Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Lentblogging Day 15 - The Prayer of St Ephrem the Syrian

The Bear must say that the installment entitled, "That Ladies Wear Clothes, Lord Hear our Prayer," did twice as well as most of the other articles. Perhaps others have observed this phenomenon, too.

At any rate, poor old St. Ephem the Syrian probably can't hope for similar traffic without a shamelessly clickbaity title, although the Bear bets he thought modesty was important, too.

St. Ephrem is a Doctor of the Catholic Church, although he is better known among the Orthodox. Although called "the Syrian," he was born and died in Turkey in the 4th Century. His feast day is June 9th and he is the patron of spiritual directors.

The Prayer of St. Ephrem is closely associated with Orthodox Lent, during which it is frequently recited, customarily with bows. One version, in translation, goes like this:

O Lord and Master of my life, grant me not a spirit of sloth, despondency, love of power, and idle talk. 
But give to me, your servant, a spirit of sober-mindedness, humility, patience, and love. 
Yes, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brother, since you are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen.

You can see why it is fitting for Lent. It would be a good practice to add this to your Lenten devotions and meditate on the words. The choices St. Ephrem packs into this short prayer are interesting. 
  • sloth
  • despondencey
  • love of power
  • idle talk
  • sober-mindedness
  • humility
  • patience
  • love
  • seeing our own faults
  • not judging our brothers and sisters
You might also notice that he addresses God as "Lord and Master of my life," and "Lord and King."

We should remain active and engaged with our Lenten practices, and not fall into laziness, or still less succumb to The Noonday Devil. (See Chapter 8 of Saint Corbinian's Lenten Companion of Bearish Humans.) We've still got a long way to go, friends! The Bear needs every day of Lent!

By the way, the Bear is pleased to report that despite a late release - on Ash Wednesday - his little book is selling well and people seem to enjoy it. The Bear just saw his first printed copy today and was pleased. It's pretty slender, just 172 pages including the front matter. Oh, goody, a review is up, Bear notices!

So, the Bear leaves you today to contemplate the venerable prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian. Perhaps you will incorporate it into your daily Lenten regimen.


  1. St. Ephrem also wrote some of the most BEAUTIFUL pros on and to the Blessed Mother. His writing always brings tears to my eyes.

  2. This is lovely. Perfect for the midsection of Lent. Thank you, 🐻!


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