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Contemplations on the Third Canticle’s Psali Watos for the Three Saintly Youth (Tenoueh ensok).

With all our heart we follow You

With all our heart we follow You,
We fear You;
And seek Your presence,
God, do not put us to shame.

Following You, Lord, is the best determination a person can make. Since You know all hearts, we follow You with all our hearts in fear unto eternity. I ask you to search my heart and allow me to accept thee as my Lord and Saviour.  Why do we fear You? I fear You because who am I to be worthy of You Lord? I am nothing! I am not worthy of Your Son’s blood. I am the lost man who is seeking Your presence. Your presence is as the shining sun, which reigns light on our hearts and minds. We follow this array of light until the end of our time.  We ask that You lead us into Your Kingdom, Lord, and away from this vain world. Our hearts will rejoice when we find You. Please, Lord, do not leave us at any moment, because moments are all we have. We hold on to every moment with You as our guide. Lead us to find You, O Lord, and we ask You to allow the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, to burn in us. Amen.

But deal with us

But deal with us,
In Your patience,
And in Your abundant mercy,
O Lord, help us.

I ask You, Lord, to not forsake us or forget about us. I ask You, Lord, to help us always, even when we don’t deserve it. I ask You, Lord, to work in us. Deal with us, O Lord, not according to our sins, but according to Your mercy. I ask You to deal with us because God’s mercy is as great as the never-ending oceans. He is meek in all His ways, even the ones that you never expected. God has a plan for each one of us; all He requires is that we ask Him. O Lord, we trust that You will help us when we ask. We pray without ceasing that You open our hearts to realize that all we need is You. Amen.

May our prayers ascend to You

May our prayers ascend to You,
O our Master,
As burnt offerings of lambs,
And bulls.

In the Old Testament, the prayers and repentance of the Jews were accepted with burnt offerings of fat lambs and bulls. But today, how do our prayers ascend outside of the Temple? They ascend through the cross, of course! When we walk in the way of the cross, our prayers ascend to You, O Lord. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, offered Himself as an acceptable sacrifice for us, and so when we pray in the Name of Christ, our prayers are offered through His sacrifice, which is of far great value than all the blood shed by lambs and bulls. You, O Lord, are the True Lamb, who allowed us to have the blessing of knowing You, and we are more blessed that You hear our prayers, which are pronounced from an undeserving sinners’ lips. We pray that our prayers reach to Your ear, O God, through the power of the cross. Amen.

Do not annul the covenant

Do not annul the covenant,
Which you have made with our fathers,
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
Israel Your holy one.

Just as You made a covenant with our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, which is an example of Your relationship with whom You love (that is, Your creation), do not forget us. We, who have wandered astray, who forgot about Your great covenant with our fathers, and yet here we are, we ask You not to forget us. Allow us to keep to the covenant, which you reminded Jacob of, which you had made with his father Isaac and grandfather Abraham. Since Israel is considered Your holy one, then we are destined to be holy ones as well. But how do we fulfill this role? I pray that we may choose to obey You, Lord, and that we may become as the wise man who built his house on the rock through which we hope to commit to this everlasting covenant.

Bless the Lord all you nations

Bless the Lord all you nations,
The tribes and all the kinds of tongues,
Praise Him and glorify Him,
Above all forever.

“Praise the Lord, all you nations! Extol him, all you peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever” (Ps. 117).

How breathtaking it is to see people from all nations, praising the Lord in all kinds of tongues! Although we speak in different tongues, we are united in one language, which is praise. The Lord has surely brought salvation to all of mankind. Through the wood of the cross, humanity, beginning with Adam and throughout all generations, was freed from the bondage of Satan. The Holy Mother herself cried out saying: “the world rejoices in that it has received salvation” (Litany of the Compline Prayer).

He remembered humanity on the Cross, as He bore the pain on our behalf. Yet, in the midst of the nations and the people of mankind, He remembered me, the sinner. You, my King, offered Yourself on my behalf, and accepted death because of the sins that I committed. You loved me Lord to death, and redeemed me from the pangs of death. What could I offer, O Lord? Accept, O Lord, this humble sacrifice of praise. For as the Psalmist says: “you shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness.” Therefore, I shall join the nations and tribes of the world, the congregation of the faithful, praising the Lord who is worthy and righteous, saying: “Praise Him and exalt Him, above all.”

Pray to the Lord on our behalf

Pray to the Lord on our behalf,
O three saintly youth,
Shedrach Meshach and Abednego,
That He may forgive us our sins.

Out of ignorance, Nebuchadnezzar commanded that all peoples, nations, language to worship the golden statue. The Lord God revealed His power and glory to the king and all his people. He does not forget His children. He appeared like the Son of Man in the midst of the furnace, protecting His children, and thus saving Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, from death.

“If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us” (Dan. 3:17). How often are we tempted to deny the Lord to please men? How often do I fear men more than the Creator of men? Surely these powerful words spoken by you, O blessed saints, were the fruit of your deep love and faith in the Lord. Your submission to His will, O blessed saints, has indeed done good towards you and many.

The Lord Christ taught us saying, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Mt. 5:16).  Because of their good works, even the King who ordered that all the peoples of all nations to bow down to the golden statue praised the Lord and proclaimed: “for there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way” (Dan. 3:29). These same nations today, praise and glorify the Lord God, because of the salvation He has brought unto humanity, freeing us from Satan, and once again granting us to enter Paradise. How awesome are your ways, O Lord? How magnificent are your wonders?

Pray to the Lord on our behalf, O three blessed saints, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that we may shine as Sons of the Light, that the Lord may strengthen us in temptations and deliver us from enemies, and forgive us our sins, Amen.