Amidst the racket and ridicule of people my prayer rises toward You





Amidst the racket and ridicule of people my prayer rises toward You, O my King and my Kingdom. Prayer is incense, that ceaselessly censes my soul and raises it toward You, and draws You toward her.

Stoop down, my King, so that I may whisper to You my most precious secret, my most secret prayer, my most prayer­ful desire. You are the object of all my prayers, all my search­ing. I seek nothing except You, truly, only You.

What could I seek from You, that would not separate me from You? Should I seek to be Lord over a few stars, instead of reigning as Lord with You over all the stars?

Should I seek to be first among men? How shameful it would be fore me, when You would seat me at the last place at Your table!

Should I seek for millions of human mouths to praise me? How horrible it would be for me, when all those mouths are filled with earth.

Should I seek to be surrounded by the most precious ob­jects from the entire world? How humiliating it would be for me for those objects to outlast me and be glistening even as earthen darkness fills my eyes!

Should I seek for You not to separate me from my friends? Ah separate me, O Lord, separate me from my friends as soon as possible, because they are the thickest wall between You and me.

"Why should we pray," say my neighbors, "when God does not hear our prayers?" But I say to them: "Your prayer is not prayer, but peddling merchandise. You do not pray to God to give you God but Satan. Therefore, the Wisdom of heaven does not accept the prayers from your tongue."

"Why should we pray," grumble my neighbors, "when God knows what we need beforehand?" But I sadly answer them: "That is true, God knows--that you need nothing except Him alone. At the door of your soul He is waiting to come in.4 Through prayer the doors are opened for the entrance of the majestic King. Does not one of you say to the other at your door: 'Please enter'?

"God does not seek glory for Himself but for you. All the worlds in the universe can add nothing to His glory, much less can you. Your prayer is a glorification of you, not of God. Fullness and mercy are to be found in Him. All the good words that you direct to Him in prayer, return to you twofold."

O my illustrious King and my God, to You alone I bow down and pray. Flood into me, as a raging stream into thirsty sand. Just flood me with Yourself, life-giving Water; then grass will easily grow in the sand and white lambs will graze in the grass.

Just flood into my parched soul, my Life and my Salvation.
________________

Luke 14:7-10, John 12:43, Matt. 6:19-21, Rev. 3:20.

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"As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honoring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshiping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honoring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration. This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world."
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