One day in winter, I left my monastery and braved the highways of San Jose to meet up with my spiritual director in Cupertino and make a general confession of my sins, and as I drove, heart pounding, I heard (on a CD another brother had left in the car) this heart-rending rendition of Psalm 103, sung by the monachói of St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery, Florence, Arizona. God’s mercy is so great: “from eternity, even unto eternity!” At the very moment I was preparing, with “fear and trembling,” to pour out a lifetime of sins at the feet of the Father, I hear a distant voice chanting, as if carried on the wind over a vast and lonely desert or the Spirit hovering over the waters of my heart: “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our iniquities from us.”
Bonus: the most beautiful Kyrie I have ever heard, sung by Serbian Orthodox musician Divna Ljubojevic.
Pray for unity in the Church! The East is such a treasury of beauty for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. How true that “the Church must breathe with both lungs”—East and West, mystical and prophetic.
Distressed by exile or sickness, the soul recounts God’s infinite kindness and is calmed by the knowledge that its merciful Father in heaven is loving and forgiving and can effect any redemption or cure.
Bless the LORD, O my soul; blessed art Thou, O LORD! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all that He hath done for thee. Who is gracious unto all thine inquities, Who healeth all thine infirmities. Who redeemeth thy life from corruption, Who crowneth thee with mercy and compassion. Who fulfilleth thy desire with good things; Thy youth shall be renewed as the eagle’s. The LORD performeth deeds of mercy and executeth judgment for all them that are wronged. He hath made his ways known unto Moses, unto the sons of Israel the things that he hath willed. Compassionate and merciful is the LORD, long-suffering and plenteous in mercy. Not unto the end will He be angered, Neither unto eternity will He be wronged. Not according to our iniquities hath He dealth with us, Neither according to our sins hath He rewarded us. For according to the height of heaven from the earth, the LORD hath made His mercy to prevail over them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our iniquities from us. Like as a father hath compassion upon his sons, so hath the LORD compassion upon them that fear Him. For He knoweth whereof we are made, He hath remembered that we are dust. As for men, his deeds are as the grass—as a flower of the field, so shall he blossom forth. For when the wind hath passed over it, then it shall be gone, and no longer will it know the place thereof. But the mercy of the Lord is from eternity, even unto eternity, upon them that fear Him. And His righteousness is upon sons of sons, upon them that keep His testament and remember His commandments to do them. The LORD in heaven hath prepared His throne, and His kingdom ruleth over all. Bless the Lord, all you His angels, mighty in strength, that perform His word, who hear the voice of His words. Bless the LORD, all ye His hosts, His ministers that do His will. Bless the LORD, all ye His works, in every place of His dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul! Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Blessed art Thou, O Lord!