“Lord Jesus, our God, who wept for Lazarus, and shed for him tears of grief and compassion, accept the tears of my bitterness. By your sufferings assuage my suffering. By your wounds heal my wounds. By your blood cleanse my blood. Pour out on my body the perfume of your life-giving body. For the gall that you were given to drink changes the bitterness of my soul into sweetness. May your body stretched on the wood of the cross draw to you my crushed spirit.… May your sacred hands pierced with the nails … bring me back to you, as you have promised.… May your face, which suffered blows and spittle, enlighten my face that is defiled by my wrongdoing. May your soul, which on the cross you did give back to your Father, lead me by your grace to you.
“I have no broken heart to start me on the quest for you. No penitence, no tenderness … I have no tears with which to pray to you. My spirit is in darkness … my heart is cold … I know not how to make it warm again by tears of love for you. But you, Lord Jesus Christ, my God, do give to me complete repentance, the breaking of my heart, that with my whole soul I may set out in quest of you. Without you I should be without all reality … May the Father who in his womb begot you in eternity renew in me your image.
“I have forsaken you. Do not forsake me. I have wandered far from you. Do set out in quest of me. Lead me back to your pastures with the sheep of your flock. Feed me together with them on the fresh grazing of your mysteries where the pure heart dwells, the heart that bears in it the splendor of your revelations … May we be worthy of such splendor through your grace and by your love for humankind, O Jesus Christ our Savior for ever and ever. Amen” (7th century; Ascetic Treatises, 2).
Isaac of Nineveh’s influence is often known within Western Christianity by way of Fyodor Dostoevsky, who continued his idea of a Christianity capable of providing a real power for transfiguration.