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Grigor Narekatsi

BOOK OF PRAYER


Tenets of Prayer  Prayer 1  Prayer 2  Prayer 3  Prayer 4  Prayer 5  Prayer 6
Prayer 7  Prayer 8  Prayer 9  Prayer 10  Prayer 11  Prayer 12  Prayer 13  Prayer 14
Prayer 15  Prayer 16  Prayer 17  Prayer 18  Prayer 19  Prayer 20  Prayer 21  Prayer 22
Prayer 23  Prayer 24  Prayer 25  Prayer 26  Prayer 27  Prayer 28  Prayer 29  Prayer 30
Prayer 31  Prayer 32  Prayer 33  Prayer 34  Prayer 35  Prayer 36  Prayer 37  Prayer 38
Prayer 39  Prayer 40  Prayer 41  Prayer 42  Prayer 43  Prayer 44  Prayer 45  Prayer 46
Prayer 47  Prayer 48  Prayer 49  Prayer 50  Prayer 51  Prayer 52  Prayer 53  Prayer 54
Prayer 55  Prayer 56  Prayer 57  Prayer 58  Prayer 59  Prayer 60  Prayer 61  Prayer 62
Prayer 63  Prayer 64  Prayer 65  Prayer 66  Prayer 67  Prayer 68  Prayer 69  Prayer 70
Prayer 71  Prayer 72  Prayer 73  Prayer 74  Prayer 75  Prayer 76  Prayer 77  Prayer 78
Prayer 79  Prayer 80  Prayer 81  Prayer 82  Prayer 83  Prayer 84  Prayer 85  Prayer 86
Prayer 87  Prayer 88  Prayer 89  Prayer 90  Prayer 91  Prayer 92  Prayer 93  Prayer 94
Prayer 95  Colophon


Prayer 66

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A

Now, whoever believes in the healing prayers
in this humble book, praying sincerely
even if he be one of the sinful,
I too join him with my words.
For if he is among the just,
may we find mercy together through these prayers.
And if he finds happiness,
leaving misery to me alone,
I shall nevertheless bear witness for him.
But may he remember Solomon and his inspired words:
“Who can say, I have a pure heart,
or boast of being clean of sin?”1
For no man born on earth is free of sin.2
And not one of us is special because of our swiftness,3
not even if wings carry us to the heights.
Therefore, we should be careful, think twice,
for if we are on a pedestal, as Paul taught,
we may fall to the ground,4
like the just judge who formulated this rule.5

But let the righteous take this warning as a crown,
so as not to fall from the unreachable heights.
And may the condemned see this as hope of salvation.
by which to rise from the perdition of spiritual death,
and live in hope.
As for me may this message be like words
engraved on a monument never to be effaced
a token of my wretched mortal soul
crying out forever, unsilenced,
with the echoes of uninterrupted sighing.

May my bones, undone
in the earthen cloak of the tomb,
confess this with a soundless voice,
and my body turned to dust
deliver these prayers to you
with an indiscernible cry, seer of secrets.

B

Lord of compassion, fount of mercies,
bounty of goodness,
Son of the one on high, Lord Jesus Christ,
have mercy, save us, and love us humans.
Look upon my peril. Gaze upon my broken heart.
Attend to my misery.
See the confusion of my unending anxiety.
Come to my aid in my time of mortal torment.
Touch me, curing my most wretched infirmities.
Lend a kind ear to my pitiful sighs.
Listen to the silent cries from the depths of
the abysmal grave.
May the voice of my failing body in prayer reach your all-hearing ears
and since the pledge for my life’s redemption
is imperishable,
so too let your love be also constant.
Gently help me, enfeebled with infirmity as I am.

C

Do not hold a grudge against me, the image of death.
Do not berate my breathless figure.
Do not strike me while I am suffering the
pangs of death.6
Do not deal harshly with the cracked clay vessel
of my existence.7
Do not double your wrath: I am crushed by
your sentence.
Do not condemn to destruction my already
dilapidated structure.
Do not throw stones at me: I am already like a dead dog.
Do not fulminate at me sternly: I am like a
crushed flea.8
Do not roar at me mightily, as if upon some braggart:
I am lower than dirt.9
Do not summon me for trial by ordeal:
I am but cast away ash.
Do not view me, who am but vanishing dust,
as your opponent.
Do not deem me, who am loathsome sediment,
to be your foe.
Do not ward me off, a contemptible abomination,
as if I am a warrior.
Do not set me aside as material for hell:
I am worthless refuse.
Do not scold me again, who by this multitude of
words already
has been admonished many times over.

D

So these are the fruits of my broken and contrite heart
offered in prayer from my wretched tomb shrouded
in darkness.
Establish your blessed word in me indelibly10
according to the yearnings of my heart.
For although I speak among the living,
I am dead to you, who are beyond reach,
yet on the day I succumb to death’s destruction,
may I be saved through my faith in your
all-powerful orders.

