Wednesday, April 9, 2008

St Ephrem the Syrian

Lo, I try to gather my thoughts from every corner, but I am unsuccessful, for the things responsible for the passions of my thoughts remain in me. I have not yet been freed from the influence of the evil spirits that will detain me on my upward path toward heaven. I have not yet acknowledged the weight of the multitude of my sins. Those who have plunged me into sin now bear fruit in the flesh of my body.

How long shall I who am wretched continue to become intoxicated in the absence of wine, and neglect my self as if it were alien to me? Like a wicked servant who concocts plots to harm his master, so do I scheme to undermine my own salvation, as if someone else were to suffer the injury my actions produce. I do not want to be vigilant; daily do I offend your great patience. My wickedness stands before mine eyes. Yet you will be patient with me according to your kindness.

Grant me, O Lord, the remedy of conversion, that I might be healed of all the evil that is in me. Grant that I might enter the realm of restraint. Grant that I might spend all the days of my life in contrition of heart. Enlighten the clouded eyes of my mind, that I might rush zealously to embark on the path that leads to your vineyard.

The time of my life has run low, spent in vain cares and shameful thoughts. My life has come upon the eleventh hour. O Lord, steer my ship with its cargo and grant understanding to this powerless merchant, that I might complete my purchase while I still have time. For the hour of departure has arrived -- it already looms before my eyes -- and I took fright exceedingly when I saw my poverty.