Penthos, for Saturday Evening
Precationes e sacris scripturis collectae, quarum pleraequae sunt Sancti Ephraim, pro iis qui uolunt suam ipsorum procliuem ad passiones uoluptatesque uoluntatem cohibere*
As we are traveling, I offer here only the last part of this long prayer. The prayer itself forms part of a larger collection which includes the famous Lenten “Prayer of St. Ephrem.” As the title suggests, they are intended for those who wish to uproot the passions and extricate themselves from slavery to pleasure. I hope to provide the rest of the text when we are back from our travels, but enjoy, for now, this moving, and spiritually profitable, conclusion.
Conquer the hardness of my heart, and do you yourself bring about my correction, as you know how. For I am tyrannized by my wicked habits. I am sick in my soul and in my flesh and in my will. My time has run out. My days have been spent in emptiness. I have reached the end. I am ill-equipped and incapable of setting myself straight. But open to me, O Master, the door of your mercy, and do not close it on me as I knock unworthily. Stretch out to me a helping hand, for I am tempest-tossed in a sea of passions and pleasures. Give me time to repent and a way to be saved. For if you do not do this, O Lord, whatever I wish to accomplish will be ineffectual and easily undone. Whatever I attempt to do will be useless and imperfect. Behold, O Lord, you see how my enemies work against me. You see the infirmity of our nature. How long will you turn your face from me? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Turn to me, O Lord, and deliver my soul from his evil-doing. For I am wounded every day. He stands there mocking me. Save me on account of your mercy and not account of my works. For my works are evil. Remember, O Lord, that your mercies are eternally poured out on sinners. For if you keep track of my iniquities (Ps 129:3), I shall vanish as one who does not exist. Do not let my laziness and senselessness win out over your unconquerable love for humanity. Do not place me together with the notorious goats (Mt 25:31-46), I am who ragged with sin, wretched, and unworthy of mercy. Do not judge me, O Master, as a worthless and wicked servant (Mt 25:30). Do not destroy me together with those who say, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do your will (Mt 7:21). Accept, O Master, and hear my defiled and unworthy supplication, for you save all who hope in you. You do not turn away from the supplication of sinners, and to whoever is lying on the ground you give your hand. Guide me into the fear of you. Grant me tears of compunction and repentance leading to salvation, that I might lift the intelligible eyes of my soul to you. For you, O Lord, brought me forth from my mother’s womb. Do not cast me away from your face, for your compassion is plentiful upon all who call on your name in truth. For blessed are thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.
*Εὐχαὶ συλλεχθεῖσαι ἀπὸ τῶν θείων Γραφῶν, τὰ πλεῖστα δὲ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἁγίου Ἐφραίμ, τοῖς βουλομένοις πολεμῆσαι τὴν ἑαυτῶν πρὸς τὰ πάθη καὶ τὰς ἡδονὰς ἐγκειμένην προαίρεσιν