Saturday, April 19, 2008

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


When you stand before God, recall those who serve earthly authorities. take the example of slaves before their masters when considering your position.

Recall your sinfulness and call upon God's assistance. Learn from the saints and ask for God's grace in the fulfillment of any task. Be not proud of god's grace and do not succumb to lawlessness.

If you succeed in doing good, do not praise yourself above men. If you sin through ignorance, do not lose heart because you are a man. Boast not of your successes, and do not despair when you sin.

Actively strive for good and harbor an equal hatred for evil.

Do not pas judgement when you give advice, for you know not God's mysteries.

it is better for you to be delivered to the sword than to succumb to anger. It is better to hide anger in the heart than to express it.

Do not indulge in empty chatter, and do not sit in places where passionate conversation is held. seek not gratification in laughter and pleasure in jokes, that you might not become distracted.

Be not fond of gatherings teeming with crowds, for they engender commotion in the soul.

Avoid banquets, in order not to become a debaucher even in the absence of women.

Avoid delicacies, that you might not become passionate. Take care to bridle the flesh, that it might not plunge its rider--the mind--into danger.

Master your senses and protect them from corrosion by rust as a warrior protects his weapons.

Spend the better part of your time in seclusion, that you might be able to discern what is and is not beneficial for you when you are in the society of people.


Behold, let no one say: I have committed many sins--there can be no forgiveness for me. He who says this does not know that God is the God of the penitent, that He came to earth not to save the righteous, but to call sinners to repentance, and that when someone repents the heavens rejoice over him.

True repentance consists of withdrawing from sin and nurturing hatred for it. For, lo, when someone says from his heart: I have hated deceit and been repelled by it--then God accepts him with joy.

But behold, also let no one dare to say: I have not sinned. He who says this is blind; he has shut his eyes. He deceives himself and knows not that Satan is robbing him blind--both in word and deed, through all of the senses, sight, hearing and touch, and through thoughts. For who can boast that he has an innocent heart and that all his senses are pure?

No one is sinless, no one is clean of defilement, no man is free from guilt except Him alone Who for our sake was impoverished though He was rich. He alone is sinless Who took upon Himself the sins of the world, wants all men to be saved, desires not the death of a sinner and is a lover of mankind, abundantly benevolent, kindhearted and sincerely loving.

Let us Also run to Him, for all sinners who have run to Him have found salvation.


At the terrible judgement the Lord will say to those at His right hand: come, O sons of My light, blessed heirs of My kingdom. Come, ye who for My sake have been impoverished, hungered and thirsted, who loved not the world nor all that is in it. come, ye who for My sake have left all worldly power and joy, brothers and friends, parents and children. Come, ye who have dwelt in deserts, on mountains, in caves and crevices in the earth together with beasts, and rejoice with the angels in heaven. Come, all ye who are merciful and hospitable. Come, all ye who have walked the strait and narrow path. come, ye who are blessed of My Father; inherit the kingdom that has been prepared for you since the creation of the world.

And to those at His left hand He will say: go away from Me, into the fire that lies without. Go away from Me, ye heartless ones, who have hated both brothers and Christ. Ye were not merciful and neither shall ye obtain mercy. Ye did not heed My noble gospels and My blessed disciples--and neither shall I heed your lamentation. You lived a life of luxury on earth, enjoyed good things in your life, and here there is nothing more for you to receive--you have already taken what is yours. Daily I called out to you through the Scriptures, but when you heard, you mocked those who read them. And now I say to you: I know you not. go away from Me, Ye accursed souls, into the eternal fire that is prepared from the devil and his angels.

And they will enter into eternal torment, but the righteous will enter into eternal life.


As the Creator, Thou knowest what Thou hast created. As the Judge, Thou knowest what Thou hast condemned (after the fall). As the One Who become man, Thou knowest what Thou hast designed for our salvation.

Thou gavest me an undefiled nature, but my father Adam has covered it with much impurity and made it infirm. To this impurity have I added enjoyment of vain things--and now I involuntarily endure punishment. Corruption has infected my very nature, and so I am distressed, like one caught in a storm at sea.

Have mercy on me, as my Creator. Be sympathetic toward my infirmity, as the One Who became man for my sake. Reject me not because of my passions, but instead scatter them, in recognition of my will to strive. Do no disdain me on account of my impurity, but instead attend to my contrition and desire to better myself.

If Thou art repelled by my defiles thoughts, turn Thine attention to my lamentation and to the way I condemn myself for my own sensuality.

I have the will but I cannot say that I have the strength. I give what I have. Consider my situation and if it pleases Thee to give me what I lack, grant it to me.

I am a pauper, robbed by the serpent. I am infirm, bound by corruption. I lack strength, for I am overwhelmed by sin. I have lost Thy gift and therefore lack perfect understanding. I have lost communion with Thee and therefore know not where I am headed.

I have nothing. If anything is found in my possession, it is because Thou hast taken pity on me and given it to me. I am exceedingly poor; if I am to become rich it will all be a gift from Thee. It will all be Thine, just as it was Thine before.

I beg only for grace--I confess that if I am to be saved, I shall be saved through Thee.

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