Now, I pray you, Lord Jesus Christ,
look upon me with compassion
and do not let me be the cohort of Satan.
At the time of my pitiful burial, in the lifeless sepulchre,
echoing with death, attend to the voice of my sighing
heart lifted in reconciliation,
Lord, our sole benefactor, who cherishes our spirits,
almighty God, who loves mankind.
May your kind Spirit dwell with me,
shedding light upon me in the darkness.11
May the venerated, life-giving relics of your passion
stay with me,
like a treasure deposited with you,
so they may bestow the gift of renewed life.
With these inexhaustible weapons I am equipped
as stones of a slingshot made of the spirit,
to ward off the legions of evil.
With you on my side Lord,
the battle waged against me shall be checked,
when enemies rise up and attack me,
thinking that the citadel has no troops,
and the alarms make no sounds.
But I have you, Lord, as my eternal keeper
who slumbers not, nor sleeps.12

E

For even now, if the evil one in anticipation of the
Day of Judgment
rushes to prepare a prison without escape for me,13
I will deliver the Lord’s prayer like a deathblow.
If he tries to deter me as I kneel before my creator,14
if he tries to bow my face to the dust,
may my bowing down to God turn him back.15
If he tries to torment me with pain,
may the abundant sweat mixed with the blood of our Savior of the world frustrate him.16
And if he takes my breath hostage
so I cannot travel the path to goodness,
may the bindings of the creator of the universe free me.17
If he forces me to renounce the gifts of the light,
may your patience in the face of mockery by
the enemies of God,
silence them, just as you did.18
If he should barrage me with secret arrows,
may the arrowheads from the Father’s glorious
quiver befall him.19
If the veil of darkness should make my eye shameless,
may the blow to his blindfolded head20
by the creator knock him down.
If he ventures to bind up my firm hands,21
may the reed offered by the right hand of the
creator silence him.
If with jeering mockery he toys with me,
may the Almighty’s fortitude in the face of ridicule
mock him back.22
If he conjures a spell upon me,
may he be foiled by the Almighty’s slap to his face.23
If at twilight he attacks shamelessly under
cover of darkness,
may he be confounded by the radiance of the light of your revelation, Lord.
If in the heat of noonday he thinks he can dry my roots
with scorching blasts of the sun’s furnace,
may he be uprooted and dried by the power of
your sign of light.
If he plots to deprive me of the grace of your breath,
may he be humiliated by the spit, which the Lord of the cherubim endured for me, a sinner.

F

If he dares show his biting teeth,
may the silence of the mouth of our heavenly
Lord shut it.24
If he causes desires to gnaw at my soul,
may the nails that pierced the creator hurt him.
If he tries to lead me astray along the path of
unjust thoughts,
may the nails in the feet of our Lord, beyond
understanding, hold him fast.25
If he tries to make me drink a vile potion,
may the vinegar mixed with bile that was given
our Savior to drink, embitter him.
If he lures me into eating from the first wood, the tree of the forbidden fruit,26
may the terrible spectacle of the second wood seize and completely vanquish him.
If he tries to teach me to rebel against
God’s commandments,
may the nod of the infinite Godhead destroy him.
If he tries to kill me by wounding and persecuting me,
may the lance that pierced the side of the creator of Adam cut him down.27
If he envelops me in the pangs of hellish pain,
may the burial shrouds of the Lord who holds all
creation, wrap him up.
If he tricks me into gazing into the abyss of death,
may the living God who survived the stone
tomb kill him.
If he takes joy in my mortal errors,
may he, with his crooked will, die again,
when the immortal God, resurrected in glory,
renews all mortals.
If he is cheered by the prospect of release
from these small bindings after a thousand years,
may he tremble again for the later chains that will
bind him forever
in the place of unremitting torment without end.28
If the first blow is bad news for him,
wait till he finds out about the inextinguishable
fires of hell that await him and
his angels at the Last Judgment.

G

And for me, who has sought refuge in you, Lord Jesus,
our only king, absolute and mighty,
creator of heaven and earth
and every beauty in it,
I await your coming with anticipation
and hope in the mercy of your cross.
I fall at your feet and kiss the traces of your footsteps.
I confess my sin and publish my wrongdoing.
I beat myself up and entomb my heart in sighs.
I am wounded by pangs of conscience and smolder with fiery breath.
I burn with the salty dew of tears and my insides are on fire with grief.
I am parched by winds of despair and suffocated by the foul fumes.
I am weak with words of grief and shaking with wretched cries.
I suffer with sorrowful afflictions and my soul
shakes in alarm.
I am tossed on the waves of the storm and jolted by the crashing of the waves.
I shudder at the news and am devastated by the memory of terror.
I melt at the sight of the tribunal and am mortified by your threats, great Lord.
Hear me, compassionate Lord, who pardons us,
who loves mankind,
who is patient with us, sweet beyond words,
good day, dawn of our longing,
for you are capable of all things
and when I give up the spirit, you will be my
great salvation.
To you with the Father and the Holy Spirit, glory forever.
Amen.

___________________
1. Pr. 20:9, Job 4:14.
2. 1 Kg. 8:46.
3. Ec. 9:11.
4. Ps. 40 (Arm 39):2, 1 Cor. 10:12.
5. The reference is to Solomon, who though just, sinned greatly.
6. 1 Sam. 31:8-9.
7. Is. 30:14.
8. 1 Sam. 24:14.
9. Sir. 10:9.
10. Jn. 11:25.
11. Ps. 18:28.
12. Ps. 121 (Arm 120):4.
13. Rev. 2:10.
14. Lk. 22:41.
15. Mt. 26:39.
16. Lk. 22:44.
17. Jn. 18:22.
18. Mk. 15:29-32.
19. Is. 49:2.
20. Lk. 22:64.
21. Mk. 15:16-20.
22. Mt. 27:29.
23. Jn. 18:22.
24. Mat. 26:63, 27:12, Lk. 23:9.
25. Jn. 20:27
26. Gen. 3:6.
27. Jn. 19:34.
28. Rev. 20:3-10.

 

Acknowledgements:

Source: St. Gregory of Narek
Provided by: Thomas J. Samuelian

© 2002, Thomas J. Samuelian. Published with the permission of the author.

See also:

Biography of Grigor Narekatsi (in Armenian)
The Christ-Child ( translated by Alice Stone Blackwell )

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