Monasteries of the Heart

"You free us from the dread of death"

"You free us from the dread of death"

Fr. Ioannis's picture
"Our life returns to us abundantly"

"You free us from the dread of death,
and make this life a door. You grant
our very flesh a fallow season,
then gather all at the last horn's blast.
You sow the earth with these our bodies,
shaped by Your own Hand. You bring
the harvest in, transforming death into
abundant life, all defect into beauty.

Bearing our curse, becoming sin,
You loose us from both the burden
of the law and from our lawlessness.
You bruise the serpent's head,
and snatch us from its grip. You open
the way to resurrection, shattering

the gates of hell. You slay the one
who held death's power, give comfort
to those who honour You. You give the holy cross
by which our enemy is slain, by which
our life returns to us abundantly."

Thanks and glory be to You.

~all but concluding doxology are by the hand of St. Makrina the Younger [c. 327 - + 379 AD], eldest of ten siblings, spiritual mother and confessor, as well as wise theologian. Two of her saintly brothers -- +Basil called "the Great" and +Gregory identified by his diocese "of Nyssa" -- said that they considered her their principal inspiration and counsel for having dedicated their own lives to God and the Church.

Along with another saintly brother, +Peter of Sebaste, Makrina founded twin monasteries -- one for women and one for men -- which lay on opposite shores of the River Iris in ancient Cappadocia of Asia Minor [modern-day Turkey].

The translation is by Scott Cairns, and appears in his collated anthology, Love's Immensity: Mystics of the Endless Life, Brewster, MA.: Paraclete Press, 2007, pp. 31-2.