The Father looks from Heaven and sees me covered with wounds

 

The Father looks from Heaven and sees me covered with wounds from the injustice of men, and says: "Do not take revenge."1

On whom shall I take revenge, O Lord? On a portion of the flock on its way to slaughter?

Does a physician take revenge on patients, for cursing him from their death bed?

On whom shall I take revenge? On the snow, for melting, or on the grass, for withering? Does a gravedigger take revenge on those descending into the grave?

On whom shall I take revenge? On simpletons, for thinking that they can do evil to someone else in the world besides themselves?  Does a teacher take revenge on illiterate children for not knowing how to read?

Eternity bears me witness, that all those who are quick to avenge are slow to read and comprehend the mysteries of vengeance.

Time bears me witness, that all those who have taken revenge, have accumulated poison in themselves, and with poison they have blotted themselves out of the book of the living.

In what way can you avengers boast before your adversaries, except by being able to repeat their evil? Are you not thereby saying: "We are no better than you?"

God bears me witness: both you and your adversaries are equally reckless and equally incapable of good.

I have seen a cherry tree stripped of its bark and set fire to by children, yet it gave its ripe fruit to those same children.

And I have seen cows, which men tormented with heavy burdens, patiently give milk to those same men.

And tears welled up in my eyes: why is nature more compassionate to men than man is to his fellow man?

Nature bears me witness, avengers: a man is more power­ful than those who do him evil only when he is powerless to repeat their evil deeds.

There is no end to vengeance, and the heirs continue the work of their fathers and then depart, leaving it unfinished.

Evil races along the wide road, and from each new duel it gains strength and territory, and it multiplies its retinue.

A wise man gets off the road, and leaves evil to race [with itself].

A piece of bread silences a barking dog more swiftly than a pile of stones does.

He who taught men: an eye for an eye -- also taught them how they would all be left blind.

On whom shall I take revenge, my heavenly Father? On a portion of the flock on its way to slaughter?

Ah, how wretched are all evildoers and avengers! Truly, they resemble a flock on its way to be slaughtered and, unaware of where they are heading, they butt horns with each other and perpetrate a slaughter before the slaughter.

I do not seek vengeance, my Father; I do not seek vengeance, but seek rather that You grant me a sea of tears, so that I can bewail the wretchedness of those who are on their way to slaughter, unaware of where they are heading.

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1.  Matt. 5:38-42 and Rom. 12:19.

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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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