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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 equate with this saintly man. So the book like the man came to be known affectionately as Narek
Heavenly king, Lord of all,
patient toward all in all things,
Son of the living God, beyond our understanding,
your true mercy is manifest when
the expectation of reward is cut off.
Your benevolence is displayed when the mind’s
vision is blocked.
Your love of mankind is expressed at the hour
when weakness lays siege from without and within.
The divine healing of your hand is manifest
when life departs completely from our bodies.1
You visit where there is no exit.
Your greatness is clear when you cure the
wound of despair.
Your genuine humanity shared with us is revealed
when at unexpected times you dispense salvation.
Your victory is obvious
when you open the closed door of life
at my last breath.
Your magnificent grace is there
when you forget my wrongs and
remember your goodness.
Your ungrudging generosity is manifest
when you include me in your care,
ingrate that I am, along with the grateful.
I know and recognize
that you look upon this offering of words with
your former compassion as you lift away my
1 …… Mt. 8:3.