Conceal my soul from evil eyes, O God

Conceal my soul from evil eyes, O God, when she gives birth to Your wisdom. Isolate me from people, in a shepherd's cave. Let no one among mortals accompany me except the shadow of one righteous man. In the grotto of Bethlehem, in the cave of stone that has never blasphemed Your name, let my pregnant soul seclude herself here.

Let the innocent lambs and calves keep her company, for from birth they are intended to be food for those who are less pure than they themselves are.

Let the heavenly fires burn silently, and let them fearfully gaze upon a humble corner of the universe, upon the black earth, and upon the most precious part of that corner, upon the grotto that is giving birth to God.

Let earthly kings go far away, and let philosophizing town squabblers not draw near.

The humble herders of lambs and calves will stand around my cave, and will watch as Heaven opens; and they will sing with heavenly angels, when my soul gives birth to my Saviour. Let all others move further away who live by means of fleeting saviors and salvations.

With your light, O Lord, guide the wise men of the East, and the prophets, and the saints to the grotto of my soul, so that they may bring to her the three most precious gifts of mankind from the East.

The first gift is a clairvoyant knowledge of You, which surpasses all other types of knowledge. Let the bearer of this gift cense his precious goods with the prayers of all the prophets of the East and of all the altars of the eastern prophets.

The second gift is the clairvoyant expectation of Your birth in the purity of virginity: let the bearer of this gift keep fasting for the entire journey, lest his eye be confounded by the fat of the earth, and so that he may not lose sight of the guiding star.

The third gift is a clairvoyant love for You. Let the bearer of this gift keep vigil over his gift over the course of his journey, lest his heart stumble over some earthly allurement and be tardy for the adoration of the newborn Infant.

Truly all my mind, and all the consciousness of my mind will accompany one of the three. All my heart, and all the desires of my heart, will accompany another. And my soul, filled with grace and love, will await the third.

Nevertheless the priestly wayfarers will make their journey carefully, making stops along their route to ask the way, which will endanger my soul and the first-born of my soul. As naive as doves, they will ask the way!

But You are infinitely compassionate and infinitely wise. For over fifty centuries You have been amassing precious gifts in the East. And You have not permitted the bearers of these gifts to fall into the hands of thieves.

From before eternity You have been preparing the birth of the Son in the virgin soul. You will not permit Him to be slain by Herod, someone whom the earth bore and crowned in the Egyptianized city of Jerusalem.1

Conceal my soul, O God, from the many evil eyes.

1. Matt. 2:13-18.


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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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