Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart
Lord, my Lord, grantor of gifts, root of goodness,
ruler of all equally, creator of all from nothing,
glorified, awesome, awe inspiring,
dreadful, mighty, stern,
unbearable, unapproachable, incomprehensible,
ineffable, invisible, unexaminable,
without beginning, outside of time,
unclouded knowledge, bold vision,
true being, exalted and humble,1
blessed existence, shadowless dawn,
ray shining upon all, light professing to all,
unwavering assurance, undisturbable calm,
indelible seal, infinite image, witnessed name,
taste of sweetness, cup of bliss,
soul-nourishing bread, love in dark exile,
covering most desirable, garment most protective,
cloak most worthy, ornament most glorious,
great help, trustworthy refuge,
undiminishing grace, inexhaustible treasure,
pure rain, glittering dew,
universal cure, free healing,
health restored, sublime spur,
undeceiving call, good news for all,
king who lifts up the slave,
defender who loves the poor,
giver of endless wealth,
safe harbor, unyielding command,
hope without bounds,
long in vision, unsparing in generosity,
just right hand that dispenses to all,
impartial eye, voice of comfort, consoling tidings,
harbinger of bliss,
living name, finger of foresight,
unstumbling start, sincere course,
life-giving will, candid advice, unenvying honor,
broad possibility, narrow restriction,
track without trace, path without markers,
image indescribable, quantity immeasurable,
unparalleled compassion, inexhaustible mercy,
humility celebrated, kiss of salvation.
And more than these worthy epithets,
dedicated to your Godliness,
you who are blessed, praised, lauded,
proclaimed, exalted, recounted, sought with
whatever your streams of sweetness bring us,
shall be illustrated in these image-filled psalms,
showing you joyful in my salvation, blessed Lord,
as if a ravenous hunger had been relieved by a
for you are glorified not because of some
vain song of mine,
but because you may accept these modest prayers
as justification for granting your great salvation.
A new book of psalms sings with urgency through me,
for all thinking people the world over,
expressing all human passions
and serving with its images
as an encyclopedic companion to our human condition,
for the entire, mixed congregation of the
for the newborn who have just arrived,
for adolescents in the second stage of life,
for adults whose days are ripe and numbered,
for the guilty and the just,
for the brazenly haughty and the falsely modest,
for the good and the evil,
for cowardly and brave,
for slaves and underlings,
for nobles and clerics,
for the middle class and princely,
for artisans and the lords,
for men and women,
for commanders and servants,
for high and low,
for exalted and menial,
for royalty and commoners,
for knights and footmen,
for city and country folk,
for those brutally bridled by arrogant kings,2
for those cloistered in heavenly contemplation,
for sages with God-given wisdom,
for priests, pious and chosen,
for bishops, properly arrayed,
for patriarchs, charged with pious supervision.
May this book of prayers
I have undertaken to compose
with the strength of the Holy Spirit
and with a view to the multitudinous needs of all
serve for some as heartfelt pleas of intercession and
for others as counsel toward virtue
that through this book they might constantly
appear before you, Great Mercy.
May you heal the souls and wash away the
transgressions of those who read this
book with pure hearts.
Forgive their debts and free them from the bonds of sin.
Release the flow of tears from those who study this book,
and instill in them the desire to repent.
And with them, Lord, grant me, contrition for my
willfulness, and give them grace-filled inspiration
through my voice.
May their prayers, through this book, also be
offered for me, and may their sighs rise like
incense in place of mine.
May your light enter and dwell in those
who taste and embrace these mournful psalms.
And if through me some pious readers dedicate
themselves to you, receive me also, merciful Lord, with
those who live for you.
And if this book brings forth cleansing tears for our ills,
may they also rain upon me, Keeper.
And if those who share the passion for life contained in
this book are enrolled in your heavenly kingdom and
earn salvation, grant that by your will,
O blessed Lord, I might be in their number.
And if sighs pleasing to God should be evoked through
this book, may the benefit overflow to me also,
If a pure hand lifts incense to you,
may my voice join with the sound and sighs of
prayers and reach you.
If others’ petitions labor to be born with mine,
may mine, thus multiplied, be rededicated to you.
If my offering of the words of my soul is pleasing,
may they be offered to you with those who
have gone before.
If disheartened people falter in exhaustion,
may they regain their steadiness through these
sighs, setting their hope on you.
If the bulwark of their faith crumbles with sin,
may it be rebuilt with these writings shaped by
your protecting right hand.
If the thread of hope is severed by the sword of
trangressions, may it be restored by the goodness of
your almighty will.
If the perils of death besiege a person with pain,
may redemption and hope of life be found through
these words, victorious in you, O Life Giver,
If a confused heart is wounded by doubt,
may these words make it whole through your sweetness.
If one is defeated by an irreparable loss,
or buried in the depths of an abyss,
may he come to the light under your watchfulness,
hooked by this invention.
If one is ensnared by drugs and their torpor,
and surrenders to dark tendencies,
let him be strengthened on your account, Sole Refuge,
and find tranquility in you.
If deserted by the armor of faith,
may he be sustained through the hand of
and held in your steadfastness.
If one strays from the watchful eye of his caretakers,
let him be watched over by these words until their
If one is seized by the tremors of demonic fevers,
awake his soul with the sign of the cross,
proclaiming and worshiping this miracle.
If a violent storm suddenly strikes
the vessel of the human body on
its voyage through this world,
steady its course with your rudder and
send it sailing back toward you.
And may you make this book of mournful psalms
begun in your name, Most High,
into a life-giving salve for the sufferings of
body and soul.
May you perfect what I have started
and may your spirit be mixed with it.
May the breath of your great might
infuse these verses with grace
so that you may brace the wilting heart
and accept praise from us all.