BUT what shall we give in return for all that the Lord has given to us? Already holy David anticipated and cried out the answer. I shall take the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.
So then let us rejoice, brethren, because we have been granted to give the Lord a return for all that he has given us. And what is this return? The cross-bearing way of life that we have taken on, and the confession in which we stand and we boast in our hope of the glory of God.
St Theodore the Studite (759-826), Catechesis XXXII, read at the close of the First Hour at the Royal Hours of Christmas. Translation by Archimandrite Ephrem at Anastasis.
O LORD that lovest mankind, how can it be, that thou hast not forgotten thy sinful servant, but full of mercy hast beheld me from thy place of glory, and appeared unto me in a fashion passing all understanding! I have ever been offending thee, and grieving thee. Yet thou, O Lord, for my poor repentance hast granted unto to me to know thy great love and thy immeasurable goodness. Thy gladdening and gentle glance hath ravished my soul.
What shall I give thee in return, O Lord, or what praise shall I offer unto thee? Thou givest unto me thy favour, that my heart should burn unceasingly with love, it findeth no rest from thy divine love by night or day. The memory of thee warmeth my soul, which findeth no comfort upon earth without thee. Wherefore I seek thee with tears, and the eye of my heart doth long for thy sweetness again…
O Lord, grant unto me that I might love thee alone. Thou it is that hast fashioned me, thou it is that hast enlightened me in holy Baptism, thou it is that forgivest my sins and dost grant me as a favour to have fellowship in thy precious body and blood. Give unto me the strength to remain always beside thee. O Lord, give me the repentance of Adam, and thy holy humility. Amen.
St Silouan the Athonite.
From Agioreitiko Vima.