Blot out, O Lord, all my memories – except one.
St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Bishop of Ochrid
Poem XXX (30)
Blot out, O Lord, all my memories–except one. For memories make me old and feeble. Memories ruin the present day. They weigh down the present day with the past and weaken my hope in the future, for in legions they whisper in my ear: “There will only be what has already been.”
But I do not wish for there to be only what has been. I do not wish and You do not wish, O Lord, for the future to be the past repeated. Let things happen that have never appeared before. The sun would not be worth much, if it only watched repetitions.
Worn paths mislead a wayfarer. Earth has walked over the earth a long time. Earthly walkways have become boring, for they have been traveled again and again from generation to generation throughout all time. Blot out, O Lord, all my memories except one.
Just one memory do I ask You not to blot out, but to strengthen in me. Do not blot out but strengthen in my consciousness the memory of the glory that I had when I was entirely with You and entirely in You, before time and temporal illusions.
When I, too, was a harmonious trinity in holy unity, just as You are from eternity to eternity.
When the soul within me was also in friendship with consciousness and life.
When my soul also was a virginal womb, and my consciousness was wisdom in virginity, and my life was spiritual power and holiness.
When I, too, was all light, and when there was no darkness within me.
When I, too, was bliss and peace, and when there were no torments of imbalance within me.
When I also knew You, even as You know me, and when I was not mingled with darkness.
When I, too, had no boundaries, no neighbors, no partitions between “me” and “you.”
Do not blot out this memory, my Father, but strengthen it. Even if it reveals to me the abyss along which I am journeying in humbleness and nothingness.
Even if it separates me from friends and pleasantries, and demolishes all the barriers between Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.1
Even if it leads me outside of myself, and makes me seem mad in the eyes of my fellow wayfarers.
In truth, no companionship pleases me except Yours, and no memory pleases me except the memory of You.
O my Merciful Father, blot out all my memories except one alone.
1. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
Prayers by the Lake, XXX (30), by St. Nikolai Velimirovic The New Chrysostom, Bishop of Ochrid and Zhicha
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.
A view of Lake Ochrid (Ohrid), where St. Nikolai composed these prayers.
The 13th century monastery is dedicated to St. John the Theologian at Kaneo, Ohrid