Friday, September 26, 2008

Pt. 7 HYMNS OF DIVINE LOVE by St. Symeon the New Theologian

"'But I speak of My friends and those I know
who are My sons.
It is of their actions. What are they?
Write briefly:
To consider themselves poorer than all men in the world...
to consider as a loss of eternal life
a small infraction of one of the least commandments.
To treat little children as adults
and to show reverence to them
as though they were among the very famous.
To show also honor to the blind
by thinking that I from on high see the actions of all men
and to do likewise on My behalf...
Do not harbor anything at all in your heart against anyone,
even if it be a simple emotion or the least suspicion.
Pray with all your soul in time of suffering in your heart,
with compassion for all who sin against you,
equally as for those who boldly would do the same against Me.
With tears implore their conversion,
at the same time bless them who curse you
and praise those who with jealousy constantly criticize you.
Consider your benefactors those who wish ill of you...'


Behold, my strength has left me.
I am nearing, O Savior, old age, nearing the portal of Death....
Do not give room against me to my cunning enemy,
who at each moment covers me with threats,
roaring against me, grinding his teeth
and who says to me:
'Where is the source of your confidence?
How do you hope to escape my hands
under the pretext that you leave me to run to Christ
and that you just now despise my commands?
But you will not at all escape, for where then would you run to?
Never will you be able completely to escape me,
for I have chased Adam and Eve from Paradise
and I made Cain an assasin of his brother.
It was I who, ever since the Deluge, have made
all men fall miserably into error and terrible death
who were completely seduced by my tricks.
It was I who led David astray into adultery and murder,
I who have waged a war against all the Saints
and I have caused many of them to die--
then you--how will you escape from me!
How can you have courage and hope, completely weak as you are?'
Hearing these words, O my Master and God and Creator,
my Maker and Judge, You having power over my soul and body
since You fashioned both of them,
I am afraid and completely tremble,
I shake all over, O unfortunate one.
The deceitful one suggest to me, saying, O my Christ, these words:
'Look, you do not keep the vigils,
you do not fast, look, you are not a man of prayer.
You do not do the prostrations.
You do not perform the labors as formerly you did,
and it is for these reasons alone that I will separate you from Christ
and I will send you into the inextinguishable fire!'
You know, O Master, I never trusted in my works or deeds for my salvation.
But it was only in Your mercy, O Lover of mankind, that I sought refuge,
having confidence that You will save me gratuitously, O all-Merciful One.
And You will have mercy on me who are God
as once You did show mercy on the adulterous woman
and as you showed mercy to the prodigal son
who confessed, 'I have sinned.'
In such faith, I have recourse, in such confidence,
I have come, in this hope, O Master, I approach you...
...Do not, O King, O Lord, allow him
You who once rescued me from the darkness, from the hands and the jaws
of that evil one, when You placed me free in Your light.
For seeing You, I am wounded deeply within my heart,
I am unable to look on You,
but I am incapable of not looking on You.
Your beauty is inaccessible; Your splendor not inimitable,
Your glory incomparable,
and whosoever has ever seen You
or whoever could see You completely, You, My God?
Whose eye indeed has the power to contemplate the All?
But He who is above the All, what mind could grasp Him,
be able to comprehend or render himself totally equal to His totality
and contemplate Him who holds together all things,
who is outside everything and fills the All and everything
and is found in an ineffable way always completely outside?
I see You especially as a sun;
I look on You as a star,
and I carry You within my breast like a pearl.
I see You also as a lamp, lighted, inside a lantern.
But because You do not grow, because You do not make me completely light
and You do not completely show Yourself,
such as You are and great as You are,
I do no seem to possess You completely, You, my life,
but I groan as one fallen from riches into poverty
and from glory into ignominity, stripped of any hope.
Thus seeing this, the enemy says to me:
'You are not saved, for behold, you are in check,
and have lost all hope because you no longer have as before
any confidence with God.'
To him I do not reply anything;
I do not honor him with an answer, O my God,
but I breathe over him and at once he disappears.
Thus I beg of You, O Master, thus I call upon You.
Give me Your mercy so that, my Savior, then, when my soul will depart from this body,
I may have the strength with a single breath to cover with confusion
all those wishing to attack me."

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