Saturday, March 15, 2008

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


The sinless Lamb of God freely chose to suffer the cross in the flesh and was slain for the salvation of us sinners. In incorrupt flesh did He taste death in order to save our fallen nature. Thou Who art the Wisdom adn the Strength of God the Father, the Radiance of His glory, O incomprehensible Jesus, O unfathomable Christ, O only kindhearted Lover of mankind, pour out on me, a sinner, Thy great mercy; and by Thy grace chase away from me all apathy, slothfulness and impatience, that in Thy second coming I might not hear thy terrible denunciation: What didst thou suffer for My sake?

In that terrible and frightening day, O Lord, Thou wilt say to us sinners: you all know well what I suffered for your sake. I, Who am god, took flesh for your sake. I, Who am invisible, visibly dwelt on earth for your sake. For your sake I hungered, thirsted and labored. for your sake I was persecuted and stoned. I, Who am blameless, was struck in the face and spat upon for your sake. I, Who am sinless, suffered a dishonorable death for your sake. For your sake my ribs were pierced with a spear and I was given vinegar mixed with gall to drink. All this have I suffered for your sake, in order to make you saints in heaven. I have given you the kingdom of heaven, I have called you all brothers, I have sent down to you the Holy Spirit. O men, what have you suffered for My sake?

What shall I, who am wretched, wicked, sinful and defiled, say in response? the martyrs will point to their wounds, their torments, their detached limbs, their endurance to the end. The ascetics will point to their asceticism, their lengthy fasts, vigils, nonacquisitiveness, their tears and all their sufferings. But I, who am slothful and sinful, to what shall I point, but the shameful fruits of gluttony, sensuality, somnolence, acquisitiveness, impatience, vainglory and apathy?

If Thou demandest from me, O Lord, an account of the time which I was given for repentance, but spent in negligence, how shall I justify myself? And if I am interrogated about my idle talking, wicked thoughts and desires, then what fear, what confusion will embrace poor me, and what torments will follow thereafter?

Spare me, O Lord! Spare me, O kindhearted One! Spare me, O Lover of man! Spare me, O only good One! Be merciful and have mercy on me according to Thy singular kindness. Strengthen my soul which has been corrupted by my slothfulness and apathy, O Thou Who exaltest the lowly and rescuest the distressed!

Thou knowest how negligent and wretched I am, Thou knowest how many cunning and evil thoughts war against me, Thou seest the enemy's malice and the many wiles which he uses against me. Help me according to Thy great mercy, make me sober and vigilant, quicken me and save me by Thy grace through the prayers of our most pure Lady the Mother of God and of all the saints.


Thou, O Lord of all, according to Thy mercy, be for me a harbor of salvation, a refuge of charity, and save me.

I beseech Thy kindness, O my Savior. From henceforth pour out upon me Thy mercies at that hour and set me far away from those who are to be tormented.

O Christ, Who didst will to become a sacrifice for us, destroy the sin which has stricken all my members. Descend and dwell in my members.

When he hears of this, the teeth of the evil one will be broken and the fire of Gehenna will be extinguished by Thy radiance.

Evil Satan has spewed out his venom on me, he has corrupted me and debased me with sin. But because I follow Thy way, and Thou art omnipotent, in my infirmity I nurture the hope that Thou wilt scorn him and help me by pardoning sins--and then will my corrupter be ashamed.

The princes of evil have blinded me with their passions, and by their cunning have they robbed me of the beauty of my youth. what can I do, now that I have lost my purity? I will cry out to Christ, that He might return my beauty to me--and then will the evil ones be ashamed.

My Savior cries out to me, to His disciple: do not despair of thy salvation; I will restorer thee and forgive thee thy sins. I have found thee and I will not leave thee; for I have redeemed thee with My very own Blood.

Cry out, O sinner, with all your might, and spare not your throat: for your Lord is merciful and loves those who repent. As soon as you return, your Father will come out aforehand to meet you. He will slaughter the fatted calf, clothe you in a fine robe and rejoice in you.


Do not lose heart, O soul, do not grieve; pronounce not over thyself a final judgement for the multitude of thy sins; do not commit thyself to fire; do not say: the Lord has cast me from His face.

Such words are not pleasing to God. Can it be that he who has fallen cannot get up? Can it be that he who has turned away cannot turn back again? Dost thou not hear how kind the Father is to a prodigal?

Do not be ashamed to turn back and say boldly: I will arise and go to my Father. Arise and go!

He will accept thee and will not reproach thee, but rather rejoice at thy return. He awaits thee; just do not be ashamed and do not hide from the face of God as did Adam.

It was for thy sake that Christ was crucified; so will He cast thee aside? He knows who oppresses us. He knows that we have no other help but Him alone.

Christ knows that man is miserable. Do not give thyself up to despair and apathy, assuming that thou hast been prepared fro the fire. Christ derives no consolation from thrusting us into the fire; He gains nothing if He sends us into the abyss to be tormented.

Imitate the prodigal son: heave the city that starves thee. Come and beseech Him and thou shalt behold the glory of God. Thy face shall be enlightened and thou wilt rejoice in the sweetness of paradise. Glory to the Lord and Lover of mankind Who saves us!


Do you wish to lead a proper life? Exercise humility, for without it it is impossible to lead a proper life.

do all you work in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, and thus shall your fruits be carried up to heaven.

A man begins to go astray when he withdraws from humility. He who has abandoned God does the evil spirit oppress, as he did Saul.

The enemy's snares are smeared with honey. He who is attracted by the sweetness of honey becomes caught in the snares and filled with all manner of woe.

Love humility and you will never fall into the devil's snare, for, soaring on humility's swift wings you will always remain above the enemy's snares.

Arrogance is like a very tall but rotten tree. All of its branches are brittle and if someone climbs upon it, he immediately falls from the height he has attained.

Blessed is he who is enriched with good hopes and illuminated with good thoughts: his glory is great and everlasting.

Let us strive for sober attention, that we might recognize our sins and be constantly humbled, that we might not nurture, like the serpent, a high opinion of ourselves or wickedness.

Let us love sobriety, that we might nave a pure heart and that we might preserve the temple entrusted to us undefiled by sinful corruption.

Wondrous is prayer accompanied by signs and teaas, especially if the teaas are shed in secret.

He who prays in his mind with faith beholds the Lord before himself. For in Him do we live, move and exist.

If your heart has been hardened, weep before the Lord, that He might shine upon you the illumination of knowledge and grant that with an ardent heart you might be carried up to Him.

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