• "I chose you out of the world"

    From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Tue Jun 8 23:48:53 2021
    "I chose you out of the world"

    Jesus' demand is unequivocal and without compromise. Do not love the
    world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for
    the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15). We must make a choice either
    for or against God. Do you seek to please God in all your intentions,
    actions, and relationships? Let the Holy Spirit fill your heart and
    mind with the love and truth of God (Romans 5:5).

    "Lord Jesus, may the fire of your love fill my heart with an eagerness
    to please you in all things. May there be no rivals to my love and
    devotion to you who are my all."

    June 9th - St. Ephrem of Edessa, Deacon, Doctor (RM)

    Many wonderful lessons can be derived from the life of this Saint,
    known in particular for his unfailing and remarkable humility. Born at
    Nisibe in Syria, his forebears were poor folk, and he as a child
    tended the herds in the fields. St. Ephrem would be baptized only as a
    young adult.

    One day, while still an adolescent, he pursued the only cow of a
    neighbor, throwing stones at the poor beast to see it run, until it
    fell exhausted and died. To add to his fault, he denied having seen
    the animal when its owner came to look for it. All his life he wept
    over this double prevarication, and later he related to the religious
    who were his followers how he was punished for it: About a month
    later, he was with a shepherd who drank too much one evening, and
    through neglect lost the sheep of the owner’s flock when wolves
    entered into the fold. Ephrem was taken to prison with the shepherd
    and confined there. From the stories his companions there narrated, he
    realized that they too were detained for crimes not committed, but
    that they had committed others which had remained unpunished.
    Recognizing in these facts the effects of Divine Justice, he was
    warned to do penance by a severe Angel who appeared to him several
    times, helping him also to accept his chastisement. He was released
    after two months, but never forgot the lessons in humility he had

    Never did St. Ephrem think himself anything other than a great sinner;
    we can read in his various writings his self-accusations and his
    confessions. He had the gift of tears and for years he wept, literally
    without ceasing, according to the testimony of St. Gregory of Nyssa,
    who wrote: “At times he was weeping over the sins of men, and again
    over his own. His sighs succeeded his tears, and then brought them
    forth again.” It was also said that the tears he shed so profusely,
    instead of disfiguring his face, seemed to augment its serenity and
    grace; all who had seen or heard St. Ephrem were inspired to venerate
    his holiness.

    The death of St. James of Nisibe and of another Saint. who had lived
    in a cell near his own solitary dwelling, decided him to make a
    pilgrimage to Edessa, a very Christian city, to honor the relics of
    the Apostle St. Thomas, venerated there. While in Edessa he was
    ordained a deacon and attached permanently to the church of Edessa,
    then obliged under obedience to preach. The ministry of preaching is
    not usually that of deacons, but his virtue and capacities were
    recognized at once. He had not studied and knew only his own language,
    but he had absorbed Holy Scripture and profited from his intelligence
    of it. It is he who wrote: “You do not understand all that you read
    there? If you were traveling and, being thirsty, came upon a spring of
    fresh water, would you be incensed because you could not drink all of
    it? No, you would be happy that, on another journey, the spring would
    still be there to quench your thirst.”

    St. Gregory of Nyssa remarked of the preaching of St. Ephrem:
    “Although his tongue was prompt and the words flowed from his mouth
    like a torrent, these were too slow to express his thoughts. For this
    reason he prayed to God: ‘Hold back, Lord, the waves of Your grace!’ The sea of understanding which was seeking an outlet through his tongue
    bore heavily upon him, because the organs of speech did not suffice
    for what his mind presented to him, for the benefit of others.” In the
    Syrian Liturgy, St. Ephrem still is called the Harp of the Holy

    After many years of good works, preaching and writing, for he also had
    great gifts of poetry and written discourse, he died a holy death in
    the year 378. This occurred one month after the death of St. Basil,
    whom he had visited in Cæsarea, wanting to profit from the renowned
    bishop’s conversation and sermons. They had found great consolation in
    one another’s company. St. Ephrem was declared a Doctor of the Church
    by Pope Benedict XV in October of 1920.

    Source: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin
    (Bloud et Barral: 1882), Vol. 2.


    Many Catholics still find singing in church a problem, probably
    because of the rather individualistic piety that they inherited. Yet
    singing has been a tradition of both the Old and the New Testament. It
    is an excellent way of expressing and creating a community spirit of
    unity as well as joy. Ephrem's hymns, an ancient historian testifies,
    "lent luster to the Christian assemblies." We need some modern
    Ephrems--and cooperating singers--to do the same for our Christian
    assemblies today.

    Lay me not with sweet spices,
    For this honor avails me not,
    Nor yet use incense and perfumes,
    For the honor befits me not.
    Burn yet the incense in the holy place;
    As for me, escort me only with your prayers,
    Give ye your incense to God,
    And over me send up hymns.
    Instead of perfumes and spices,
    Be mindful of me in your intercessions.
    (From The Testament of St. Ephrem)

    Prayer of St. Ephrem to the Blessed Virgin Mary

    O Immaculate and wholly pure Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Queen of the
    world, hope of those who are in despair, thou art the joy of the
    Saints; thou art the peacemaker between sinners and God; thou art the
    advocate of the abandoned, the secure haven of those who are on the
    sea of the world; thou art the consolation of the world, the ransom of
    slaves, the comfortress of the afflicted, the salvation of the
    universe. O great Queen, we take refuge in thy protection: 'We have no confidence but in thee, O most faithful Virgin.' After God thou art
    all our hope. We bear the name of thy servants; allow not the enemy to
    drag us to hell. I salute thee, O great Mediatress of peace, between
    men and God, Mother of Jesus our Lord, who is the love of all men and
    of God, to whom be honor and benediction with the Father and the Holy
    Ghost. Amen.

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