Thanks be to God, the almighty,
the king of the universe, for all his mercies,
and heartfelt thanks to the Savior and Redeemer of our souls,
Jesus Christ, through whom we pray
that his peace may keep us stable and unshaken
from troubles outside and troubles within the heart.
Let me obediently sing aloud the new song,
because after those terrifying dark sights and stories
I was now privileged to see and celebrate such things
that many righteous men and martyrs of God before us
desired to see on earth and did not see,
and to hear and did not hear.
But they attained far better things in heaven; whereas I,
acknowledging that even my present lot is better than I deserve,
have been more than amazed at the bountiful grace of its author,
and am duly filled with wonder,
worshipping him with my soul’s full strength.
Eusebius of Caesarea, c. 260- c.340, Christian historian and bishop
2000 Years of Prayer freely modified
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
That face, Lord, has haunted me all evening.
It is a living reproach,
A prolonged cry that reaches me in my quietude.
That face is alive, Lord, yet men’s sins have struck it;
He was defenceless and exposed to their blows.
They came from all over;
The dilapidated bed,
The foul air,
Work – crushing, humiliating,
Unclean and deceitful kisses.
The struggle to live,
They came from everywhere,
Men with their horrid selfishness, their dreadful faces,
their great dirty fingers,
their broken nails,
their fetid breath.
They hastened here from the ends of the earth,
from the bounds of time.
And slowly, one after another,
Or suddenly, all together, like brutes,
And here at last is this face, this poor face;
It took forty six years to fashion it,
It took hundreds of centuries to produce it.
Ecce homo : behold the man.
Here is this poor face of a man, like an open book,
The book of the miseries and sins on men;
the book of
the book of
Here it is like a mournful protest,
like a cry of revolt,
but also like a heart-rending call,
For behind this ridiculous, grimacing face,
Behind those uneasy eyes,
Is a light
A tragic supplication,
The infinite desire of a soul to live above its mud.
Lord, that face haunts me, it frightens me, it condemns me;
For with everyone else, I have made it, or allowed it to be made!
And I realize, Lord, that this man is my brother, and yours.
What have we done with a member of your family?
I fear your judgement, Lord.
It seems to me that at the end of time all the faces of my brothers,
and especially those of my town, my district, my work,
will be lined up before me,
And in your merciless light I shall recognize in these faces
the lines that I have cut,
the mouth that I have twisted,
the eyes that I have darkened,
the neck that I have crushed,
and those whose light I have extinguished.
They will come, those that I have known
and those that I have not known,
those of my time and all those that have followed,
fashioned by the workshop of the world.
And I shall stand still, terrified, silent.
It is then, O Lord, that you will say to me
. . . it was I . . .