On January 28th, we commemorate our Venerable Fathers Ephrem the Syrian and Isaac the Syrian. Much could be said about both of these Fathers, but I would like to focus on one of them today.
Of the many comments and titles that Saint Ephrem has received through the centuries, Harp of the Spirit is most dear to me. It speaks of two beautiful pictures. On the one hand, Saint Ephrem’s beautiful hymnography is a harp in the sense that he was a docile servant of the Lord, who allowed his whole life to be an instrument in the hands of God. On the other hand, being a Harp of the Spirit, what was wrought by Saint Ephrem was pure beauty and truth of the Spirit-he was a source of music in the pure sense of being that which muses our whole being on God.
His Lenten Hymn/Prayer, which is this blog’s namesake, testifies wonderfully to how much Saint Ephrem could write for the glory and praise of the ineffable God. Here are a few more quotations from him on his feast day, compiled via the Holy Fathers Facebook page (which is worth adding, if you are a Facebook user).
Venerable Father Ephrem, Pray to God for Us!
“Go with Him, as His inseparable companion, to the wedding feast of Cana, and drink of the wine of His blessing. Let you have ever before you the Face of the Lord, and look upon His beauty, and let your earnest gaze turn nowhere away from His most sweet countenance. Go before Him into a desert place and see the wonder of His works, where He multiplied in His own Holy Hands the bread that sufficed to feed a great multitude. Go, my brother, go forward, and with all the love of your soul follow Christ wherever He may go… And lovingly behold Him as taking bread into His hands, He blesses it, and breaks it, as the outward form of His own Immaculate Body; and the chalice which He blessed as the outward form of His Precious Blood, and gave to His Disciples; and be you also a partaker of His sacraments”
“Blessed is the person who has consented to become the close friend of faith and of prayer: he lives in single-mindedness and makes prayer and faith stop by with him. Prayer that rises up in someone’s heart serves to open up for us the door of heaven: that person stands in converse with the Divinity and gives pleasure to the Son of God. Prayer makes peace with the Lord’s anger and with the vehemence of His wrath. In this way too, tears that well up in the eyes can open the door of compassion.”
“If the Son of God is within you, then His Kingdom is also within you. Thus, the Kingdom of God is within you, a sinner. Enter into yourself, search diligently and without toil you shall find it. Outside of you is death, and the door to it is sin. Enter into yourself, dwell within your heart, for God is there.”