St. Nikolai Velimirovich
The New Chrysostom, Bishop of Ochrid and Zhicha
The chamber of my soul is not aired out, and You, O awesome Holy Spirit, are knocking at the door. Just a moment, while I air out my chamber from its unclean spirits, and I shall open the door for You. For if I opened it as it is, You would not enter into a chamber full of bad odors and would withdraw from my door forever. Just one moment, I beseech You, my most important guest!
Ah my shame and my sorrow, how that one moment is being prolonged! Just a little longer and my whole lifetime on earth will find its place within that moment. Yet You patiently wait at the door, and listen to my breathing.
The uninvited guests within me are impudent, they are impudent and have multiplied exceedingly. If I try to open a window, they pull my hands back. If I set out for the door to feel Your life-giving presence, they bind my feet. They tie me by force of habit to their foul stench, so that I am afraid of what is fresh and shrink back from what is new. Ah if only I am not too late to open the door to You!
But behold, even at the price of this life of slavery, I will open wide all the windows and in the name of the Most Pure Virgin and Her Son I will chase out of myself all the malicious masters and tyrants of my soul. And when You enter, You will bring my corpse to life with Your life-giving breath, with Your youthful strength, with Your loving dew.
O Spirit of manly strength, of matinal plenitude and vesperal quietude–You who are lighter than sleep, swifter than wind, fresher than dew, sweeter than a mother’s voice, brighter than fire, holier than all sacrifices, stronger than the universe, more alive than life–to You I pray and You I worship; become my companion on the rugged path to the eternal blessedness of the Triune Godhead.
O fiery Spirit, You are never separated from the Virginity of Eternity. Pierce my soul, cleanse her, illuminate her, per-fume her with heavenly incense, enter her and make her Your bride, so that the hymn of Divine wisdom may be conceived within her; so that the Eye of eternity may be opened within her.
You arise early and never sleep, teach me to keep watch vigilantly and to wait patiently.
1. Cf. 1 Cor. 3:12.
Prayers by the Lake, XXIII, by St. Nikolai Velimirovic
Written at Lake Ohrid 1921-1922.
.. Like the Old Testament Psalmist, our holy Vladika poured out his soul in his works and in prayer. This is especially evident in his “Prayers by the Lake,” “The Spiritual Lyre,” and “Prayerful Songs.” From his poetic inspiration and fervor arose prayers on the level of the Psalms, like the most beautiful flowers of paradise. Vladika Nikolai’s spirit of prayer was so powerful that it often threw him to his knees. He was often seen weeping. He was inflamed by divine eros.* His thirst for God was unquenchable; it could be satisfied only with complete union with God.