Lenten Thoughts – 5 April – Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent, Year C
And now, my heavy laden soul,
what will you do?
You call with your lips and voice to
God most high,
God, who cares only for deeds and
is not taken in by words.
You, my soul, with a heart always turned toward Egypt,
how can I describe you?
a Sodom, to be punished likewise with destruction,
or the prosecutor of Ninevah, who was struck dumb?
more cowardly and barbarous than the
queen of the south,
lower than Canaan,
more stubborn than Amalek,
incurable as the city of idols,
a relic left behind from the rebellion of Israel,
a reminder of the broken covenant of Judah,
more reproachable than Tyre,
more shunned than Zidon,
more immoral than Galilee,
more unpardonable than faithless Capernaum,
maligned like Korazin,
slandered like Bethsaida?
Or am I
immodest as Ephraim as he prayed,
or a dove, whose gentleness seems due to
feeblemindedness and not to inner calm,
or an evil serpent born of lion’s cubs,
or the serpent’s egg filled with decay,
or like the last blow against Jerusalem?
Or am I
in the words of our Lord
and the sayings of the prophets,
an abandoned tabernacle about to collapse,
the unlatched doors of the stronghold,
my speaking edifice stained again,
having given up my rightful inheritance,
my home built by God,
as Moses, David and Jeremiah prophesied?
My thinking body now consumed by disease,
afflicted with carping counsel, rehabilitated by the law,
anointed with the clay of mildness,
incapable of finding my own salvation,
torn away from the maker’s hand,
expelled as just punishment
by order of the Almighty, to an unholy place,
rejected, exiled, greatly shunned, nothing spared,
having buried my gift in the ground,
like the one chastised in the Gospel by
losing his inheritance.
But You, God,
Lord of souls and all flesh,
in the words of one divinely graced,
You are long-suffering and abounding in mercy.
In the voice of blessed Jonah,
grant that I finish to Your delight
this book of prayers, now begun.
And having sown these words with tears
and set forth on this journey toward the dwellings You have prepared,
may I return joyfully in the time of harvest
with the bounty of atonement,
with sheaves of goodness and the fruits of delight.
St Gregory of Narek (950-1003) – Fathe & Doctor of the Church
“If you elevate yourself,
God distances Himself from you.
If you humble yourself,
He leans towards you.”