Friday, April 04, 2003

Another meditation from St. Ephrem the Syrian in this joyous season of Lent

Thou to Whom the penitent are pleasing, incline Thyself to me, a sinner. Fill me with the crumbs from the table of Thy great banquet; do not let my life perish at the left side in darkness. May Thy truth not behold the terrible impurity of my misery in that great morning when the sentence unto eternity shall be pronounced.

The joy of this world is bitter. Woe to him who is seduced by it! As a boat is tossed by waves, so is my life convulsed by my misery. Vain joy captures it with the illusion of satisfaction. Be Thou my helmsman and steer my ship to Thy harbor in that great morning when the sentence unto eternity shall be pronounced.

God loves the sinner when he comes to repentance and, with his eyes full of tears, sighing and sobbing, he cries out to Him: O our Lord, deliver me from fire! I pray thee, accept the tears of my misery. Voluntarily have I sinned before Thee, yet voluntarily do I also repent.

So come forth boldly, O sinner. The door is already open and ready to receive you. Bring the Lord a sacrifice or tears and go freely to Him. He does not demand gifts, nor does He have any respect of persons. He is kindhearted to men and willingly forgives the sins of
repentant sinners.

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