A Prayer of Confession by St Symeon the New Theologian

I have traveled far, O Lover of mankind,

I have lived in the desert,

hiding from You, my sweet Master.

I have been brought to this state by the night of life’s cares,

where I have suffered many bites and wounds,

where I get up bearing many wounds in my soul

and I cry in my pain and in my suffering of heart:

“Have mercy, show pity on me, the transgressor!”

O Doctor, Lover of souls, the One who only loves mercy.

You are the one who heals gratuitously the sick and wounded

heal my crimes, my wounds.

Let Your oil of grace drop, my God, and pour over my wounds,

stanch my ulcers, cauterize and revigorate

my weakened members and make all the cuts disappear,

O Savior, and give me perfect wholeness as I enjoyed before,

when I was not so stained,

when I was not a criminal,

not enflamed with wound or blemish, O my God,

but then I possessed serenity and joy,

peace and gentleness and holy humility and magnanimity

where there was a fullness of patience and of outstanding works,

an endurance and invincible power towards everything.

Then there was an abundance of consoling tears each day,

there was joyful exuberance in my heart,

which flowed out like a spring, pouring forth inexhaustibly

like a fountain from which poured forth honey, a drink of joy,

to which I ceaselessly returned in the mouth of my spirit.

There was complete health, there purity,

there the extinction of all my passions and vain thoughts,

there impassibility produced in me a face illumined,

and it has always stayed with me, spiritually speaking,

understand me properly, I beg you, read these words,

not interpreting what I say in any stupid, impure image,

but it brought me an ineffable pleasure of union

and an unlimited desire for nuptial union with God.

Receiving this, I also became impassible,

enflamed with pleasure, burning with desire for it

and I participated in the light,

yes, I became light, above every passion, beyond every evil,

for passion does not flower in the light of impassibility

any more than shadow in darkness of light flowers in the sun.

Therefore, having become such and really being such,

I relaxed, O Master, because I had confidence in myself.

I was overcome by the cares of sensible things

and I fell, O wretched one, to the worries of the concerns of life.

And as iron once it has cooled, I became black,

and dragged through the earth, I took on rust.

And this is why I cry out to You again to purify me,

to my first beauty and to let me enjoy again Your light,

now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

Hymn 46 from Hymns of Divine Love by St Symeon the New Theologian.


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