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Friday 8 February 2013

On being a bride......from St. Ephrem and the beginning of a new series

In response to those who want more lives of the saints, I am going to concentrate in Lent on the Doctors of the Church. There are so many, I am sure it will keep both readers and me busy in looking at the lives of these wonderful people. However, I shall not concentrate on biographies, but key ideas from each one. 

I start with the great Syrian, Ephrem of Syria.

St. