Brilliant Light of God’s Wisdom

Lord, shed upon our darkened souls the brilliant light of your wisdom so that we may be enlightened and serve you with renewed purity. Sunrise marks the hour for men to begin their toil, but in our souls, Lord, prepare a dwelling for the day that will never end. Grant that we may come to know the risen life and that nothing may distract us from the delights you offer. Through our unremitting zeal for you, Lord, set upon us the sign of your day that is not measured by the sun.

In your sacrament we daily embrace you and receive you into our bodies; make us worthy to experience the resurrection for which we hope. We have had your treasure hidden within us ever since we received baptismal grace; it grows ever richer at your sacramental table. Teach us to find our joy in your favor! Lord, we have within us your memorial, received at your spiritual table; let us possess it in its full reality when all things shall be made new.

Ephrem Eucharist and cup

We glimpse the beauty that is laid up for us when we gaze upon the spiritual beauty your immortal will now creates within our mortal selves. Savior, your crucifixion marked the end of your mortal life; teach us to crucify ourselves and make way for our life in the Spirit. May your resurrection, Jesus, bring true greatness to our spiritual self and may your sacraments be the mirror wherein we may know that self. Savior, your divine plan for the world is a mirror for the spiritual world; teach us to walk in that world as spiritual men.

Lord, do not deprive our souls of the spiritual vision of you nor our bodies of your warmth and sweetness. The mortality lurking in our bodies spreads corruption through us; may the spiritual waters of your love cleanse the effects of mortality from our hearts. Grant, Lord, that we may hasten to our true city, and, like Moses on the mountaintop, possess it now in vision.

This excerpt from a sermon by Saint Ephrem the Syrian, deacon (Sermo 3, De fine et admonitione 2. 4-5: Opera, edición Lamy 3, 216-222) is used in the Roman Office of Readings on June 9, the feast of St. Ephraem, doctor of the Church and one of the most lyrical theologians in Christian history.

 

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Ephrem the Syrian, St.

St. Ephrem (also spelt Ephraem) the Syrian was a deacon who wrote his reflections almost exclusively in poetry, in the Syriac Aramaic language which was a dialect of the same language spoken by Our Lord and the apostles. He lived for most of his life in the city of Edessa, and wrote with such beauty on so many topics that he is regarded as one of the Doctors of the Church. Saint Ephrem died in the year 373 AD. His emphatic insistence on the absolute sinlessness of the Virgin Mary makes him an early witness of the Church’s belief in Mary’s Immaculate Conception.