All the prophets have from the beginning cried out to my soul, imploring her to make herself a virgin and prepare herself to receive the Divine Son into her immaculate womb;
Imploring her to become a ladder, down which God will descend into the world, and up which man will ascend to God;
Imploring her to drain the red sea of sanguinary passions within herself, so that man the slave can cross over to the promised land, the land of freedom.
The wise man of China admonishes my soul to be peaceful and still, and to wait for the Tao to act within her. Glory be the memory of Lao-tse, the teacher and prophet of his people!
The wise man of India teaches my soul not to be afraid of suffering, but through the arduous and relentless drilling in purification and prayer to elevate herself to the One on high, who will come out to greet her and manifest to her His face and His power. Glorious be the memory of Krishna, the teacher and prophet of his people!
The royal son of India teaches my soul to empty herself completely of every seed and crop of the world, to abandon all the serpentine allurements of frail and shadowy matter, and then - in vacuity, tranquillity, purity and bliss - to await nirvana. Blessed be the memory of Buddha, the royal son and inexorable teacher of his people!
The thunderous wise man of Persia tells my soul that there is nothing in the world except light and darkness, and that the soul must break free from the darkness as the day does from the night. For the sons of light are conceived from the light, and the sons of darkness are conceived from the darkness. Glorious be the memory of Zoroaster, the great prophet of his people!
The prophet of Israel cries out to my soul: Behold, the virgin will conceive and bear a son, whose name will be - Theanthropos. Glorious be the memory of Isaiah, the clairvoyant prophet of my soul!
O heavenly Lord, open the hearing of my soul, lest she become deaf to the counsels of Your messenger.
Do not slay the prophets sent to you, my soul, for their graves contian not them, but those who slew them.
Wash and cleanse yourself; become tranquil amid the turbulent sea of the world, and keep within yourself the counsels of the prophets sent to you. Surrender yourself entirely to the One on high and say to the world: "I have nothing for you."
Even the most righteous of the sons of men, who believe in you, are merely feeble shadows which, like the righteous Joseph, walk in your shadow. For mortality begets mortality and not life. Truly I say to you: earthly husbands are mistaken when they say that they give life. [St. Nikolai here is playing on the traditional of the soul as the feminine bride to the divine Bridegroom, and so "earthly husbands" refers to earthly gods, idols, like money or "success" or a career.] They do not give it but ruin it. They push life into the red sea and drown it, and beforehand they wrap it in darkness and make it a diabolical illusion. There is no life, O soul, unless it comes from the Holy Spirit. Nor is there any reality in the world, unless it comes down from heaven.
Do not slay the prophets sent to you, my soul, for killign is only an illusion of shadows. Do not kill, for you can slay no one but yourself.
Be a virgin, O my soul, for virginity of the soul is the only semi-reality in a world of shadows. A semi-reality - until God is born within her. Then the soul becomes a full reality.
Be wise, my virgin, and cordially receive the precious gifts of the wise men of the East, intended for your Son. Do not glance back toward the West, where the sun sets, and do not crave gifts that are figmental and false.
From A Treasure of Serbian Orthodox Spirituality Volume 5: Prayers by the Lake, Prayer 48.