Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,
The awareness of the poverty of your sin and that of the world will make all too clear the need for God's mercy. It will arise from the depths of your being as a wordless groan. For what can capture how far-reaching the darkness can be? What can express the breaking of the human heart, the devastation that seeks to consume you?
Yet, cry out for deliverance from He who is hope, strength and light. One touch from the Beloved, one single ray piercing the darkness of despair shall raise you up and cause the shadows to fade.
Who put me in this bed of worms? Who buried me in the dust, to become a neighbor of snakes and a banquet for worms?
Who pushed me off the high mountain, to become a companion of bloodthirsty and godless men?
My sin and Your justice, O Lord. My sin stretches from the creation of the world, and it is swifter than Your justice.
I count my sins throughout my entire life, throughout the life of my father and all the way back to the beginning of the world, and I say: Truly, the name of the Lord's justice is mercy.
I bear the wounds of my fathers on myself-wounds that I myself was preparing while I was still in my fathers—and now they have all appeared on my soul, like a spotted hide on a giraffe, like a cloak of vicious scorpions that sting me.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, open the floodgate of the heavenly river of Your grace, and cleanse me of leprous evil, so that without this leprosy I may dare to proclaim Your name before the other lepers without them ridiculing me.
At least raise me up by a head above the rotten stench of this bed of worms, to inhale the incense of heaven and return to life.
At least raise me up as high as a palm tree so I can laugh at the serpents chasing my heels.
O Lord, if there has been even one good deed in the course of my earthly journey, for the sake of that one deed deliver me from the companionship of bloodthirsty and godless men.
O Lord, my hope in despair.
O Lord, my strength in weakness.
O Lord, my light in darkness.
Place just one finger on my forehead and I shall be raised. Or, if I am too unclean for Your finger, let a single ray of light from Your kingdom shine upon me and raise me- raise me, from this bed of worms, O my beloved Lord.
St. Nikolai of Ochrid
Prayers by the Lake, II