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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 equated with this saintly man. So the book like the man came to be known affectionately as Narek.
Will you, I wonder:
Forget to be charitable, my expectation?
Neglect to be compassionate, caring Lord?
Regret your charity toward humankind, constant Lord?
Retreat from your life-giving, everlasting Lord?
Abandon the cheerful fruit of your mercy?
Corrupt the gracious flower of your sweetness?
Dishonor the grandeur of your generous bounty? (1)
Vary the glory of your white-haired exaltation? (2)
Waste the fitting splendor of your crown?
If bliss is for the merciful,
then you, a kingdom unto yourself, filled with love,
will you not grant me full salvation?
Will you not offer a salve for my wounds?
Will you not minister to my pains?
Will you not cure my weakness?
Will you not shed light upon the darkness,
for me who trusts in your strength?
You, gift of life to the universe,
who alone have glory in oneself and of oneself,
whose everlasting being is witnessed by everything,
blessed and glorified through three eternities,
and beyond the limits of all conceivable infinities.
1. Da 7,9 (white-hair of the ancient of days).
2. Ap 1,14.