“Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart”,
Written by St. Gregory of Narek, Armenian poet and monk,
Doctor of the Universal Church.
A 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.
F Protect us, Lord Christ, exalted son of great God.
Fortify and surround us with your heavenly host,
defend us from the gusting winds of the Deceiver
with your cross of light.
For although any number of offenses may be found
in me, blasphemy is not among them.
For you were not gratified by
the destruction of the impious likes of me.
Rather with melancholy tenderness,
you are doubly aggrieved by the destruction
of the iniquitous in the flood,
considering their death intolerable and repugnant,
and saying in your heart the amazing words:
“I shall never again curse the earth because of the deeds of man.”1
And you are greatly consoled and rejoice in
the deliverance of unclean men worthy of destruction,
as in the parable of the plant that shaded Jonah,2
where you spared those deserving of destruction, O merciful Lord.
And in another instance how greatly were you annoyed3
by the delay of the rain which would salvage those who denied you.
And in your last days you did great deeds
beyond telling, worthy of celebration,
commanding your disciples to spread your sweet
gospel of peace to the Gentiles
and all peoples far and wide.4
Sprinkle upon me the dew of your compassionate
fatherly love, living God, so I too may find salvation
through the pardoning of my sins by your abundant mercy.
And to you, with the Father through the Holy Spirit,
1. Gn 8,21.
2. Jon 4,6-8 (the castor oil plant, in Armenian – a pumpkin vine).
3. 1R 17,1 1R 18,1 (delay of the rain on account of Elijah).
4. Mt 28,19-20.