21 February 2008

Uproot Hidden Weeds

Last night I went to a Presanctified Divine Liturgy at Holy Protection Byzantine Catholic Church here in Denver. Fr. Michael gave a wonderful sermon about Noah's Ark not just being a nice kid's story. He reminded us that outside the boat there were storms, dead bodies, and animal carcasses floating in the water. Not only should we be thankful that we are safe in the boat with all the cute animals, but we should also reflect on the death that is around us as the result of sin.

Another highlight for me was the Prayer of St. Ephraim. This prayer is recited during Lent by Eastern Catholics and Orthodox Christians. The translation I learned was different from how we recited it last night, but the difference made quite an impact: "Spare me from the spirit of indifference... bestow on me integrity".

Here are both versions:

Byzantine Catholic
Lord and Master of my life, spare me from the spirit of indifference, despair, lust for power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)
Instead, bestow on me, your servant, the spirit of integrity, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)
Yes, O Lord and King, let me see my own sins and not judge my brothers and sisters; for you are blessed forever and ever. Amen. (Prostration)

Eastern Orthodox
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust for power and idle talk.(Prostration)
But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.(Prostration)
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brothers and sisters. For blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen.(Prostration)

Hymn on Fasting 1.9
The Troubler mixes filth with our Clarity,
So as to make the first-fruits of our prayer and fasting hateful.
It is possible by his jealousy, that our gift be rebuked.
Take away your deceits from your fasts,
remove mockery from your praise.
May your voices wash your mouths from lies.
Allow us, O First Born in your mercy
To uproot hidden weeds from our thoughts.
~St. Ephraim the Syrian

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