Monday, June 09, 2003

"Lord, grant me to see my own sins, and not to judge my brother": St. Ephrem the Syrian

The other of today's two great saints is Ephrem the Syrian, deacon, desert father, poet-mystic, doctor of the Church. His work The Pearl can be found in the Christian Classics Ethereal Library linked in my sidebar. His great prayer, partially quoted in the headline, has always been considered a great gift to the Church and has been heavily used in liturgy in the Churches of the east, especially in Great Lent. It also, for myself personally, made a very good life-ring during the chaos and confusion that began Milwaukee's long Dormition Fast last year. Also pray for the blogger known as Dylan Tenelux, who is still hospitalized. He has, in the past, mentioned having a special devotion to St Ephrem.

In today's Office of Readings, our Church offers us a passage from a sermon by Ephrem:

Lord, shed upon our darkened souls the brilliant light of your wisdom so that we may be enlightened and serve you with renewed purity. Sunrise marks the hour for men to begin their toil, but in our souls, Lord, prepare a dwelling for the day that will never end. Grant that we may come to know the risen life and that nothing may distract us from the delights you offer. Through our unremitting zeal for you, Lord, set upon us the sign of your day that is not measured by the sun.

In your sacrament we daily embrace you and receive you into our bodies; make us worthy to experience the resurrection for which we hope. We have had your treasure hidden within us ever since we received baptismal grace; it grows ever richer at your sacramental table. Teach us to find our joy in your favor! Lord, we have within us your memorial, received at your spiritual table; let us possess it in its full reality when all things shall be made new.

We glimpse the beauty that is laid up for us when we gaze upon the spiritual beauty your immortal will now creates within our mortal selves.

Savior, your crucifixion marked the end of your mortal life; teach us to crucify ourselves and make way for our life in the Spirit. May your resurrection, Jesus, bring true greatness to our spiritual self and may your sacraments be the mirror wherein we may know that self.

Savior, your divine plan for the world is a mirror for the spiritual world; teach us to walk in that world as spiritual men.

Lord, do not deprive our souls of the spiritual vision of you nor our bodies of your warmth and sweetness. The mortality lurking in our bodies spreads corruption through us; may the spiritual waters of your love cleanse the effects of mortality from our hearts. Grant, Lord, that we may hasten to our true city and, like Moses on the mountaintop, possess it now in vision.


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