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A prayer by St Philoxenos of Mabbugh:2
13-04-2007, 08:40 AM,
A prayer by St Philoxenos of Mabbugh:2
St Philoxenos wrote a prayer that is obviously the fruit of long contemplation, where concentrated thought grew around an observed object, eventually finding expression in a prayer that all of us can use. It is a prayer of great wonder. St Philoxenos tells us that, having taken into
our hand that morsel of bread which is the flesh of our Lord, we must bow and worship this living flesh, then intone softly:

"I carry You, Living God, who is Incarnate in the bread, and I
embrace You in my palm, Lord of the worlds whom no world
has contained. You have circumscribed Yourself in a fiery coal
within a fleshly palm, You, Lord, who with Your palm measured
out the dust of the earth. You are Holy, God Incarnate in my
hand in a fiery coal which is Your Body. See, I hold You, though
there is nothing that contains You. A bodily hand embraces You,
Lord of nature whom a fleshly womb embraced. Within a womb
You became a circumscribed body, and now within a hand You
appear to me as a small morsel.
As You have made me worthy to approach You and receive You
- see, my hand embraces You confidently - make me worthy,
Lord, to eat You in a holy manner, to taste the food of Your
Body as a taste of Your Life. Instead of the stomach, a fleshly
chamber, may the womb of my intellect receive You. May You
be conceived in me as You were in the womb of the Virgin, from
whence You appeared as an infant, Your hidden self being
revealed to the world as corporeal fruit. May You also appear in
me and be revealed in me by the fruits of just and spiritual
labour that are pleasing to Your will.
By Your food may my desires be killed. By the drinking of Your
Cup may my passions be quenched, and instead of through the
flesh of my limbs, may my thoughts receive strength from the
nourishment of Your Flesh. Like the manifest members of my
body, may my hidden thoughts be engaged in exercise and
works according to Your living commandments and Your spiritual
laws. From the food of Your Body and the drinking of Your Blood,
may I wax inwardly strong, outwardly excel and attain the full
stature of a human being. May I become perfect, mature in the
intelligence that resides in my spiritual members, my head
being crowned with the crown of the perfection of all my
behaviour. May I be a royal diadem in Your Hands, as You
promised me, O hidden God whose manifestness I embrace in
the perfection of Your Body."

In response to the objection that there are those who receive the Lord's
Holy and Life-giving Body and Blood directly into the mouth from the fingertips of the priest, or that there is no time during the Liturgy afforded to recite such a prayer, let it be said that this prayer is one to be learned by heart, absorbed into the heart, so that it may be uttered in its entirety
at the moment of receiving communion. To paraphrase something St Philoxenos wrote elsewhere, prayer does not consist of verse, song or hymn, for they just serves as the letters and syllables for authentic prayer, which is made real in the inner silence of that spiritual being we become at baptism.

Kirk Yacoub

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