Saturday, March 22, 2008

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


Blessed is he whom Thou givest understanding according to Thy love, O Lord, for Thou dost not turn away from those whom Thou lovest. Turn not away from me, either, O Lord, that the evil one might not destroy me.

According to Thy goodness have compassion on me who am infirm, and vouchsafe me forgiveness of my many sins; that, with all who have been pleasing to Thee, I might also glorify Thy goodness.

Have compassion, O Lord, according to Thy goodness; and have mercy on all of us who have been rejected by Thy Truth because we failed to observe Thy word; though, if we had observed it, we would have received salvation.

I too have been spurned with all such men, even more so than they. Yet make me worthy according to Thy grace to receive forgiveness of sins and, on the strength of this forgiveness, hope for salvation.

With love have I daily contemplated Thy word. Make me worthy to exclaim together with the righteous ones this song of benediction: Praise to Him Who had mercy on me! Glory to Him Who has forgiven me!

The heights bless Thee, the depths magnify Thee; all things venerate Thee, for all was created by Thee. Everything sings praises to Thee, O kindhearted Lord!


Have mercy on me, O god, according to Thy great mercy, and according to the multitude of thy compassions, blot out my transgression. For if Thou wilt have mercy on me and free me from the pitiful affliction of the passions--if only Thou wilt have mercy on me, then will I willingly obey Thy grace.

If Thou wilt do this according to the greatness of Thy goodness, then wilt Thou deliver me. If Thou wilt pour out upon me Thy goodness, I will be saved.

I am certain that this is possible for Thee. I know that Thou hast forgiven and dost forgive all who turn to Thee with all their strength.

I confess that I have enjoyed the benefits of Thy grace many times already; but each time I have rejected Thy grace and sinned as no other has sinned.

But Thou, Who hast resurrected the dead, raise also me who am deadened by sin. Thou Who hast healed the blind, enlighten the clouded eyes of my heart. Thou Who hast delivered Adam from the mouth of the serpent, pull me out of the mire of mine iniquities; for I too belong among Thy sheep, though I have by my own free choice become food for lions.

Sins have made of me a dog; but, healed by Thy grace, I will become Thy son. I was thrown out like a corpse, but if Thou so desirest I will be brought to life.

I know that I have sinned consciously, but I have Thy saints to pray for me. I know that I exceed every measure with my sins, but Thy goodness is unsurpassable.

Thou Who hast preferred the publican, prefer also me, who recognize that I have done many more vile deeds than he. Thou, O Lord, hadst mercy on Zacchaeus who was unworthy. Likewise have mercy on me who am also unworthy.

Paul was once a wolf, and chased the sheep of Thy flock; but according to Thy grace he became a pastor who diligently cared for the sheep.

I know that he sinned in ignorance, and that he was vouchsafed forgiveness of his sins and much grace because of his ignorance. But thou, O Lord, condemn my sin committed in knowledge, and have mercy on me according to Thine exceedingly abundant grace.


Blessed is he who has illumined the eyes of his heart, and always sees the Lord in himself as in a mirror. Such a man will be relieved of passions and evil thoughts.

Blessed is he who loves good and beautiful speech but hates words that are shameful and corrupting, for he will not be taken captive by the evil one.

Blessed is he who instructs his neighbor in the fear of God and does not seduce his soul, for he is ever wary of the great Pastor's iron staff.

Blessed is he who is obedient to his neighbor in accordance with God's will and gratefully suffers offence, for such a man will be crowned as a confessor of the Lord.

Blessed is he who loves abstinence in accordance with God's will and is not subject to condemnation as a corrupt sensualist on account of his belly, for such a man will be magnified in the Lord.

Blessed is he who does not intoxicate himself with wine, but is ever glad in remembrance of the Lord, in Whom all the saints rejoice unceasingly.

Blessed is he who manages his possessions in accordance with God's will, and does not lay himself open to condemnation from the Savior as a miser lacking compassion for his neighbor.

Blessed is he who is vigilant in prayer, reading and good works; he will be enlightened and will not fall asleep unto death.

Blessed is he who has become a marvelous spiritual net and caught many for the good Master; greatly will he be praised in the Lord.

Blessed is he who has become a marvelous example for his neighbor and has not injured the conscience of his fellow servants with indecent acts; he will be blessed in the Lord.


O Judge, Whose judgement is righteous, and to Whom is known all that is concealed: condemn me not at Thy righteous judgement, when all secrets will be exposed!

With the tears that she brought to Thee, the harlot destroyed the record of her transgressions. Behold, I too bring Thee a gift of tears. Accept them from me, O Lord, as Thou didst accept them from her.

The evil one has deceived me with his caresses and has taken my mind captive with his seductions. Drive him away from me, who am miserable, O our Lord; snatch me from his hands, that he might not tear me to shreds.

Judge me, O Lord, and settle my dispute with the merciless enemy. He has made me a target for his arrows. According to Thy compassion, may those arrows gore him instead.

Be my helper, O Lord, for I am miserable and have no other helper. And do not let the enemy see me vanquished and mock me, as he mocked our foremother.

Woe is me if all my secrets are revealed and subjected to scrutiny then, when no justification will be considered. My spirit shudders, O Lord, for I hear that fire will consume the Lawless, and I am straw and haw. And if Thou O Lord wilt regard my sins, I shall perish

May Thy goodness, O Lord, that once lifted Thee onto the cross for the redemption of our race, forestall me who am miserable, that I might be vouchsafed forgiveness of my sins.

Thou, O Jesus, hast redeemed all with Thy blood; and by Thy death hast Thou bound the powerful adversary. Release me from the fetters of the evil one; break his shackles and bonds.

Rebuke him so that he will withdraw from me, who am miserable, that his will might not be realized in me. Bring my will into accord with Thine, O Lord, Who blottest out my sins by Thy loving-kindness.

Do not leave me in the hands of the malefactor, and give him no authority over me; for Thou hast prepared Thy flesh and blood as food for me, and Thy cross is imprinted on my brow.

Strengthen me, O Lord, for I am infirm. Blot out my transgressions, for greatly have I sinned. Make chaste my senses, that they might submissively and unwaveringly follow the royal path.

May Thy light shine in my thoughts; may they be illumined by Thy rays, and may Thy magnificent radiance gladden them, for Thou art the sun that irradiates all.

Cleanse our stains with Thy hyssop, wash our sores with Thy blood, sanctify the secret workings of our thoughts with Thy body.

Praise be to Thee, Who hast redeemed the human race which had perished, lifted it upon Thy shoulders and carried it into the house of Thy Father.

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