A Prayer for the Grace of Devotion
T H E D I SC I P L E. O Lord my God, You are my all and every good. And what am I, that I should presume to address You? (1) I am the poorest of Your servants and a wretched worm, far more poor and worthless than I can ever realize or express. Yet, Lord, remember that I am nothing: I have nothing, and can do nothing.(2) You alone are good, just and holy; You can do all things, fill all things,(3) bestow all things, leaving only the wicked empty-handed. Remember Your mercies,(4) Lord, and fill my heart with Your grace, since it is Your will that none of Your works should be worthless. How can I endure this life of sorrows, unless You strengthen me with Your mercy and grace? Do not turn Your face from me, (5) do not delay Your coming, nor withdraw Your consolation from me, lest my soul become likea waterless desert.(6)Teach me, O Lord, to do Your will:(7)teach me to live worthily and humbly in Your sight; for You are my Wisdom, who know me truly, and who knew me before the world was made, and before I had my being.
CHRIST. My son, walk before Me in truth, and constantly seek Me in simplicity of heart. (8) He who walks before Me in truth shall be protected against the assaults of evil; truth shall deliver him from his deceivers and from the slanders of the wicked. If truth set you free,(9)you are truly free, and need care nothing for the vain words of men.
THE DISCIPLE. Lord, this is true; let it be as you have said. Let Your truth be my teacher and my guard, and lead me to salvation in the end. Let it free me from every evil affection and lawless love, and I will walk before You in complete freedom of heart.
CHRIST. I will teach you, says the Truth, what is pleasing to Me.(10) Remember your sins with deep sorrow and displeasure, and never think yourself to be anything because of your good deeds. Remember that you are a sinner, entangled and enchained by many passions. Of yourself, you always tend to nothing; you quickly fail, and are overcome; you are soon disturbed and overthrown. You have nothing of which to boast, but many things of which to be ashamed, for you are much weaker than you realize.
Let nothing that you have achieved see of great importance. Let nothing seem great, precious or admirable to you; nothing worthy of regard, nothing high, praise worthy or desirable, save that which is everlasting. Let the eternal Truth be your sole and supreme joy, and let your own deep unworthiness always distress you. Nothing should be more feared, condemned, and shunned than your own sins and vices; these should cause you more distress than the loss of everything. Some do not live sincerely in My sight,(Job 3:5) but, moved by curiosity and conceit, wish to know My secrets and to fathom the high mysteries of God, while neglecting the salvation of their own souls. When I refuse them, such men often fall into great temptations and sins through pride and curiosity.
Stand in awe of God's judgement,(Ps. 119:120) and fear the anger of Almighty God.(2 Macc. 7:38) Do not presume to investigate the ways of the Most High, but rather examine yourself, see how greatly you have sinned, and how much good you have left undone. Some carry their devotion only in books, pictures, and other visible signs and representations. Some have Me on their lips, but seldom in their hearts.(Isa. 29:13) There are others who are enlightened in mind and pure in affection, who long always for the things of heaven. These listen with reluctance to worldly matters, and grudge even to serve their bodily needs.
They fully understand what the Spirit of Truth speaks within them.(Matt. 10:20; John 16:13) For He teaches them to despise earthly things and to love heavenly; to forsake this world, and to long for Heaven.
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