“As one community let us pray to the Lord.”

“As one community, all together without distinction of class, free from enmity, all united in brotherly love, let us pray,” thought Natasha.

“For the world above and the salvation of our souls!”

“For the world of angels and the souls of all spiritual beings who live above us,” prayed Natasha.

When they prayed for the army, she thought of her brother and Denisov. When they prayed for all travelling by sea and by land, she thought of Prince Andrey, and prayed for him, and prayed that God would forgive her the wrong she had done him. When they prayed for all who love us, she prayed for all her family, her father and mother, and Sonya—for the first time feeling all the shortcomings in her behaviour to them, and all the strength of her own love for them. When they prayed for those who hate us, she tried to think of enemies, to pray for them. She reckoned as enemies all her father’s creditors, and every one who had business relations with him; and always at the thought of enemies who hated her she thought of Anatole, who had done her so cruel an injury, and though he had not hated her, she prayed gladly for him, as an enemy. It was only at her prayers that she felt able to think calmly and clearly either of Prince Andrey or of Anatole, with a sense that her feelings for them were as nothing compared with her feeling of worship and awe of God. When they prayed for the Imperial family and the Synod, she bowed and crossed herself more devoutly than ever, telling herself that if she did not comprehend, she could not doubt, and anyway loved the Holy Synod and prayed for it.

When the litany was over, the deacon crossed his stole over his breast and pronounced:

“Ourselves and our life we offer up to Christ the Lord!”

“Ourselves we offer up to God,” Natasha repeated in her heart. “My God, I give myself unto Thy keeping!” she thought. “I ask for nothing, I desire nothing; teach me how to act, how to do Thy will! Yes, take me; take me to Thee!” Natasha said, with devout impatience in her heart. She did not cross herself, but stood with her thin arms hanging down, as though in expectation every moment that an unseen force would come and carry her off and rescue her from herself, from her regrets and desires and remorse and hopes and sins.

Several times during the service the countess looked round at her daughter’s devout face and shining eyes, and prayed to God to help her.

To the general surprise, in the middle of the service, which Natasha knew so well, the deacon brought forward the little bench, from which they repeated the prayers, kneeling, on Trinity Day, and set it before the sanctuary doors. The priest advanced in his lilac velvet calotte, threw back his hair, and, with an effort, dropped on his knees. All the congregation did the same, looking at one another in surprise. There followed the prayer, which had just been received from the Synod, the prayer for the delivery of Russia out of the hands of the enemy.

“Lord God of our might, God of our salvation,” began the priest in that clear, mild, unemphatic voice, that is only used by the Slavonic priesthood, and has such an indescribable effect on the Russian heart.

“Lord God of might, God of our salvation! Look in grace and blessing on Thy humble people, and hear with loving-kindness, and spare and have mercy on us. The foe is confounding Thy land, and is fain to rise up against all the earth and lay it waste. These lawless men are gathered together to overwhelm Thy kingdom, to destroy Thy holy Jerusalem, Thy beloved Russia: to defile Thy temples, to overturn the altars and violate our holy shrines. How long, O Lord, how long shall the wicked prevail? How long shall they wreak their sinful will?

  By PanEris using Melati.

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