Prayers by the Lake
St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Bishop of Ochrid
Your visit, my Power, brings powers to every creature.
You pour oil into each of them as into empty lamps, and they begin to burn.
Blessed is he who receives You into his own emptiness; he will be filled and will burn.
When there is no oil, the wick burns with smoke and a sooty odour.
People used to burn before Your visit, but this was not You who would burn, but the wick with its smoke and sooty odour.
When You came to visit the earth, You filled all the lamps with oil and the oil began to burn, without the smoke and the sooty odour.
However the ignorant see no difference, but say: “There was burning before, and there is burning now.”
The ignorant see no difference between the burning of an empty lamp and the burning of a full lamp.
O you ignorant people, when earth burns with its own fire, this is a wick that is burning and not oil, and it burns with smoke and a sooty odour.
When earthen vessels are filled with heavenly oil, the oil burns, and its burning is with flame and light, but without smoke and the sooty odour.
Indeed, You are not like ordinary visitors, who come to take. You did not come in order to come and go like ordinary visitors, nor to come and take, but rather you came in order to leave something behind — truly, in order to fill everything and leave it full!
You brim with blessings, O Lord, and every creature is filled with might and power, after You have come to visit.
Water, which used to be able to wash only the body, obtained the power to baptize the soul — in Your name, O Lord!1
Oil, which used to be able to glisten only on a healthy face, obtained the power to give strength to the sick — in Your name, O Lord!2
Bread, which used to be able only to pile up ashes upon ashes within a man, obtained the power to nourish life with Your life — in Your name, O Lord!
The springs have been imbued with strength, and the grasses of the field have ripened with life — in Your name, O Lord!
Words have become a cure, and signs have become a defence — in Your name, O Lord!4
The dead have begun to take the infirmities of the living upon themselves and the living have begun to converse with the dead as with the living — in Your name, O Lord!5
Tombs, out of which only stench used to seep, have begun to pour forth myrrh, and the dens of wild beasts have become caves for penitents — in Your name, O Lord!6
Before Your visit, O Lord, everything was smokier than a burning wick, and everything was frailer than a cobweb.
Will the ignorant open their eyes and see the difference? For all who are ignorant I kneel and pray before You, O Lord Almighty:
Open their eyes, so that they may see the difference.
So that they may see the difference and open their empty lamps, for You to fill them.
So that they may not be forever choking in the smoke and sooty odour, O Heavenly Oil of my lamp.
For all who are ignorant I kneel and pray before You, O Holy Life-creating Spirit.
Blow like a gale and shake up the souls of the ignorant, so that they may wake up and experience the hour of Your visitation.
So that they may repent and kneel down with me and exclaim: “How new earth becomes, after You visit it, O Majestic and Awesome God!”