Great art Thou, O Lord, and marvelous are Thy works; and no word suffices to hymn Thy wonders… For Thou art the source of healing, and who can hymn Thy manner of life in this world?
I am earth, ashes, dust, a transgressor, a suicide, who have sinned many times against Thee and continue to do so; yet Thou hast enabled me to grasp something of Thy actions and words; and I dare to ask Thee about them, hoping to see Thee by faith, although Thou art invisible to the whole of creation.
Forgive me my boldness. For Thou knowest, O Lord, Searcher of hearts, that I do not ask out of idle curiosity, but seek to learn, I believe that if I am found worthy of Thy spiritual knowledge, then in Thy compassion Thou wilt grant to me, as Thou dost to all who long for Thee, the strength to imitate Thy life in the flesh; for it is by virtue of Thy incarnation that I by grace am called a Christian….
I hymn Thy birth and her who gave Thee birth: she whom Thou didst preserve a virgin after she gave birth as she was before she gave birth. I worship Thee in the cave, swaddled in the manger.
I glorify Thee, who hast gone down into Egypt with Thy virginal and most pure Mother; who hast lived in Nazareth in obedience to Thy mortal parents, Thy putative father and Thy true mother.
I hymn Thee, baptized in Jordan by John the Forerunner-Thee, Lord, and Thy Father who bore witness to Thee, and Thy Holy Spirit who manifested Thee. I hymn Thy baptism and Thy baptizer John, Thy prophet and Thy servant.
I glorify Thee who didst fast for us, who hast voluntarily accepted temptation and triumphed over the enemy in the body which Thou didst take from us, giving us victory over him in Thy inexpressible wisdom.
~ St Peter of Damaskos, Book 1, A Treasury of Divine Knowledge The Fourth Stage of Contemplation, Philokalia V3.127-129