Tuesday, March 25, 2008

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


If you have not yet become mightily inflamed with the Holy Spirit, avoid listening to the thoughts of others, that what you hear might not arouse passions not yet dead and pervert your soul.

If you are an ardent reader, seek not brilliant and erudite texts; otherwise the demon of haughtiness will strike your heart. But like a wise bee that gathers honey from flowers, through your reading obtain also healing for your soul.

Blessed is he who preaches virtue by means of his deeds. But if you say something that pertains to virtue, but do the opposite, this will not save you.

When you see people dissipated in acts of unclean love, look not at them in amazement, that you might not be seduced by rosy skin which will soon turn to dust. Rather sigh to yourself and cry out: Remember, O Lord, that we are dust--and God's grace will prevent you from becoming a prisoner of the Evil One.

Pray diligently to the Lord, that He might grant you the spirit of perfect chastity, that even as you dream at night you might evade the wiles of the Evil One as a person runs when he sees a wild beast chasing after him; or as a man whose pursuer carries a burning torch runs from room to room, that the fire might not burn him.

Just as one cannot buy education or artistic skills for any price without working at it, so one cannot attain the habit of exercising the virtues without zeal and diligence.

Just as your head takes priority over all other members of your body, and if a stone, stick or sword is aimed at you, you raise other members of your body to deflect the blow from your head, knowing that you cannot live in this life without your head--so may you give priority over all things to faith in the Holy Trinity Which is One in essence, for without this faith no one can live the true life.

With all your heart hope on the Lord, and you will easily evade the wiles of the wicked one, for the Lord does not forsake those who work for Him.


With the eyes of my heart have I seen the Lord sitting in great glory and I seemed to hear Him say to my soul: how can it be, O soul, that thou hast found thy heavenly bridal chamber, filled with the light of glory, abhorrent? How can it be that thou wast repelled by the good things that I have prepared for thee in the land of life? How can it be that thou hast become alienated from Me through indecent deeds and thoughts? How can it be that thou carest not to prepare thyself to stand worthily before Me in MY coming? How can it be that thou dost not keep thy lamp ready in expectation of the call: Behold, the bridegroom cometh--so that thou mightest go out to meet Me with joy? How can it be that thou takest no pains to prepare a proper wedding garment? How can it be that thou dost not prepare thyself to enter with joy into the holy, heavenly bridal chamber? How can it be that thou dost not join thyself to Me, Who have redeemed thee from death?

I have partaken of death in order to prepare thee as My bride. I have prepared the eternal kingdom for thee as an inheritance. All My good things have I, as the King, bestowed upon thee. For thy sake I even became a man, for I desired to redeem thy life from corruption. For thee have i prepared a bridal chamber in the heavens and arranged for the angels to lead thee into that bridal chamber, that though mightest enter therein with joy.

Yet hast thou turned away from me, from thy Groom, and from the ineffable good things that I have prepared fro thee.

But who is more desirable than I, Who save all creation through My compassion? What father gives life as I do? Yet thou hast left Me, O soul, and loved another, a despicable stranger.

Who would not begin to tremble in terror upon hearing these words?

Who would not fall down ashamed, shed tears and cry out: for what purpose did I come forth from my mother's womb--to anger the Good, Holy and kindhearted God?

But, O Lord, grant that we may be sobered and detach ourselves es from vain cares, that we may come to our senses and return to Thee, in Whom alone lies all true good for our sake.


Hearken, O Master, unto my lamentation, and receive the words of my prayer, which I, a sinner, bring to Thee, Who art longsuffering and all-merciful.

Do not with me according to my deeds; remember not my great transgressions, by which I have embittered Thy grace exceedingly, O all-good Master.

Thy grace endured the sins of my youth, which were great in number. May it endure also my indiscretion, heedlessness, and carelessness.

By Thy compassion hast Thou vowed, O Master and Lover of men, that Thou desirest not the death of a sinner, but that he should return to Thee and live. By Thy compassion mayest Thou be moved to have mercy and compassion also on me who am a sinner.

Behold, O Christ our Savior, the fountains of my tears, the contrition and sighs of my unworthy soul! May thy mercy come and shelter me before the terrible verdict of death finds me unprepared and ashamed.

May Thy grace grant me some time for true repentance. For thy grace is wont to have mercy on every sinner who sheds tears, and to forgive him all the sins he has committed. Do this, that I too might bring Thee the fruit of repentance.

Draw me toward life and save me. Grant that with a pure heart I might serve Thee all the days of my life and that, having pleased Thee well with good deeds, I might be vouchsafed both to pass through this life and to enter into the eternal bliss which Thou hast prepared for all Thy saints who have pleased Thee in every generation.


O Virgin Lady and Mother of God, thou who didst bear Christ our Savior and God in thy womb, I place all my hope on thee; in thee do I trust, for thou art higher than all the powers of heaven. Thou, who art All-Pure, protect me by thine all-powerful prayers.

Direct my life and lead me on the path indicated by the holy will of thy Son and our God.

Grant me remission of sins, be to me a refuge, a protection, a defense, and a directress, guiding me along the path to eternal life.

Do not leave me in the terrible hour of death, O my Lady, but rush to my aid, rescue me from the bitter torments of the demons. For if thou so choosest, thou hast the power to do this, for thou art truly the Mother of God who reignest over all.

Cease not to pray for all of us, thine unworthy servants, that we might be delivered from all the wiles of the Evil One and from all extremity, and that we might remain unwounded by all his venomous attacks.

Preserve us uncondemned to the end by thy prayers that, saved by thy help and intercession, we might forever send up glory, praise, thanks and honor to the One God in Trinity, to the Creator of all.

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