Thursday, February 25, 2010

Prayer of St. Ephrem

For those that enjoyed the Prayer of St. Ephrem from my facebook status yesterday, here is a full article on the parts of the prayer. It is from the Byzantine tradition of the faith and this article mentions somethings about the Byzantine Liturgy, which is different from our Roman Liturgy. I learned it from a professor in seminary and find it a beautiful prayer of penance.

Of all lenten hymns and prayers, one short prayer can be termed the lenten prayer. Tradition ascribes it to one of the great teachers of spiritual life - St. Ephrem the Syrian. Here is its text:

O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother; For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen



Why does this short and simple prayer occupy such an important position in the entire lenten worship? Because it enumerates in a unique way all the "negative" and "positive" elements of repentance and constitutes, so to speak, a "check list" for our individual lenten effort. This effort is aimed first at our liberation from some fundamental spiritual diseases which shape our life and make it virtually impossible for us even to start turning ourselves to God.

The basic disease is sloth. It is that strange laziness and passivity of our entire being which always pushes us "down" rather than "up" -- which constantly convinces us that no change is possible and therefore desirable. It is in fact a deeply rooted cynicism which to every spiritual challenge responds "what for?" and makes our life one tremendous spiritual waste. It is the root of all sin because it poisons the spiritual energy at its very source.


The result of sloth is faint-heartedness. It is the state of despondency which all spiritual Fathers considered the greatest danger...

Do read it all!

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