Thursday, May 1, 2008

Glory to God for all things

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” - Romans 8:18

Lord, how good it is to be Your guest; the delicately scented wind, the mountains stretching to the sky, the waters reflecting like infinite mirrors, the golden rays of sun, the airiness of clouds. All nature secretly whispers, full of tenderness, and even the birds and beasts bear the mark of Your Love. Blessed is mother earth with her transient beauty, longing for the homeland which is eternal and where an imperishable beauty rings out: Alleluia.
You brought me into this life as into an enchanting paradise. The sky is a deep blue vessel of azure out of which rings the sound of birds; there is the rustling sound of the forest and the sweet sounding music of the waters; the fragrant and sweet fruit and honey which we eat. It is good to be with You on earth, joyous to be Your guest:
Glory to You, for the festival of life,
Glory to You, for the fragrant lilies of the valley and the roses,
Glory to You, for the delectable variety of berries and fruits,
Glory to You, for the morning dew, shining like diamonds,
Glory to You, for the smile of awakening enlightenment,
Glory to You, for all that is heavenly, foreshadowing eternal life,
Glory to You, O God, unto ages of ages.

Every flower is fragrant through the power of the Holy Spirit, in a delicate flow of aroma and tenderness of color; the beauty of the Great contained in what is small. Praise and honor to God Who gives life, Who spreads forth the meadows like a flowering carpet, Who crowns the fields with golden ears of wheat and azure basilisks, and the soul with the joy of contemplation. Let us rejoice and sing to Him: Alleluia.
How beautiful You are in the triumphant festival of spring, when all creatures come to life again and in a thousand ways joyfully call out to You: You are the source of life; You are the victor over death.
To the song of the nightingale, the valleys and forests stand in snow white bridal array by the light of the season. All the earth is Your bride, waiting for the immortal bridegroom. If You clothe even the grass in such a splendid way, how will You transfigure us in the future age of resurrection, how will our bodies be made light and our souls be made luminous:
Glory to You, Who brought out of the earth's darkness diversity of color,
taste, and fragrance,
Glory to You, for the warmth and caress of all nature,
Glory to You, for surrounding us with thousands of Your creatures,
Glory to You, for the depth of Your wisdom reflected in the whole world,
Glory to You, I kiss reverently the footprint of Your invisible tread,
Glory to You, Who kindled before us the bright light of eternal life,
Glory to You, for the hope of immortal, ideal, incorruptible beauty,
Glory to You, O God, unto ages of ages.

How you bring sweetness to those who think of You, how life-giving is Your Word, it is softer than oil, it is sweeter than honey to talk with You. Praying to You brings Life into us and gives us wings. What trembling then fills the heart. What dignity and greatness and wisdom there are in nature and all of life. Where You are not there is emptiness. Where You are there is richness of soul, a torrent of life: Alleluia!
When sunset descends over the earth and the peace of eternal sleep and the stillness of the fading day come to reign, I see Your abode in the guise of glistening palaces and clouds hovering in the evening light. Fiery red, gold and azure speak prophetically of the unutterable beauty of Your world and cry out triumphantly: "Let us go to the Father!"
Glory to You, in the stillness of the evening,
Glory to You, Who have bestowed great peace to the world,
Glory to You, for the last rays of sunlight,
Glory to You, for rest and the gift of sleep,
Glory to You, for Your presence in darkness, when the world is so remote,
Glory to You, for prayer from the depth of a heart touched by You,
Glory to You, for the promise of awakening to the joy of the eternal,
unending day,
Glory to You, O God, unto ages of ages.

The storms of life are not frightening to one in whose heart shines the light of Your Fire. All around the weather is bad; there is darkness, horror, and the howling wind. But in the soul of such a one there is peace and light. Christ is there! And the heart sings: Alleluia!
I see Your heavens glittering with stars. O how rich You are, how much light You have! Eternity looks at me through the rays of distant worlds; I am so small and inconsequential, but the Lord is with me, His loving hand is everywhere protecting me:
Glory to You, for Your constant care of me,
Glory to You, for providential encounters with people,
Glory to You, for the love of relatives, the devotion of friends,
Glory to You, for the gentleness of animals who serve me,
Glory to You, for the luminous moments of my life,
Glory to You, for the bright joys of my heart,
Glory to You, for the happiness of living, of moving and contemplating,
Glory to You, O God, unto ages of ages.

How near You are in the days of illness; You Yourself visit the sick. You Yourself bend down to the bed of the sufferer and the heart speaks to You. In times of hardship and suffering, You illumine the soul with peace; You send unexpected help. You are consoling, searching and saving love, and to You we sing the song: Alleluia!
When as a child I consciously called to You for the first time, You answered my prayer and my soul knew a wonderful peace. Then I understood that You are goodness; blessed are those who seek You. I began to call to You again and again, and call to You even now:
Glory to You, Who grant my wishes when they are good,
Glory to You, Who watch over me day and night,
Glory to You, curing hardships and losses with the healing course of time,
Glory to You, for Whom there is no such thing as a hopeless loss; You give
eternal life to all,
Glory to You, Who have made immortal all that is good and lofty, Who
have promised our desired reunion with those who have died, Glory to You, O God, unto ages of ages.

That which is broken cannot be restored, but You can set aright those whose conscience has become decayed; You restore the soul to its former beauty in those who have lost it beyond all hope. With You there is nothing that cannot be put aright. You are all love. You are the Creator and the Restorer. To You we sing praise: Alleluia!
My God, You Who know the fall of the proud angel, save me through the power of Your grace, do not let me fall away from You, do not allow me to doubt You. Sharpen my hearing so that every minute of my life I can hear Your mysterious voice, and call to You Who are everywhere present:
Glory to You, for providential coincidences,
Glory to You, for the gift of premonitions,
Glory to You, for the guidance of a secret inner voice,
Glory to You, for revelations in dreams and when awake,
Glory to You, Who destroy our useless plans,
Glory to You, Who sober us from the heat of passions with suffering,
Glory to You, Who humble pride of heart to save us,
Glory to You, O God, unto ages of ages.

Many times I have seen the reflection of Your glory on the faces of the dead. What unearthly beauty and joy shone from them; how ethereal and immaterial were their features. This is the triumph of happiness and peace received gracefully, as they silently call upon You. At the hour of my death also illumine my soul as I call: Alleluia!
How can I give praise to You? I have not heard the songs of the cherubim. That is the gift of the highest of souls. But I know how nature gives praise to You: in winter I have beheld the moonlight stillness when the whole earth quietly prays to You, clothed in white and sparkling with diamonds of snow; I have seen how the rising sun rejoices in You and the choirs of birds resound in praise; I have heard the forest speak mysteriously of You, the waters murmur and the choirs of stars preach of You with their harmonious movement in infinite space. But what is my praise? Nature responds to Your laws, but I do not! Yet while I am alive I see Your love; I want to thank You, to pray to You, and call out:
Glory to You, Who have shown us light,
Glory to You, Who have loved us with love immeasurable, deep, Divine,
Glory to You, Who have surrounded us with light, and with hosts of angels and saints,
Glory to You, all Holy Father, Who have willed us Your Kingdom,
Glory to You, all Holy Son, the Way, the Truth, and the Life,
Glory to You, all Holy Spirit and life-giving sun of the future age,
Glory to You for everything, O Divine Trinity, all bountiful, Glory to You, O God, unto ages of ages.

- Akathist of Thanksgiving, by Fr. Grigori Petrov, who wrote this while imprisoned in a Soviet labor camp. He was promoted to glory in 1942.

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