A poem, by me, to mix it up a little bit.
What can I offer You, O Immortal King?
I am nothing, infinitesimal, minute.
I will offer You my being;
Yet I have no being, You alone are true being,
Rather, You transcend even being, O Great I AM.
I am death, sin, darkness, dust blown and scattered
Every which way on the wind
My existence is only substantial non-existence
You alone, there is no other, are vivifying,
Righteous, Light, everywhere present
The Filler of all things. The Creator. The Truth-giver.
The Lover of Mankind.
The nothingness of my soul wonders in awe
At Your loving mercy, Your humility
I would flee from it, running in terror, astounded,
Fearing to receive such incalculable gifts
Truly I cannot bear them.
You restrain me
O my God, My Lord, who am I?
I who thrust the crown of thorns
Onto Your pure head, I who mocked
You by my frivolous life and deeds
I willingly, with my own tainted hands,
Drive the nails into Your blameless
Hands and feet.
I, with eager stroke, thrust the spear
Into Your immaculate side
And only behold love and mercy poured out,
Blood and water.
Where can my mortal nothingness hide from such
O Lord, I am nothing.
I have nowhere to hide
but in You.
2 thoughts on “Immortal Sacrifice”
This is nice, and made me weep. I of course know the sentiment of a frivolous life and deeds seeming to mock God, but is this not all we can offer Him? Why are we drawn to your words for spiritual nourishment? Because they have some fight in them! The Holy Spirit expressed through our lives, with our own personal human failures mixed in, is so beautiful. Keep at the struggle, and write boldly, for us and for God.
I felt as if I was reading from PRAYERS BY THE LAKE by Saint Nikolai Velimirovic-
Doxa to Theo, JohnD
For the uninitiated-
Saint Nikolai Velimirovic was a bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church and a survivor of the Nazi Death Camps. Most of his writings are being translated into English. He reposed in 1956. He is best known for The Prologue from Ochrid, a four-volume work on the lives of the saints.
Some of this saint, “close to us in time”:
Please forgive length…
From the foreword by + Metropolitan IRINEY:
“[…T]he hundred Prayers by the Lake [were] penned in 1922 as Bishop Nikolai gazed over the azure waters from his picturesque monastery on the shore of Lake Ohrid in southern Yugoslavia. These prayers were destined to become one of Bishop Nikolai’s most popular and deeply loved works, and when they first appeared in print they were greeted with exceptional enthusiasm–as is evidenced by the initial review of the book by Fr. Justin Popovich [his spiritual son] at that time (translated and published in this volume[…]). The prayers contained in this volume[…]are more than simple supplications to God by Bishop Nikolai. They are philosophical and theological explorations of the relationships between eternity and time, heaven and earth, life and death, reality and illusion, Creator and creation, God and man.”
Men can do me no evil as long as I bear no wound.
I saw two caves, one of which gave off an echo, while the other was dumb. Many curious children visited the former, incessantly engaged in shouting matches with the cave. But visitors quickly left the other cave, because it gave them no echo in return.
If my soul is wounded, every worldly evil will resound within it. And people will laugh at me, and will bear more and more strongly on me with their shouting.
But evil-speaking people will not really harm me, if my tongue has forgotten how to form evil words.
Nor will external malice sadden me, if there is no malice in my heart to resound like a goatskin drum.
Nor shall I be able to respond to wrath with wrath if the lair of wrath within me has been vacated and there is nothing to be aroused.
Nor will human passions titillate me if the passions within me have been turned to ashes.
Nor will the untruthfulness of friends sadden me if I have chosen Thee for my friend.
Nor can the injustice of the world overwhelm me if injustice has been banished from my thoughts.
Nor will the deceitful spirits of worldly pleasure, honor and power delude me, if my soul is like a spotless bride, who receives only the Holy Spirit and yearns for Him alone.
Men cannot send anyone off to hell unless that person sends himself, nor can men hoist anyone up on their shoulders to the throne of God, unless that person elevates himself.
If my soul has no open windows, no mud can be thrown into it.
Let all nature rise up against me; it can do nothing to me except a single thing — to become as soon as possible the grave of my body.
Every worldly crop is covered with manure, so that it will sprout as soon as possible and grow better. If my soul were, alas, to abandon its virginity and receive the seed of this world into itself, then it would also have to accept the manure that the world casts on its fields.
But I call upon Thee day and night: “Come, dwell in my soul and close all the places where my enemies can enter. Make the cavern of my soul empty and dumb, so that no one from the world will desire to enter it.”
O my soul, my only care, be on guard and learn to distinguish between the voices that smite your ears. Once you hear the voice of your Lord, abandon your dumbness and echo it with all your strength.
O my soul, thou cavern of eternity, never allow temporal thieves to enter into thee and kindle their fire within thee. Be dumb when they shout at you. Stay still when they bang on you, and patiently await your Master — for He will truly come.
* * ** * *
The Father looks down from heaven and sees me all covered with wounds from the injustice of men, and says: “Take no revenge.”
On whom should I take revenge, O Lord? On part of a flock on its way to slaughter?
Does a doctor take revenge on his patients for cursing him on their death beds?
Or whom should I take revenge? On the snow for melting, or on the grass for withering? Does a grave digger take revenge on those going down into the grave?
On whom shall I take revenge? On simpletons, for thinking that they can do evil to someone else in the world besides themselves? Does a teacher take revenge on illiterate children for not knowing how to read?
Eternity is my witness that all who are quick to take revenge are slow to read and comprehend its mysteries.
Time is my witness that all who have taken revenge have accumulated poison in themselves and have, with this poison, blotted themselves out of the Book of Life.
In what can you avengers boast before your adversaries, except my being able to repeat their evil? Are you not thereby saying: “We are no better than you?”
God is my witness that both you and your adversaries are equally reckless and equally incapable of good.
I have seen a cherry tree stripped of its bark and set fire to by children, yet it gave ripe fruit to those same children.
And I have seen cows, which men tormented with heavy burdens, patiently give milk to those same men.
Tears welled up in my eyes, and I asked: Why is nature more compassionate to men than man is to his fellow man?
Nature is my witness, O ye avengers, that only he is more powerful than those who do him evil who is powerless to copy their evil deeds.
There is no end to vengeance, and the descendants continue the work of their fathers and then go hence, leaving it unfinished.
Evil hastens along a wide road, and from each new duel it gains strength and territory, and increases its retinue.
A wise man gets off the road and leaves evil to hurry on.
A barking dog is more quickly silenced by a piece of bread than by many hurled stones.
He who taught men: “An eye for an eye,” also taught them how they would all be left blind.
On whom shall I take revenge, O my heavenly Father? On part of a flock on its way to slaughter?
Ah, how wretched are all evildoers and all who take revenge! Truly, they are like a flock of sheep on the way to slaughter that, unaware of where they are heading, butt horns with each other and wreak a slaughter before the slaughter.
I do not seek vengeance, my Father; I do not seek vengeance, but rather that Thou grant me a sea of tears, so that I can bewail the wretchedness of those who are on their way to slaughter, not knowing where they are going.