Friday, September 12, 2003

Prayer in distress and disaster, attributed to the Orthodox saint Raphael, bishop of Brooklyn.

O LORD, who alone art rich in mercies. Who through the compassions of Thy goodness dost hearken to the petitions of us sinners, Thy unworthy servants. Who ordainest and providest for our needs according to what is appropriate. Who through the wisdom of Thy care dost guide our lives, and seekest to save us in every way possible. Thou chastisest and
healest all in goodness and in love, so that Thy creatures, the work of Thy hands, may not be destroyed but rather, we may return to that pristine beauty, to that original dignity which we had lost through our insistent
ignorance and the ancient deceits of the devil. Thou hast provided for us many ways to repent and return from that transgression which resulted in our fall.

Thou, O LORD Almighty, look now upon us sinners, and hearken unto the voices of our petitions, for the multitude of our iniquities has robbed us from any boldness and made us incapable of approaching Thee for forgiveness of our sins. But since Thou art a lover of mankind, compassionate, abundant in mercies, long-suffering, unhateful, and rich in goodness, we therefore dare to approach Thee through these Divine Virtues and dare to lift up our hands and cry out unto Thee, rejoicing and saying:

We have sinned, O LORD, we have sinned and have forgotten Thy commandments. We have walked after our own evil thoughts and acted against our high calling, and we have become a reproach against Thy Beloved One. We too, the priests, have fallen away along with Thy flock, all of us have fallen short and become stained, and there is not anyone who is righteous, not any. We have shut the doors of Thy compassion, Thy love toward mankind, and Thy long-suffering, O our God, because of the evil acts we have committed. Thou alone art good, and we are sinners. Thou art long-suffering, and we are worthy of the strikes upon us. Because of Thy goodness, even though we have transgressed through our own ignorance, we have been justly chastised for our transgressions.

Thou, O LORD, art to be feared; who then shalt resist Thee? The mountains
shake from Thy presence. Who canst resist Thy Mighty Hand? If the heavens were to shut, who canst open them? If the waters have spread apart, who can gather them?

In Thine eyes, O LORD, it is very simple to impoverish and to enrich. Thou killest and Thou givest Life. Thou strikest and Thou healest. And whatever Thou willest Thou doest. It has been the confession of those of old that Thou wast angered and we have sinned. It is time O LORD to confess the truth. We have sinned and Thou wast angered. We have become a reproach to our neighbors. Thou hast turned Thy face from us and we have become weak. We beseech Thee to calm us to the end because of our sins. Do not chastise others through the strikes that are falling upon us. Make us, instead, to learn from the punishment of other nations upon us. The nations that do not know Thee, and the kingdoms that did not submit to Thee.

But as for us, Thy people, and the staff of Thy goodness, so that we may not be mocked at, and hated by the people who dwell upon the earth; because Thy mercy is indescribable, and Thy love for mankind is immeasurable, and the richness of Thy goodness is uncontainable. Since we are confident of these, we beseech Thee and supplicate Thee, bending the knees of our hearts, and saying:

Stop O LORD Thy angry strikes upon us, as you have stopped it of old upon Thy people during the reign of David. Even though our repentance is unlike theirs, since Thou art good, calm Thy anger upon us. Grant health to the sick, strength to the weak, and preserve the healthy and the strong. Deliver Thy people from every disease, from every infirmity, and deliver us all from the dangers of these disasters. Heal us, O LORD, from this illness, be it physical or spiritual, and protect us by Thy almighty hand so that we may not be harmed by the evil destruction falling down upon us. In truth, Thy anger hast covered us all, and we have all been affected by this distress. Even though we have not all turned from our evil, yet Thou, O LORD, hast delivered us from our evil minds. Grant us, O LORD, to please Thee in every good work.

Through the intercessions of Thine all-holy, immaculate, most blessed and glorious Lady Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary; and the supplications of Bodiless Powers of Heaven that art ever present before the face of God, and all the Saints. For Thou art the fountain of mercies, and the source of compassion; and to Thee we send up glory together with Thy Father who hast no beginning, and Thy holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, always now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

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