III Prayers by the Lake
by St. Nikolai Velimirovich
Are there days gone by, O man, to which you would wish to return? They all attracted you like silk, and now remain behind you like a cobweb. Like honey they greeted you, like stench you bade them farewell. All were totally filled with illusion and sin.
See how all the pools of water in the moonlight resemble mirrors; and how all the days that were lit up with your levity resemble mirrors. But as you stepped from one day to the next, the false mirrors cracked like thin ice, and you waded through the water and mud.
Can a day that has a morning and an evening as doorways be a day?
O luminous Lord, my soul is burdened with illusions and longs for one day—for the day without doorways, the day from which my soul has departed and sunk into the shifting shadows—for Your day, which I used to call my day, when I was one with You.
Is there any happiness gone by, O man, to which you would wish to return?
Of two morsels of the same sweetness the second is the more trite. You would turn your head away in boredom from yesterday’s happiness, if it were set out on today’s table.
Moments of happiness are given to you only in order to leave you longing for time, happiness in the bosom of the ever happy Lord; and ages of unhappiness are given to you, to waken you out of the drowsy dream of illusions.
O Lord, Lord, my only happiness, will You provide shelter for Your injured pilgrim?
O Lord, my ageless youth, my eyes shall bathe in You and shine more radiantly than the sun.
You carefully collect the tears of the righteous, and with them You rejuvenate worlds.