Temptation of Saint Anthony, Karl Krogstad, CC BY 2.0
There was a time when I did not exist
Yet you have created me;
I did not beg you for a wish
Yet you have fulfilled it;
I did not come into the light
Yet you have seen me;
I had not yet appeared
And you have taken pity on me;
I had not appealed to you
Yet you have taken care of me;
I did not raise my hand
Yet you have looked at me;
I had not entreated you
Yet you were merciful to me;
I had not uttered a sound
Yet you have heard me;
I had not groaned
Yet you have lent an ear.
With eyes that knew the future, you saw
The crimes of my guilty self
And yet you have fashioned me;
And now, I who have been created by you
and saved by you
and have been tended with such care,
Let me not completely perish by the blow of sin.
That is but the slanderer’s invention;
Let not the fog of my stubbornness
Triumph over the light of your forgiveness;
Nor over the hardness of my heart
Over your forbearing goodness;
Nor my material weakness
Over your unconquerable grandeur.
Gregory of Narek, 951-1003, Armenian monk and mystical theologian
The Complete Book of Christian Prayer, freely modified
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous.