Saturday, June 18, 2016

Help me to be born anew
O Consubstantial Trinity.

Saint Nikolai Velimirovitch.

   Help me to be born anew, O Consubstantial Trinity.
   In vain do I try to clarify myself in the muddy river bed, wherein my life flows. I make a vow to You: I shall flow over dry stone, and shall no longer muddy myself. You will see Your face reflected in me, and will recognize it. Your angels will descend into me, and will not sense the descent.
   Not a single willow will cast its shadow on my water, and not a single serpent will dare to enter my cool whirlpools.
   Just help me to begin over again. I make a vow to You: I shall weave a new garment of new threads. I have tried long enough with my neighbors to sew new patches onto old gar­ments. The patches fall off, the tatters fall apart, and our sor­did nakedness makes us blush with shame.
   The wise rishis* beneath the Himalayas speak of new births, which they say number more than the sands of the sea. But what good are all these births to me, which serve only as a gateway for me to leave one prison to enter another?.
   I beseech You for one birth only, for being born of the Spirit. I was born of water and baptized with water, and am creeping over the earth like muddy water.
   Indeed, being born of water is only a prophecy of being born of the Spirit, and baptism with water is only a prophecy of the baptism with fire?.
   With water we are recruited as soldiers, but with the Spirit we are made victors.
   Do not permit your soldier, my Lord, to fight for a lifetime and then conclude his soldiering with defeat. Let the victor be born in me, who will not doubt even for a second that he is born for victory.
   Water gives birth to an army inclined to defeat, while the Spirit gives birth to an army inclined to victory. Help me to be born anew. O consubstantial Trinity, so that there may ap­pear in me the sort of man You had in Your mind before time. A man girded with Your strength, adorned with Your wisdom, illuminated with Your purity!.
   So that You might be entering my eyes, and not the world. So that my heart might yearn only for You.
   And so that my soul might be impregnated by Your seed alone.
   Do not abandon me, O Holy Trinity, to expire as an old man, to wear out as a threadbare garment, patched in vain and left unpatched.
   The world has brought old age into my soul. It has stamped my entire soul and left its seals on her, so that from them she is suffering, agonizing, and -- dying.
   Once my soul is born anew in my bones, my bones will also be rejuvenated. And there will be only one seal in my soul -- the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit. In vain will the world try to stamp its seal on me, to brand me as its own sheep -- it will find no place for its seal. For the one born anew will be filled with Your seal and Your life, O Life-creat­ing Trinity.

* Rishis in Hindu legend it is said that in ancient days seven Wise Men, or Rishis, acquired, by penance and meditation, complete knowledge of all things. Later applied to the sages and saints of India, both Hindu and Buddhist, who were viewed as their avatars through reincarnation.

Saint Nikolai Velimirovich, Prayers by the Lake, translated by Rev. Archimandrite Toodr Mika and Rev. Dr. Stevan Scott, Free Serbian Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A. and Canada, Great Lake Graphics, Skokie, Illinois.