Tuesday, April 01, 2008

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


Alas, I am an embarrassment to those who now respect me; may I not be ashamed before them when my hidden sins are revealed. I am an embarrassment to those who bore me; may they not later condemn me, who vowed not to live a worldly life.

I want to become like unto the widow who continually troubled the judge and achieved her goal. Before Thee, my All-Good Master, I want to be like Thine inseparable friend, that Thou mightest return my soul held captive by sins: he asked for bread to alleviate his hunger, and I ask for spiritual comfort. He asked for food for the flesh, and I ask Thee to summon my soul.

Because Thou art All-Good, hearken unto the voice of my tearful lamentation and convert me, that I might bring forth the fruit of repentance. Bedew my burning conscience; renew me who had grown old in sinful passions, that released from their slavery I might gladly breathe the air of freedom and glorify Thy goodness with joy and delight.

Thou knowest, O Master, that I dare thus address Thee, because my soul is prepared to labor if only a little. For I, a sinner, know that Thou art compassionate, O Lord, and that Thou wantest me to change my ways--Thou also desiresst the fruit of good will. Thou art ready to have mercy on me, but Thou awaitest a good disposition in me, for in Thy mercy wouldst Thou teach me good, and in Thy forgiveness dost Thou desire to make me worthy to partake of Thy kingdom.


Grant me, O Lord, both in wakefulness to stand pure before Thee, my Redeemer, and in slumber to partake of sleep without sin.

If in wakefulness I commit transgressions, may I be cleansed by Thy grace, O Lord. And if I sin while asleep, may Thy loving-kindness be unto me purification.

With the cross of Thy humility, make my sleep untroubled, preserve me from the iniquitous dreams of sleep and from the impure conjurings of the imagination. Grant that I might spend the whole night in peaceful sleep and that evil and deleterious thoughts might not take possession of me.

With Thy life-creating Body, of which I have partaken, preserve me from impure lust, that I might lie down and fall asleep in peace. May Thy Blood protect me. And grant my soul, that is Thine image, the freedom that is proper to Thine image. And my Thy right arm shelter my body that was made by Thy hands.

Encircle me with the wall of Thy compassions like a defensive shield. And when my body rests and sleeps, may Thy goodness be my guard, that the Evil One might not approach my bed. By the protection of the Mother who bore Thee, by the sacrifice that Thou hast offered for all men, I beseech Thee: drive away Satan, that he might no trouble me.

In me, O Lord, fulfill Thy promise and preserve my life by Thy Cross. I shall praise Thee when I awake for showing me who am miserable Thy love. May both those who sleep, resting in peace, and those who abide in wakefulness, girded by Thine armor, give praise to Thee, O Preserver Who livest eternally and Who hast aroused me to sing Thy glory.


Thy lips, O our Lord, have pronounced these promises: call Me and I will hearken unto you; knock at My door and I will open it.

Like the harlot do I call out to Thee: according to the superabundant compassion of Thy lovingkindness, forgive us our debts and our sins.

Like the publican do we beseech Thee, and like the prodigal son who squandered his inheritance do we call out to Thee, repenting in our soul: we have sinned against heaven and before Thee, O Lord.

Accept us, as thou hast promised, that the guardian angels and the archangels might rejoice over us. Thou who didst accept Simon's repentance, accept also the repentance of Thy servants and have mercy on us.

Come, O sinner who have sinned before the Lord, come to Him repenting in your soul, and He will forgive you your debts and your sins.

Shed tears at the Physician's door, sigh and beseech Him, who Him the scabs on your soul.

P:reserve your tongue from all manner of evil, and may your lips that were created for praise not pronounce words of blasphemy.

Forgive your brother if he has sinned against you, and Christ will forgive you as He has promised, according t His loving-kindness.

Have mercy on us, O our Lord, forgive us our debts and our sins and vouchsafe us Thy radiant habitation.


Before the wheel of time has completed its revolution with me--have mercy on me.

Before the wind of death has blown upon me and ailments have cropped up in my body foreboding the imminent end--have mercy.

Before the magnificent sun on high has grown dim before my eyes--have mercy, and may Thy light shine on me from on high and scatter the terrible darkness of my mind.

Before this dust has returned to the earth and decayed and all its beautiful features have rotted away--have mercy.

Before my sins have overtaken me at the judgement and shamed me before the Judge--have mercy on me, O Lord, Who art full of compassion.

Before the vanguard, preceding the Son of Heavenly King, marches forth to gather our miserable race before the Judge's throne--have mercy.

Before the sound of trumpets resounds portending Thy coming, O Jesus our Lord--spare Thy servants who beseech Thee and have mercy.

Before Thou hast shut Thy door against me, O Son of God, and I have become food for the inextinguishable fire of gehenna--have mercy on me.

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