Friday, March 6, 2009

St Ephrem the Syrian

Woe is me, a sinner! For because of my weakness I have become defiled, and ever do I defile the purity of my heart. Apathy and slothfulness have shamed the boldness of my heart. Evil desire commands me, like a master commands his slave, and I, like a child, immediately obey with fear. It leads me into sin and this gladdens me.

Woe is me, O Lord! Your grace draws me toward life, but I instead prefer death. You take pains that I might become as honorable as the angels; but I, in my depravity, debase myself. My sins have multiplied, O Lord, and ceaselessly do they multiply and there is no limit to their multitude.

And who will mourn for me or pray for me? Do you, O my Savior, yourself condescend to have mercy on me through your grace and regard me who despair with compassion! For how will I pray to you, O Master, when my mouth is filled with vile words? Or how will I sing praises to you, when my conscience is defiled? Or how will I love you, when I am filled with passions? Or how will truth dwell in me, when I have cursed myself with lies? Or how will I call upon you, when I have not kept your commandments?