Rorate Caeli

Ecce ego, quia vocasti me

"Et adiecit Dominus, et vocavit adhuc Samuelem tertio. Qui consurgens abiit ad Heli, et ait: 'Ecce ego, quia vocasti me.' Intellexit ergo Heli quia Dominus vocaret puerum: et ait ad Samuelem: 'Vade, et dormi: et si deinceps vocaverit te, dices: Loquere, Domine, quia audit servus tuus.' Abiit ergo Samuel, et dormivit in loco suo. Et venit Dominus, et stetit: et vocavit, sicut vocaverat secundo: 'Samuel, Samuel.' Et ait Samuel: 'Loquere, Domine, quia audit servus tuus'." (I Samuel iii, 8-10 - from the Second Lesson for Matins, Saturday in the Week after the Octave of Pentecost: "And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose up and went to Heli. And said: 'Here am I: for thou didst call me.' Then Heli understood that the Lord called the child, and he said to Samuel: 'Go, and sleep: and if he shall call thee any more, thou shalt say: Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.' So Samuel went and slept in his place. And the Lord came and stood: and he called, as he had called the other times: 'Samuel, Samuel'. And Samuel said: 'Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth'.")

Loquere, Domine, quia audit servus tuus ['Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth.'] I am Thy servant; O give me understanding that I may know Thy testimonies. Incline my heart unto the words of Thy mouth. Let thy speech distil as the dew. The children of Israel spake in old time to Moses, "Speak thou unto us and we will hear, but let not the Lord speak unto us lest we die". Not thus, O Lord, not thus do I pray, but rather with Samuel the prophet, I beseech Thee humbly and earnestly, Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth. Let not Moses speak to me, nor any prophet, but rather speak Thou, O Lord, who didst inspire and illuminate all the prophets; for Thou alone without them canst perfectly fill me with knowledge, whilst they without Thee shall profit nothing.

They can indeed utter words, but they give not the spirit. They speak with exceeding beauty, but when Thou art silent they kindle not the heart. They give us scriptures, but Thou makest known the sense thereof. They bring us mysteries, but Thou revealest the things which are signified. They utter commandments, but Thou helpest to the fulfilling of them. They show the way, but Thou givest strength for the journey. They act only outwardly, but Thou dost instruct and enlighten the heart. They water, but Thou givest the increase. They cry with words, but Thou givest understanding to the hearer. 

Therefore let not Moses speak to me, but Thou, O Lord my God, Eternal Truth; lest I die and bring forth no fruit, being outwardly admonished, but not enkindled within; lest the word heard but not followed, known but not loved, believed but not obeyed, rise up against me in the judgment. Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth; Thou hast the words of eternal life. Speak unto me for some consolation unto my soul, for the amendment of my whole life, and for the praise and glory and eternal honour of Thy Name.

"My Son, hear My words, for My words are most sweet, surpassing all the knowledge of the philosophers and wise men of this world. My words are spirit, and they are life, and are not to be weighed by man's understanding. They are not to be drawn forth for vain approbation, but to be heard in silence, and to be received with all humility and with deep love."

And I said, "Blessed is the man whom Thou teachest, O Lord, and instructest him in Thy law, that Thou mayest give him rest in time of adversity, and that he be not desolate in the earth."

"I," saith the Lord, "taught the prophets from the beginning, and even now cease I not to speak unto all; but many are deaf and hardened against My voice; many love to listen to the world rather than to God, they follow after the desires of the flesh more readily than after the good pleasure of God. The world promiseth things that are temporal and small, and it is served with great eagerness. I promise things that are great and eternal, and the hearts of mortals are slow to stir. Who serveth and obeyeth Me in all things, with such carefulness as he serveth the world and its rulers?

"Be thou ashamed, O Sidon, saith the sea;
And if thou reason seekest, hear thou me."
De Imitatione Christi, III, ii-iii