A Prayer of St. Nilus of Sora

St. Nilus of Sora 1443-1508

But, O soul, whatever time you still have, give up your shameless deeds and convert yourself to a noble life. Turn to the Lord and cry out with faith: “I have sinned, Lord. But I know your mercy and love for men. For this reason, I fall down and beg your goodness to grant me mercy, O Lord! For my soul will be confused and will be sick at my having turned away from my repentance and at my wicked bodily deeds. May the evil powers never capture me and cast me into darkness for my invisible and visible sins of my whole earthly life.

Have mercy on me, O Master, and do not let my soul ever look upon the ugly countenances of the evil demons, but let your radiant and most glorious angels receive me. You have authority to forgive sins. Forgive me my sins. Let my sin never again be before You for because of my weakness I have sinned in word and in deed and in thought, deliberately and indeliberately. May I turn toward you when I am divested of my body and not be found with any filth on the image of my soul. And may the hand of the dark prince of this world never receive me, a sinner, and drag me into the depths of hell, but may you stand before me and be my Savior and Protector!

Have mercy, O Lord, on my soul, stained by the passions of this life, and receive it, purified by repentance and confession. And by Your power conduct me before your divine judgment seat. And when You come down, God, upon this earth in glory, You will sit on Your throne, O Merciful One, to pass your just judgment; we shall all stand naked before your wise judgment. When you will begin to examine our sinfulness, then, O most Good One, do not expose my secret thoughts, nor disgrace me before the angels and all other human beings, but spare me, O God, and show me your mercy.

As much as I meditate on your judgment, O Good One, I am filled with fear for the day of the terrifying judgment. My conscience condemns me and the evil of my deeds fills me with over whelming remorse. I am gripped with confusion as to how I shall answer You, O Immortal King, for I incurred Your wrath. How shall I look upon You in the terrible Last Judgment with such boldness, for I have been filthy and a fornicator? But, O Lord, good and compassionate Father, Only-begotten Son and Holy Spirit, have mercy on me and free me then from the inextinguishable fire and allow me to stand at your right hand, O just Judge. (Nil Sorsky, The Complete Writings: Have Mercy on Me, O Master!)