind the closed doors of my cell,
nor in the darkness of the valley,
neither in the declines of the valleys,
nor on the inclines of the hills,
neither in the blowing of the wind,
nor in the undulation of the seas,
neither in the swirling of a whirlpool,
nor in the distant ends of the earth,
neither in the sounds of lament,
nor in the sighs of weeping,
neither in the trembling of fingers,
nor in the lifting of hands,
neither in the prayers of the lips,
nor in the cries of the tongue.
Out of this terrible inescapable lot
you, Lord Christ, are the exit and respite,
the ease and calm of the salvation for
my ever sinning soul.

C Now, look upon me besieged by overwhelming danger,
you who are alone sweet to all.
Cut me loose with your victorious sword of life, the
cross, and release me from the nets that have snared me,
nets that assail me on all sides as the captive of death.
Please steady my shaky feet on the crooked path and
heal the burning fever of my anguished heart.
Turn away the demonic whisper of temptation to
sin against you.
Drive away the despair of my dark soul that
dwells with evil.
Dispel the thick smoke of sin that has infused and obscured me.
Destroy the vile dark passions of my base needs.
Renew the image of light revered by
the glory of your mighty name, my soul.
Fix your glowing grace upon my face and
the perception of my mind, an earthbound creature.
And cleanse my squalid sinfulness with your purity
so that you might restore and reveal your image in me.
With your divine, living, uncorrupted and
heavenly light that envelopes your three persons.
For you alone are blessed with the Father and Holy Spirit
forever and ever.

1. Gn 18,14, Lc 1,37.
2. Sg 18,1.
3. Sg 17,20.
4. Ap 6,15-17.

Gregory Narek - Prayers - Prayer 34