Friday, January 31, 2014

A Litany by St. Gregory of Narek

St. Gregory of Narek (951-1003) was a great Armenian saint and spiritual writer, a monk of the Narek Monastery, who wrote the Matean Voghbergutyan (Book of Lamentations), the greatest spiritual work of the Armenian tradition (at least according to popular acclaim).  It is, in some ways, a new book of psalms written by a sorrowful, repentant heart.  This holy book is often put near the bedside of sick Armenians to assist in their healing.  I have begun reading this work, and I am already falling in love with it.  Below is just one section of Gregory's work (often called just "the Narek"), a litany that I find somewhat reminiscent of the famous Anima Christi, although without the Eucharistic theme found in St. Ignatius' prayer.

"Grant me life, compassionate Lord.
Hear me, merciful Lord.
Be charitable to me, forgiving Lord.
Save me, long-suffering Lord.
Protect me, defender Lord.
Be generous, all-giving Lord.
Free me, all-powerful Lord.
Revive me, restoring Lord.
Raise me again, awe-inspiring Lord.
Enlighten me, heavenly Lord.
Cure me, omnipotent Lord.
Grant pardon, inscrutable Lord.
Bestow gifts, bountiful Lord.
Adorn me with grace, generous Lord.
Let us be reconciled, healing Lord.
Be accepting, unvengeful Lord.
Wipe away my transgressions, blessed Lord,
so that on that Day of Misery,
when I stare at the abyss on either side,
I may also catch sight of your salvation,
my hope and guardian,
and on that terrifying journey
your angel of peace may sweetly guide me.

Endow me, Lord, on the day my breath is finished
with a clean spirit raised in light among
the joyful heavenly host,
with gifts of your love overtaking me.
May I arrive with the workers for justice.
Grant to my wayward soul an unexpected kindness
on that day of despair.
Do not assign, blessed Lord and Savior,
a wild beast to guide your sick sheep,
but grant me health, for I am dying of sin,
grant me salvation, for I am ruined by transgressions."

St. Grigor Narekatsi, pray for us!

Nota Bene: This prayer is taken from Prayer II.D of St. Gregory's Book of Lamentations, translated as Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart by Thomas J. Samuelian in 2002.  The entire translation can be found at a website run by the translator.

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