A Magnificent Prayer

The Responses to Thalassios is considered by many to be the greatest work of St. Maximos the Confessor, the great Byzantine theologian of the 7th century. The book consists of 65 answers that Maximos wrote in response to Thalassios, a renowned spiritual teacher in North Africa. Question 48 in this book begins with a prayer that is truly magnificent, as it speaks of beauty and “singing with the silent voices of the intellect” the praises of the mysteries of God. In a world of meaningless noise how much we need to stand in awe and wonder with the silent voices of our minds and hearts.

Come, O all-hymned Word of God, and give us, in the degree commensurate to us, the revelation of your own words! Remove the thickness of the veils that cover them, and show us, O Christ, the beauty of their inner meanings! Take us by “our right hand,” that is, the intellective power within us, and, “guiding us in the way of your commandments,”1 “lead us to the place of your wondrous tabernacle, into the very house of God with a voice of rejoicing and confession,”2 so that, through confession manifested in practice, and through joy realized in contemplation, we too may be counted worthy to come to the ineffable place of your feasting, and join our voices of praise to those who spiritually keep festival, singing, with the silent voices of the intellect, the praises of the knowledge of the unutterable mysteries. And forgive me, O Christ, and have mercy on me…. and enlighten my unenlightened mind…. so that you may be glorified even more, for giving light to eyes that were blind, and articulate speech to a tongue that was mute.

St. Maximos the Confessor, On Difficulties in Sacred Scripture: The Responses to Thalassios, Translated by Fr. Maximos Constas, The Fathers of the Church, Vol. 136, page 268, Catholic University of America Press, 2018.

1 Psalm 119:35
2
 Psalm 42:4

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