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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Teilhardian Rhapsody from St. Nikolai Velimirovich

I feel mute and inarticulate, my Luxurious Lord, when I want to express Your stability and all Your fullness.  Therefore, I beseech the entire universe to kneel down with me and speak in my stead, since I am incapable and inarticulate.

I build stone altars for You, O stone Foundation of my hope.  And the arrogant sons of the world, who pretend to be nearer neighbors to You than Your saints, ridicule me:  "Look at the pagan, who would rather worship stone than the Lord!"

Truly, I am not worshiping stone, but rather I, together with stone, am worshiping the Living Lord.  For stone is also distant from the Lord and is in need of salvation.  Sin has made me more impure than stone before the face of Heaven.  May the stone be saved together with me, and may it, as a symbol of stability help my feeble words to express the stability of God's justice.  Therefore, I embrace stone as a companion in the Fall and as a companion in prayer and salvation.

I light oil and wax on the stone altar, O Inextinguishable Light.  And the arrogant puff themselves up and exclaim, "Look at the superstitious man, who does not know that God is spirit!"

Your servant, O Lord, knows that You are spirit, but he also knows of Your mercy towards all flesh.  And so when I see the radiant oil and fragrant wax, I say to myself:  "How are you better than oil or wax?  Oil and wax at midnight, like the sun at noon, represent the glory of the Lord more clearly than your tongue.  Let them be your help in prayer.  Let them be your companions in prayer and salvation."

I adorn Your altar with wooden icons, golden crosses, silver seraphim, silk brocades, and books of salvation bound in leather.  And I prostrate myself before Your embellished altars.  But the arrogant laught at me and say:  "Look at the idol-worshiper, who does not worship the Lord but mute objects!"

Nevertheless, You know, my only Idol, that I am worshiping You alone.  But so that arrogance may not engulf my heart and delay my salvation, I call upon tree and plant, resins and animals, to cry out together with me to You, each in its own language.  Indeed, all creatures and all creation are in need of salvation, therefore, all also need to join in prayer with man, who led creation into sin and leads it to salvation.

I consecrate bread and wine on Your altar, and I nourish my soul with them.  Let the arrogant ridicule me to the end of time, and I shall not be ashamed of my desire to have You for my food and drink, O my Life-giving Nourishment.

I worship before an altar of stone, so that I may learn to consider the entire universe the altar of the Most High.

I nourish myself with consecrated bread and wine at Your altar, so that I may learn to consider everything I eat to be Your holy body, and everything I drink to be Your holy blood.

I pray with all creation and for all creation, so that I may learn humility before You, and so that I may express all the mystery of my love for You, O all-embracing Love.

Source:  A Treasure of Serbian Orthodox Spirituality, Volume 5:  Prayers By the Lake, Prayer 28

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