As I rise from sleep I thank Thee, O Holy Trinity, for through Thy great goodness and patience Thou wast not angered with me, an idler and sinner, nor hast Thou destroyed me in my sins, but hast shown Thy usual love for men, and when I was prostrate in despair, Thou hast raised me to keep the morning watch and glorify Thy power. And now enlighten my mind's eye and open my mouth to study Thy words and understand Thy commandments and do Thy will and sing to Thee in heartfelt adoration and praise Thy Most Holy Name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
(Prayer of St. Basil the Great to the Most Holy Trinity)
The radiance of the Father’s splendor, the Father’s visible image, Jesus Christ our God, peerless among counselors, Prince of Peace, Father of the world to come, the model after which Adam was formed, for our sakes became like a slave: in the womb of Mary the virgin, without assistance from any man, he took flesh.…
Enable us, Lord, to reach the end of this luminous feast in peace, forsaking all idle words, acting virtuously, shunning our passions, and raising ourselves above the things of this world.
Bless your church, which you brought into being long ago and attached to yourself through your own life-giving blood. Help all orthodox pastors, heads of churches, and doctors [theologians].
Bless your servants, whose trust is all in you; bless all Christian souls, the sick, those tormented by evil spirits, and those who have asked us to pray for them.
Show yourself as merciful as you are rich in grace; save and preserve us; enable us to obtain those good things to come which will never know an end.
May we celebrate your glorious birth, and the Father who sent you to redeem us, and your Spirit, the Giver of life, now and forever, age after age. Amen.
(A Syriac Christmas liturgy - late third or early fourth century)
Lord, because you have made me, I owe you the whole of my love; because you have redeemed me, I owe you the whole of myself; because you have promised so much, I owe you my whole being. Moreover, I owe you as much more love than myself as you are greater than I, for whom you gave yourself and to whom you promised yourself. I pray you, Lord, make me taste by love what I taste by knowledge; let me know by love what I know by understanding. I owe you more than my whole self, but I have no more, and by myself I cannot render the whole of it to you. Draw me to you, Lord, in the fullness of your love. I am wholly yours by creation; make me all yours, too, in love.
Our God, God of all men
God of heaven and earth, seas and rivers,
God of sun and moon, of all the stars,
God of high mountain and lowly valley,
God over heaven, and in heaven, and under heaven.
He has a dwelling in heaven and earth and sea
and in all things that are in them.
He inspires all things, he quickens all things.
He is over all things, he supports all things.
He makes the light of the sun to shine,
He surrounds the moon and the stars,
He has made wells in the arid earth,
Placed dry islands in the sea.
He has a Son co-eternal with himself...
And the Holy Spirit breathes in them;
Not separate are the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
O Lord, who hast mercy upon all, take away from me my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit.
Take away from me the heart of stone,
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore thee,
a heart to delight in thee,
to follow and to enjoy thee,
for Christ's sake.
(Ambrose of Milan, c 339-97)
We ask you, Master, be our helper and defender. Rescue those of our number in distress; raise up the fallen; assist the needy; heal the sick; turn back those of your people who stray; feed the hungry; release our captives; revive the weak; encourage those who lose heart. Let all the nations realize that you are the only God, that Jesus Christ is your Child, and that we are your people and the sheep of your pasture.
Clement (c. 96)
Jesus, my feet are dirty. Come even as a slave to me, pour water into your bowl, come and wash my feet. In asking such a thing I know I am overbold, but I dread what was threatened when you said to me, “If I do not wash your feet I have no fellowship with you.” Wash my feet then, because I long for your companionship.
LORD, HIGH AND HOLY, MEEK AND LOWLY,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty
thy glory in my valley.
Arthur G. Bennett (20th century)
Frightened by my sins and weighed down by the burden of my misery, I had thrown away my heart and determined to flee to the wilderness. But You forbade me to leave and strengthened me, saying, “Christ died for all, that they which live may no longer live unto themselves, but unto Him that died for them.”
See, Lord, I cast my care upon You, that I may live, and consider wondrous things in Your law. You know my ignorance and my sickness; teach me, and heal me. He Your only Son, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, hath redeemed me with His blood. Let not the proud speak evil of me. I meditate on my ransom, and eat and drink, and communicate it. I would be one of the poor who are satisfied by Him.
But the true Mediator appeared between mortal sinners and the immortal, Just One. He is come in a secret mercy that you have showed to the humble. He was sent that by His example we might learn that same humility. There is one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus. He is mortal with men. He is just with God.
How have you loved us, good Father?
You spared not Your only Son.
You delivered Him up for us ungodly!
How have You loved us in Him?
His equality with You robbed You of no glory.
Victor and Victim, and so Victor because Victim.
Priest and Sacrifice, and so Priest because Sacrifice.
Making of servants, sons, by being born of You and serving us.
I have considered the sicknesses of my sins.
For that threefold lust I have called on You.
Stretch out Your right hand to help.
With wounded heart have I beheld Your brightness.
Stricken back by its light, I said, “Who can attain glory? I am cast away from Your eyes.”
You are the Truth who preside over all. But despite my covetousness, I would not willingly let go of You. But I would try to hold to You with the lie that I am well. Since no man can have Your presence in this way by falsehood, and I am not so ignorant of the truth, so I lost You. You will not allow Yourself to be possessed through a lie.
Too late I loved You.
O you Beauty of ancient days, yet ever new!
Too late I loved You.
Look, You were within, and I was out wandering, searching.
I was a monster, plunging through Your fair artistry.
You were with me, but I was not with You.
A world of things hindered me from finding You.
Yet such things have no existence unless they are in You.
You called, shouted, and burst my deafness.
You flashed, shone, and scattered my blindness.
You breathed out wondrous odors.
Finally I drew in my breath and craved Your aroma.
I tasted until I knew hunger and thirst.
You touched me, and I burned for Your peace.
There is a joy that brings true happiness, but it is not given to the ungodly. It is only for those who love You for Your own sake.
That joy is to know You as You are. This is the happy life, to rejoice in You, of You, and for You. This is the happy life, and there is no other. They who think there is another, pursue some other. They are not on the track of true joy. Yet they still have that image of it inside that makes them run after what looks like some semblance of the real joy.
It is by no means certain that all wish the happiness that is true joy, for that means finding joy in You, the only hope of a happy life.