Saturday, March 29, 2008

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


Unto Thee do I cry, O Lord; despise not my pitiful supplication. Unto Thee do I stretch forth my defiled hands. Cast not away me who repent, but regard me with thy love for men and accept me with thine ardent kindness.

I have defiled myself with the sensuality of sin, disgraced the beauty of my soul, enslaved myself to carnal desires, destroyed the former dominion by heeding the libelous enemy, darkened the radiance of my nature: and, though I was honored to be counted as a son of God, I have made myself like unto the unreasoning beasts.

Terror, fear and trembling embrace me when I imagine the harvest of death that imperceptibly approaches us all; yet I remain incorrigible.

Be merciful to me, O Lover of me! In Thee alone do I lay all my hope. Grant that I might repent and be corrected and bring forth the fruits of repentance, that when the end comes I may not be cut down like a fruitless tree, or thrown into the fire like weeds; but like wheat may I be gathered into Thy storehouse.

I bow my knee and heart, and dare not look upon heaven. Accept the supplication of unclean lips, O my only Sinless Creator! Thou, O King of all, Who hast overthrown mutinous Belial, deliver me from all manner of iniquity. when they behold my conversion, angels and mortals will celebrate Thy glory.

I have scorned Thy life-giving commandments and been seduced by shameful deeds; but, Good Master, disdain not to deliver me from the Evil One's slavery.

I have made myself wholly a slave of the sins of sensuality; I have defiled body and soul. Daily do I cry: I have sinned, yet I cease not to engage in vile acts. And now I stand before Thee as one condemned.

Grant me, O Good One, forgiveness of my wicked deeds, for Thou art a kindhearted and man- befriending God.


Who will cure my soul if not Thou, O Christ, the only Physician of souls! Where will I find a remedy for the diseases of my soul, if not with Thee, O fountain of healing! Thou Who didst cure the ailing woman, cure also my soul from the ruin of sin.

May thy compassion descend on me and help me to overthrow my enemy. Fortify me who am infirm by the strength of thine arm, and the Evil One will be ashamed when he sees that I am prepared for battle. Animate me and the Evil One will be humiliated. In shame will he be turned back, and I will glorify thy name.

Accept the tears of my wretchedness and blot out the record of my debts, and again will the enemy be ashamed, seeing that Thy loving-kindness has destroyed the fruit of his wicked deeds and that I will not be punished.

May Thy compassion come to mine aid, that I might pass safely through the realm of temptations, and that I might thereafter be close to Thee, with Thee always.

My sinful soul will glorify Thee and Thy Father and the Holy Spirit, for she has wept and been heard, and, washed with tears of repentance, she has been made a temple inhabited by the Divinity Which has created the world.


No advantages do you offer those who love you, O world, you dwelling-place of sorrows. All who draw near to you do you seduce with our treasures and with all your delights, but in the day of death both the fair countenance of the beautiful and the might of the strong will be cast down into the grave. Woe to him who loves you and is loved by you, for his joy will be transformed into cries.

In the world--that sea of sin--all my days have passed in vain. My life has gone by without bringing me any profit. I have even forgotten about the day of death. I have whirled about and gathered a burden of sins, whole sheaves of tares destined to be consumed by fire. And behold--lamentation and sighs await me in that land full of horrors.

Because I have loved you, O cunning world, from my youth through my old age, the time of my life has passed without my notice; and lo, in sin will death steal me away. O, if only I had never set foot in you, O world that deceives all who enter! those who love you enjoy no pleasures, and those who hate you weep not. Blessed is he who has torn your snares asunder--he shall inherit the habitation of joy.

this world deceives even the wise with its appearance, for at times it appears desirable. It even offers benefits and treasures for loan, but in the day of death it will take them back and give in return torment incomparably greater than our sins. for a short while will it let us sin, but as a reward it will give us eternal darkness.

righteous art Thou, O Lord, and righteous is thy judgement that condemns the world and those who love it! therefore do I pray Thee that thy right hand which pulled Simon out of the sea might also pull me out of the waves and the tumult of this world that rise up against me. I have become mired in filth; the waters of the world are drowning me, they do not let me break loose to catch my breath. May Thy Cross, O Lord, be my staff and my support on the path along which I walk.


How beautiful the world is, but it is full of death! It is like unto a flower which opens in the spring. It blooms while dew and rain support its life; when the hot weather comes, the flower wilts. Likewise does death cause the cheeks to fade, and in the grave does it destroy the members of the body so beautifully arranged..... Grant us, O Lord, a refuge and defense in the land where the righteous dwell.

The world has made fools of its offspring. They sin, become distressed, and are convulsed by their own anxieties. How many of them whirl about, giving themselves no peace; yet they only gather thorns for the fire! Deceit arrogantly opens its mouth, but fidelity remains silent and does not speak. Iniquity gives eloquent speeches, but truth hides itself. Only death will silence all who have set foot on earth. Blessed is he who has completed his path in the world untainted.

the world is much stormier than the surging waves, and sin agitates it more than wind does the sea. There are times when the waters of the sea are calm, when the winds are concealed in their hiding places; but in the world waves of desire are ceaselessly whipped up, and the wind of deceit blows against the doors of the world's vessels. Yet the day when it will abate is at hand....Blessed is he who has complete his path in the world without falling into its snares.

Iniquity committed in the world upsets and distresses; burning lust takes on ferocity of a magnitude much greater than that of waves. The snares and traps of the world entangle those who serve it--their evil cargoes are sins and iniquities. But for the virtuous the time will come when their boat shall rest at harbor.

Your times and years are pleasant, O World, but they are like smoke. You are like unto a fleeting dream, and your days are just like shadows. Your evening passes quickly and your morning does not linger. Your hours fly, racing toward the end....Hasten, O sinner, to receive forgiveness while the light of day still shines on you.

Righteous is the judge, and righteous is the judgement of truth--then shall every man's deeds be weighted and rewarded according to his merits. In that day, those who worked iniquity will be tormented by regret, and those who labored virtuously will partake of joy in that land....O Lord, grant that I who am inspired by Thy mercy may be freed from the snares of the world so that I might safely enter the harbor of life.

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