08 February 2008

Now That's Repentance!

Among the many Lenten devotional tools - many very good and some not so good - I have come to appreciate one source, and I keep returning to it year after year. A Spiritual Psalter or Reflections on God by Ephraim the Syrian is a great Lenten prayer book, especially for teaching one how to repent. Here's one example, which I classify as "Now that's repentance!"

Spiritual Psalter #8
The one hope for fallen sinners is the Crucified Lord

Mourn over my nakedness, O my beloved brothers! I have angered Christ with my wanton life. For the Good One created me and gave me freedom, but I have abused it and repaid Him with evil, with my lawless deeds.

The Lord of all made me perfect and established me as an instrument of His glory, that I might serve Him and glorify His name; but I, wretch that I am, have made my members into instruments of sin and have used them to work all manner of deceit. Woe is me, for He will judge me justly.

My shameless deeds presage my fate at the judgement, for they will indict my poor soul. Unrelentingly I beg Thee, O my Savior: shelter me under Thy wings and do not expose my defilement at Thy great judgement, that I might glorify Thy kindness.

All manner of evil deeds which I have done before the Lord of all exclude me from communion with the saints. And become I have not served God with my life as they have, I have no share in their good deeds. Alas, I have perished!

Now the grief that I deserve overtakes me. For if I had struggled along with them, then, like they, I would be glorified. But because I was negligent and served the passions, I do not belong to the hosts of victors, but have become an heir of gehenna.

To Thee, O Victor pierced by nails on the cross Who calleth out to sinners saying: come, receive forgiveness freely—to Thee I unrelentingly pray, O my Savior: turn Thine eyes away from my lawlessness, and by Thy sufferings heal my sores that I may glorify Thy kindness.

O All-good One, Whose kindness is immeasurably greater than the deceit of the world, strengthen my miserable soul with hope in Thy kindness, for it has been weakened and become exhausted to the extreme by the crushing infirmities of deceit and sin, and it holds on only by relying on Thee, for it hopes to find comfort in Thee!

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