“Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart”,
Written by St. Gregory of Narek, Armenian poet and monk,
Doctor of the Universal Church.

Gregorio di Narek1A thousand years ago St. Gregory of Narek (951-1005) set out, with much trepidation, on a sublime mission to translate the pure sighs of the “broken and contrite” heart into an offering of words pleasing to God. Beginning each prayer with the incantation “speaking with God from the depths of the heart,” he referred to himself as “a living book (Prayer 39b)” and to his book as a compendium of prayers for all times and nations – “a testament. its letters like my body, its message like my soul (Prayer 54e).” Thus, the man equated himself with the book, and ever since, the book has been equate with this saintly man. So the book like the man came to be known affectionately as Narek.

like a captain mourning his ship.png

Prayer 25

B The ways of my life are like the waves of the sea,
my soul tossing in this world upon countless,
endless swells,
riding in the shell of my body
like the ship lost at sea…

C This image of destruction reminds me of my misery,
like a captain mourning his ship,
chin in hand,1 tears streaming down,
viewing traces of the wreckage
bobbing on the crest of the waves.
My slain sanity sobs with pitiful grief. (…)

D I wonder:
Will I ever see the battered ark of my body restored?
Will I ever see my shipwrecked soul healthy again? (…)

E For as Job said, the snares of evil are all around,
from these I cannot escape.2
But by your good will
if the light of compassion should shine,
if the door of your mercy should open,
if the rays of your glory should spread,
if the care of your hand should be revealed,
if the dawning sun of life should break forth,
if the sight of your beautiful morn should be unveiled,
if the bounty of your sweetness should flow forth,
if the stream from the maker’s side should run,
if the drops of your pure love should shower down,
if the good news of the dawn of your grace should resound,
if the tree of your gift should blossom,
if the parts of your blessed body are distributed,
if the dashed expectations should be reassembled,
if the silenced sound of your beckoning voice, Lord, should again be heard,
if your banished peace should return,
then with this blessing
shall the faith of steady hope be forever mine
finding refuge in the Holy Spirit,
who with the Father is worshiped with
the voice of sweetness
and together with you bathed in light too bright for human eyes.3
Grant life, forgiveness and heavenly bliss to me, a sinner,
holding your incorruptible grace, the true token of faith,
as an indestructible legacy. (…)

Indeed through you, O merciful Lord,
all things, in all ways, for all people, are possible.
To you glory here, now and forever and in the eternity to
come on the great day of revelation.

1. Jb 21,5
2. Jb 18,8 Jb 19,8 Jb 36,8
3. 1Tm 6,16.