Thursday, May 9, 2013

On Prayer

By Saint Jacob of Serugh


Prayer reveals the profundities of the Divine,
by it one enters to behold the mystery of hidden things.
It is the key able to open all doors.
From it one can clearly espy what is hidden,
by it the soul can approach to speak with God,
it raises up the mind so that it reaches the Majesty.
It is easy for prayer to learn the mysteries of the Divinity,
for it can go in and out unhindered by angelic powers:
no angel is as swift-winged as prayer,
nor do the seraphim fly up with it as it ascends;
it wishers its words in the ears of the Lord, without any intermediary,
it murmurs in the heart, and God hears it in his exalted place.
Where it ascends not even the Watchers have ever reached,
for it is capable of approaching the very Divinity.
The seraph hides its face from the divine Being with its wings,
but prayer stands there unveiled before the Majesty:
nothing at all stands in the way between it and the Lord,
for it converses with him and he hears it gladly.
The Watchers tremble and the heavenly hosts in their modesty are held back,
whereas prayer goes in and relates its affairs before God.
The cherubim are harnessed and cannot see him whom they bear,
but prayer goes up and speaks with him lovingly.
In its love prayer advances to be raised up above the heavenly orders.
The cherub is afraid to raise its eyes to the Majesty,
being harnessed in its modesty with the pure yoke of flame;
the ranks of fire to not approach the Hidden One,
whereas prayer has authority to speak with him.
Prayer enters closer in than they and speaks unashamed;
above the myriads of heavenly hosts does it pass in flight, unhindered by their ranks.
As though to a close relation prayer reveals its secret to the Lord of the Watchers,
asking of him what is appropriate in all sorts of activities.
Prayer does not bend down to the angels to speak with them,
for it asks God himself, and he bids the angels attend to its affairs.

Resource: The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life, pp 171-173

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