Monday, March 31, 2008

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


Joseph, who bedewed his soul with remembrance of the Almighty, was not enkindled by the fire of iniquity; and, having conquered temptation, he became the king of Egypt.

Let us walk the strait path of sorrow, that we might become worthy and have God as our protector.

Pearls are always kept in the innermost vaults, but worthless stones are thrown out in the street as rubbish.

Cleanse yourself from shameful deeds with repentance, and the reproach of the slanderer will not frighten you.

With the help of the Divine fire, we must oppose the fire of passions. Until a brick is fired it is soft and brittle, but when submitted to fire it becomes a barrier against fire and watter.

Strive not to be a slave to your own will, but obey those who fear the Lord and, by God's mercy, you will crush the serpent's head.

Endure sorrow in the Lord, that joy might embrace you. Labor, that you might receive abundant reward.

Neither ridicule nor condemn those who fall into temptation; rather pray more frequently that you might not fall into temptation yourself.

A man who heart is clouded by a storm of thoughts and conquered by passions does not know shame before men, nor does he fear God.

Pray rather with an humble heart, and do not make yourself a den of thieves by indulging in indecent thoughts and desires, that you might not be ashamed in the day of judgement when men's secret will be revealed.

he who is negligent at harvests time will have no abundance for his household. And he who is careless now will find himself without the solace of the righteous in the day of reckoning.


O Lord! Show me Thy great lovingkindness and give me relief from the persecutions of the destroyer, for he has covered me with sores and he stands and mocks me.

As Thou didst tame the sea with one word from Thy lips when the disciples awakened Thee, so also hearken unto my groans and cries and tame the waves of the passions that move within me, aroused in my soul by the enemy of my salvation.

As the woman with an issue of blood was healed by merely touching the hem of Thy garment and straightway her blood ceased to flow, so also may my soul from which the enemy ceaselessly draws streams of sinful thoughts be healed by touching Thee just once through faith, O Physician of souls and bodies.

Demonstrate the healing power of faith in Thee, O Healer of all sicknesses, in the healing of my members which the enemy has covered with sores. Make my sores sores no long,er and instead cover them with virtues, that the enemy who has rejoiced at my ruin might then be ashamed.

O sinless Lamb, slaughtered for the salvation of the world and Creator of heaven and earth. Thy slave whom thou hast saved and given cause to rejoice shall ever praise Thy grace.


When Thou didst see, our Lord, that I had lost Thy glory, Thy love did not suffer it to be so. thou Who descendedst in Thy birth hast delivered me from Satan by Thy suffering and Thy death on the Cross.

But behold, I have sinned again and angered Thee and offended Thy name with the sins, transgressions and crimes I have committed. Woe is me, for I was ungrateful and have defiled myself with a multitude of wicked deeds!

I have wept and shed bitter tears while meditating on this fact. My meditation has transported me to fire, led me to a land of terror, carried me into a frightening and terrible abyss, cast me into flames and thrust me into darkness. My heart has felt all this, and I have sighed from fear and terror while contemplating this journey.

Carried away by these thoughts I have inspected the dwelling places of darkness. Then, sobbing and weeping, pained and sorrowing, have I condemned myself and bitterly exclaimed: woe is me, exceeding woe. What has justice prepared for me!

In terror I awoke as from a dream, but neither in waking was I delivered from torment of heart. I rent my garment, wept and sobbed: what have I done to my miserable self? I shall uncover my head like the harlot and confess my sins; with sighs shall I pray; I will turn my eyes into fountains of tears, that I might mourn for my unfortunate self.

I shall go to the publicans who are like me, I shall go to the sinners who repented. I will awaken my sleeping heart which has grown old in a multitude of evils. I will unite myself to the publicans and sinners and make myself like unto them. Like them shall I sob over the sins I have committed, that God's judgement might not be upon me and that I might not be tormented in the abyss of gehenna....

Vouchsafe me, O Lord, to love Thy love that comforts the saints and the righteous ones, who love non e other than Thee, O God, Who art magnanimous to the penitent, Who lovest the sinner who bedews his face with tears and bitterly mourns his transgression. Vouchsafe me, O Lord, the blessed repose that Thou hast prepared for all the saints.


be merciful, O Good One, to us who have freely chosen evil, the cause of all misery. The thoughts of our choosing are secret afflictions, and the deeds thereof are public afflictions. Such a choice brought on the first transgression of the law,, and all sin is a consequence thereof. Do Thou, O Pure One, purify our freedom, for now it is a fountain of turbid waters.

I wonder at our free will: it is strong, and yet it has been overthrown. It is a master, yet it has become a slave. It has the opportunity to conquer, yet it would rather yield and be conquered itself. Although it is free, it gives itself into slavery, like a bondswoman who signs with her own hand the agreement that binds her.

Blessed be the memory of the righteous ones who stood firm. They did not wax and wane like the moon, but were like unto the sun, whose light is always the same. Their spirit was not like rain-fed streams which are at times full, but then suddenly dry up.

Waves of temptations of every sort were aimed at the righteous ones, but they did not grow faint. Glory did not make them haughty, nor did abusive treatment cause them to be despondent. There were always the same; never did the fragrance of their virtues falter.

Blessed is the Good One, Who has poured forth from His vaults the fragrance of their deeds. Blessed is the Just Judge, Who has glorified their feats with crowns.

1 comment:

Mimi said...

I love the usage of bedewing in this section.