Monday, March 17, 2008

A Spiritual Psalter from the works of our Holy Father Ephraim the Syrian


He Who is from God, God the Word, the only-begotten Son of the Father, of one essence with the Father, of one essence with the Father, Being from Being, ineffably begotten of the Father without a mother before all ages--the very same is born in the last days to a daughter of men, to the Virgin Mary without a father. God is born incarnate, wearing flesh borrowed from her, having become man, which He was not, and remaining God, which He was, in order to save the world. And He is Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of the Father and the only-begotten of His Mother.

I confess One and the Same as both perfect God and perfect Man, in two natures, united in one hypostasis or person, recognized as indivisibly, unconfused and unchangeably God Who was clothed in flesh, animated by an intelligent and rational soul, and came to resemble us in every way except sin.

One and the Same is earthly and heavenly, temporal and eternal, both with and without beginning, timeless and subject to time, created and uncreated, suffering and free of suffering, God and Man and perfect in both. One in two natures, in both Unitary.


The time of my life has been squandered in cares and shameful thoughts. Grant me, O Lord, a cure, that I might be completely healed of my hidden sores. Strengthen me, that I might labor diligently in Thy vineyard, if even only for one hour. For my life in its vanity has already reached its eleventh hour.

Direct my ship and its goods by Thy commandments, and grant me, a worthless merchant, the presence of mind to sell my cargo while there is still time.

The time for sailing is already coming to an end; it is as if I could already hear the voice of the Judge saying to me, who am dissolute: show me now, O slothful one, the goods which you have acquired during your life.

The hour of death terrifies me, who am miserable. For I look at my deeds and my soul trembles; I see my apathy and slothfulness, and my bones stiffen.

The hour of departure looms before mine eyes and I am taken with tremendous fear when I think of it. Instead of rejoicing, I have become more afraid, because when I had grace I did no deeds worthy of God.

Woe is me, O my soul! Why dost thou neglect thy life! Why dost thou spend its numbered days in dissipation? Can it be that thou dost not know that thou wilt be called in a moment? What wilt thou do there after leading a careless life here? With what response wilt thou justify thyself when thou standest before the throne of the terrible Judge? The enemy deceives thee and day by day he steals away thine inheritance, but thou dost fail to comprehend this.

Be sober; come to thy senses and pray to God with tears, calling out to Him with heartfelt grief: grant me, O Lord, to love Thee with all my strength and to serve Thee diligently, fulfilling Thy holy commandments, that when my hour of departure arrives, Thou mightest find me ready and waiting to meet Thee with great joy, and Thou mightest lead me into Thine eternal kingdom to rejoice with all the saints who have been pleasing to Thee.


Save me, O Long-suffering Lord! Save me, Son of God, sinless Christ! And grant me contemplation of eternal life that, having nothing else than this thought in my heart, I, a sinner, might always do Thy will, assisted by Thy grace; and that I might willingly walk in Thy precepts, that I might use the talent which Thou, O Heavenly King, hast given me to good purpose and, having brought a profit by investing it well, that I might be found worthy to be praised by Thee, O Master. And when Thou comest, O Lord, might I say boldly and with a pure heart: blessed am I, that Thou hast come, O Master!

At Thy wedding, O Lord, clothe me in a worthy garment, which Thy grace will prepare for me while I am still here. Vouchsafe me then to light a lamp, given me by Thy generosity.

Thus with joy will I go out to meet Thee, glorifying and blessing Thee, with the hope that I will be a co-communicant with the righteous and the saints who have been pleasing to Thee through the ages.


The debts of those who ask for pardon are forgiven. But see that you do not harbor hatred for your brethren when you ask forgiveness of your debts.

Prayers that are offered up to God remain behind closed doors if they do not contain love, for only love can open the doors for prayer.

If your brother is angry with you, then the Lord also is angry with you. And if you have made peace with your brother below, then you have made peace also with the Lord on high. If you receive your brother, then you also receive your Lord.

Thus, make peace with the Lord in the person of those who are offended; give Him cause to be glad in the person of those who sorrow; visit Him in the person of those who are infirm; feed Him in the person of those who hunger.

In the person of a weary traveler, prepare a soft bed for Him, wash His feet, seat Him at the head of your table, break your bread and share it with Him, and give Him also your cup.

He has already shown His great love for you; He has broken His body for you and given you His blood to drink.

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