Tuesday, August 14, 2007
A Sheep-ly Prayer from Iraq
"What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost."
Here's a sheep-ly prayer from an Eastern Christian, Saint Isaac the Syrian (7th century), monk in Nineveh, near Mosul in present-day Iraq
Ascetical Discourses, 1st series, n°2 "The stray sheep"
"Lord Jesus Christ our God,
I do not have a heart which sets off resolutely in search of you,
nor is filled with repentance or tenderness,
nothing which brings children back to their inheritance.
Master, I have no tears with which to pray to you.
My spirit is darkened by the things of this life
and has no strength to aim towards you in its pain.
My heart is cold in its trials,
and tears of love for you cannot warm it.
But you, Lord Jesus Christ my God,
treasure of all that is good,
give me perfect contrition and a longing heart,
so that with all my soul I can set out in search of you,
for without you I shall be deprived of all good;
oh good God, give me your grace.
May the Father who, outside time, in eternity,
begot you in his inner being renew in me the form of your image.
I abandoned you; do not abandon me.
I went out of you; come out in search of me.
Lead me to your pasture; count me among the flock of your elect.
With your sheep feed me on the green grass
of your divine mysteries,
where the pure in heart dwell,
that heart which bears in itself the splendor of your revelations,
the consolation and the sweetness
of those who have borne injury and insults for you.
May we be worthy of such magnificence,
through your grace and your love of mankind,
you our Savior Jesus Christ, for ever and ever. Amen.