Word Magazine December 1970 Page 4
by METROPOLITAN PHILIP
What shall I offer you on your birthday in return for your infinite love?
I have neither gold nor silver, neither myrrh nor frankincense.
My house is without a roof. I have no room for you; not even a manger.
My soul is even darker than the clouds of my passion.
My eyes are too dim to look beyond the horizon of myself.
Help me behold your bright star; “For in thy light we shall see light.”
You have been knocking on my door for thirty-nine years, but I never dared let you in because my garment is not whitow.
Forgive me if I do not invite you to my table, for my table is full of everything you despise. I have denied you more than Peter.
I have doubted you more than Thomas.
I have betrayed you more than Judas.
My hands are empty. My lips are not clean to sing your praise.
And my heart is wrinkled with sorrow like a withered leaf under autumn’s wind.
The only thing I can offer you on your birthday is myself.
Drown me in the ocean of your love.
Feed me with your heavenly bread, for the bread of this world will never satisfy my hunger.
Quench my thirst with your divine fountain, for the water of this earth will
never satisfy my thirst.
Give me your eyes to see what you see, your ears to hear what you hear and your heart to love what you love.
Take me with you to Mount Tabor and let me bathe in your eternal light.
“Create a clean heart in me. Cast me not away from Thy face. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation,
and strengthen me with a perfect spirit.”
Teach me how to pray in simple words, for only through prayers I may overcome my loneliness.
Help me to care for the needy, the oppressed, the orphans, the sinners and the despised whom you love.
As I kneel before your manger with love and humility I beseech you to listen to my prayers.