Prayers by the Lake: No. XL

With prayer I cleanse the vision of my faith, lest it lose sight of you in the mist, O my Most Radiant Star.

“What use will your prayer be to God?” ask the swarthy workers of the earth.

You speak rightly, sons of earth. What use is the mariner’s telescope to the North Star, when it sees the mariner even without a telescope? But do not ask me, since you already know, what use a telescope is to a mariner.

Prayer is necessary for me, lest I lose sight of the salvation-bearing Star, but the Star does not need it to keep from losing me.

What would become of my inner vision, if I were to stop training it with prayer?

Are the soldiers of the earth not trained, extensively and strenuously, to see targets in the distance?

Are weavers of silk not trained, extensively and strenuously, to recognize the finest fibers?

How could I not train the vision of my faith to see my sole treasure as clearly as possible?

Trapped in a web of illusions, I have barely caught sight of a way out, so do you really expect me to lose sight of it?

Get it into your heads, my fellow wayfarers, that seeing God is not a cheap affair. You who sacrifice fortunes to see the luxuriance of the tropics or the polar lights of the arctic, must pay more dearly to see the One for whom the luxuriance of the tropics is poverty and the polar lights are a tallow candle.

When you give even your entire life in order to see Him, you have barely paid a penny. Nevertheless He is mag­nanimous and good-hearted, and expects nothing more from you than this.

You who train your bodies, who every morning do not forget to exercise your arms and legs, your head and neck, are you in truth contemplative beings–you who are like samurai warriors? Are you in truth contemplative beings, if you maintain that your faith in God will become and remain clairvoyant without training? All the stars of Heaven, which have seen the experience of your fathers, bear witness to me that your faith will go blind, if indeed it had ever even begun to see at all. And in place of the lost blessing there will remain a hypocritical vision in name only.

Keep your eyes blindfolded for just three days, and afterward you will find that the light of the sun hurts them. Sever your bond with God for just three hours and you will find it painful to look at His light again.

You ask me: how long does my prayer last? Can you understand me when I tell you that it lasts longer than my days? For by my prayer I must train your faith also, and open its eyes, and show it how to see and whom it is seeing. Truly, I continuously fill both my days and yours with prayer.

I ceaselessly cense my faith with prayer, lest the scents of the world blind it.

I ceaselessly call upon all the celestial spheres to sustain me in my prayer for everlasting prayerfulness, so that I too may be deemed worthy to gaze upon that Glory and Beauty, which is wide open to their gaze.

Oh my fellow wayfarers, how majestic is the vision of faith! I swear to you, if you only knew how majestic it is, your prayer would never pause or end.

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One thought on “Prayers by the Lake: No. XL

  1. I need to read that book, I’ve enjoyed St. Nikolai’s other writings.

    Thank you, dear friend, for this post.

    You have my hugs and prayers always, you know?

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