Do not lose heart – St. Ephrem the Syrian

Image result for ephrem the syrianAmerica is making me upset. My president evidently doesn’t think enough people have died in Syria. Lord have mercy!

In light of current events and since today is a Friday, it is only appropriate to share with you a reflection on Christ’s sacrifice and forgiveness by St. Ephrem the Syrian.

St. Ephrem the Syrian

St. Ephrem (306-373) was a Syriac theologian and deacon, known today for his hymns. Ephrem started writing hymns at a very young age in his hometown of Nisibis. When Constantine died in 337, Shapur II the Great of Persia attacked the Roman regions of Northern Mesopotamia. When Nisibis was captured in 363, Ephrem and his fellow Christians were forced into exile. They became refugees. Ephrem settled in Edessa and spent the rest of his life teaching and ministering to the other Syriac Christians in the city. Over 400 of his hymns still exist.

Do not lose heart

Do not lose heart, O soul, do not grieve; pronounce not over yourself a final judgment for the multitude of your sins; do not commit yourself to fire; do not say: The Lord has cast me from his face.

Such words are not pleasing to God.  Can it be that he who has fallen cannot get up?  Can it be that he who has turned away cannot turn back again?  Do you not hear how kind the Father is to a prodigal?

Do not be ashamed to turn back and say boldly: I will arise and go to my Father.  Arise and go!

He will accept you and will not reproach you, but rather rejoice at your return.  He awaits you; just do not be ashamed and do not hide from the face of God as did Adam.

It was for your sake that Christ was crucified; so will he cast you aside?  He knows who oppresses us.  He knows that we have no other help but him alone.

Christ knows that man is miserable.  Do not give yourself up to despair and apathy, assuming that you have been prepared for the fire.  Christ derives no consolation from thrusting us into the fire; he gains nothing if he sends us into the abyss to be tormented.

Imitate the prodigal son: leave the city that starves you.  Come and beseech him and you shall behold the glory of God.  Your face shall be enlightened and you will rejoice in the sweetness of paradise.  Glory to the Lord and Lover of mankind who saves us.

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