My heart was hard, and my mind was fuzzy.
Nothing proved a comfort, and I remained for that wretched season
shut in on all sides, stifled, gasping for breath.
Regardless, the grace of God arrives
rushing to the soul
when its endurance is exhausted.
Of a dreary morning, I stood gazing round the courtyard, pleading God for assistance;
suddenly I turned toward the broad monastery and saw one
dressed as though a bishop
enter the open doors, as though borne on wings.
He touched me on the chest and tapped my tender breastbone saying aloud:
I waited, I waited patiently for the Lord
And he stooped down to me.
He heard my cry.
He drew me from the deadly pit, from the mire and clay.
He set my feet upon a rock and made my footsteps firm.
He put a new song into my mouth, new praise of our God.
He spoke these lines three times, tapping me each time on the tender breastbone.
Then, he turned and was gone, and instantly,
light flooded my mind,
and joy split my heart with an awful, aching sweetness.
–St. Dorotheos of Gaza, early church monk and movement leader (490-560)