I put my body through its paces like a war horse; I keep it clean, sturdy, prepared. I harden it and I pity it. I have no other steed.
I keep my brain wide awake, lucid, unmerciful. I unleash it to battle relentlessly so that, all light, it may devour the darkness of the flesh. I have no other workshop where I may transform darkness into light.
I keep my heart flaming, courageous, restless. I feel in my heart all commotions and all contradictions, the joys and sorrows of life. But I struggle to subdue them to a rhythm superior to that of the mind, harsher than that of my heart – to the ascending rhythm of the Universe.
The Cry within me is a call to arms. It shouts: “I, the Cry, am the Lord your God! I am not an asylum. I am not hope and a home. I am not the Father nor the Son nor the Holy Ghost. I am your General!
“You are not my slave, nor a plaything in my hands. You are not my friend, you are not my child. You are my comrade-in-arms!
“Hold courageously the passes which I entrusted to you; do not betray them. You are in duty bound, and you may act heroically by remaining at your own battle station.
“Love danger. What is most difficult? That is what I want! Which road should you take? The most craggy ascent! It is the one I also take: follow me!
“Learn to obey. Only he who obeys a rhythm superior to his own is free.
“Learn to command. Only he who can give commands may represent me here on earth.
“Love responsibility. Say: ‘It is my duty, and mine alone, to save the earth. If it is not saved, then I alone am to blame.”
My prayer is not the whimpering of a beggar nor a confession of love. Nor is it the trivial reckoning of a small tradesman: Give me and I shall give you.
My prayer is the report of a soldier to his general: This is what I did today, this is how I fought to save the entire battle in my own sector, these are the obstacles I found, this is how I plan to fight tomorrow.
My God and I are horsemen galloping in the burning sun or under drizzling rain. Pale, starving, but unsubdued, we ride and converse.
“Leader!” I cry. He turns his face towards me, and I shudder to confront his anguish.
Our love for each other is rough and ready, we sit at the same table, we drink the same wine in this low tavern of life.
- From The Saviors of God: Spiritual Exercises by Nikos Kazantzakis