Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Five Prayers Against Shameless Thoughts


Written by Our Holy Father Symeon of the Wondrous Mountain (May 24)

A Prayer Against Evil and Unclean Thoughts

O Lord Jesus Christ our God, immortal Son and Word of the living God, Who puttest not to shame them that trust in Thee, Father Who lovest mankind and Lord of all consolation and tender mercies, Who, as before the ages, abidest in Thy Goodness now and unto the ages: Drive away from me, Thy servant, the evil thoughts that vex me. For Thou knowest, O Thou Who art cognizant of the heart, Who beholdest the secrets of my heart, of what sort they are. Forgive me, O Master, and let them not become for me an occasion of sin; but be Thou gracious unto me, send forth Thy Grace from the holy Throne of Thy Glory upon the soul of me, the hapless one, and overshadow me, Thy servant. Give me understanding, and I shall learn Thy commandments and live, O Physician of souls and bodies, O Lord Who alone art sinless and glorified. For Thou art blessed and lauded in all Thy Saints, unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Another Prayer, Against the Burning of the Flesh

Thou, O Lord, Who searchest out the hearts and reins, knowest that I loathe impurity and passionate thoughts. But the evil persecutor and grievous tyrant forcibly draggeth me down to the pit of impurity, inflicting unbearable frenzy upon me, inflaming me with the fire of evil lust, setting me violently ablaze, and vehemently oppressing me, and doth not relax his grip in any wise. I am weak and wretched, engrossed in self-indulgence and indolence, having lost the vigor of my soul. Behold, therefore, and be aware of my distress, O my Master, Who art mighty and strivest on my behalf, and disdain not me, Thy servant, who am sorely agitated at this hour by the uprising and burning of this, my miserable flesh, and threatened with drowning amidst the waves. But send forth Thine invincible help, rebuke the spirit of uncleanness, subdue the sea of the passions, quell the tempest of pernicious arousal, calm the seething of sensuality, quench the flame of the flesh, dispel the onslaught of rabid burning, lull this most irksome and ferocious warfare, and deliver me from the hand of the tyrant. Drive away from me every unseemly fantasy and every filthy thought, and implant in my soul steadfast serenity and a peaceful disposition. Renew its strength that hath waxed old, bridle mine appetitive faculty with the cincture of chastity, and array me with spiritual armor, that I may remain impregnable to the assaults of voluptuousness; by the intercessions of the Saints who trampled underfoot the stings of this sin and vanquished the uprisings of nature. For Thou, Who art purity itself, dost rest among the pure, and unto Thee do we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Another Prayer, on the Same Subject

O Master Lord Jesus Christ, eternal Word of God, Artificer and Governor of the greatest and least natures of the universe, Only-Begotten Son Who didst shine forth timelessly from God the Father, the Same Who camest forth incarnate from the Holy Virgin and art true man, without change or confusion, dwelling among us as Thou Thyself knowest, so as to deliver us, the useless servants whom Thou hadst fashioned; Light of dispassion, Expeller of the darkness of ignorance, Radiance of vigilant souls, universal Joy of the Orthodox, Delectation of Angels and blessed souls, Who art wholly insatiable Beauty, wholly Sweetness, wholly Desire and Longing, abundant Wealth of noetic succor for those who sincerely cleave unto Thee, Who art by nature good, compassionate, and merciful: Drive away from me, the beleaguered one, the base thoughts that vex me, the offspring of my sensual appetite. For Thou knowest, O Thou Who art cognizant of the heart, Who beholdest the secrets of my heart, that they are involuntary. Forgive me, O Master, and let these thoughts not become for me an occasion of sin, but be Thou gracious unto me and send forth Thy Grace from the holy Throne of Thy Glory upon me and let it overshadow the infirmity of me, Thine unprofitable servant. Give me understanding, and I shall learn Thy commandments and live; heal the chronic wounds of my soul; enlighten the eyes of mine intellect, that I may ever comprehend Thy providence towards me. What am I to say to Thee, the Foreknower, Who searchest the hearts and reins? Thou knowest that my heart thirsteth for Thee like a waterless land; I yearn and thirst for Thee, the Light of truth, the Bestower of salvation. Yea, send me the Grace of Thy mercy, and it shall suffice for me that it burn as a flame in my heart and consume its thorns and thistles, mine evil thoughts, and bedew and enliven the faculty therein that produceth pious thoughts, but which hath become useless and barren.

O Lord, Thou Liberator of the world, deliver my captive mind, snatch it from all these invisible foes that still hunt after it, and grant that I may pass the remaining time of my life unceasingly and peacefully in a chaste way of life, in a life well-pleasing unto Thee, in purity of heart, in serene patience, in constant meditation on Thy Divine and sacred laws, and in unwavering love for felicity in Thee. For Thou art the Life of those who truly live, O Lord, and in Thee is the eternal and blessed life of those foreordained for salvation. Yea, O Master Who art exceeding good, hearken unto my supplication, and let Thy Grace henceforth dwell in me, restraining mine intellect as with a bridle, that it may not, by going astray again, become darkened and be cast out from Thy light; by the intercessions of Thine All-Immaculate Mother and of all Thy Saints, for unto Thee are due all glory, honor, and worship, together with Thine unoriginate Father, and Thine All-Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Another Prayer, on the Same Subject

O Lord Jesus Christ my God, in Thee have I put my hope; save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me, lest at any time he seize my soul like a lion, while there is none to deliver or to save. O Lord my God, in Thee have I put my hope; protect my soul, O Master Christ, lest the Devil despoil me and lead me astray from Thy righteousness, and I become like them that go down into the pit. O Thou my God, save Thy servant that hopeth in Thee and despaireth not of attaining Thine incorruptible and eternal gifts. And grant me a natural state of mind, that I may remember Thy much-desired Name, call upon Thee when in need, and patiently endure whatsoever befalleth me; grant me a peaceful and sinless day, that I may also traverse the coming night, O Thou Peace that passeth all understanding. For blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Prayer to the Most Holy Theotokos, Against Shameful Thoughts

O All-Holy Lady Theotokos, drive away from me, thy sinful and unworthy servant, listlessness, forgetfulness, ignorance, negligence, and all evil thoughts, both shameful and blasphemous; expel them from my miserable and beleaguered heart, from my defiled soul, and from my darkened mind. Quench the flame of my passions, and have mercy on me and help me, for I am weak and distressed. Deliver me from the evil notions and preoccupations that beset me; and free me from all wicked deeds, both by night and by day. For most blessed art thou and glorified is thy holy name unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Source One and Two: Ioannes G. Thalassinos, Ὁ Πόλεμος τῶν Αἰσχρῶν Λογισμῶν: Ὁσίου Συμεὼν τοῦ Θαυμαστορείτου Ἱερὰ Ἀκολουθία ἐπὶ Ἐνοχλήσει Αἰσχρῶν καὶ Ρυπαρῶν Λογισμῶν (The Warfare of Shameful Thoughts: the Service by St. Symeon of the Wondrous Mountain For When One Is Vexed By Shameful and Filthy Thoughts) (Athens: Ekdoseis Nektarios D. Panagopoulos, 2007), pp. 55-59.

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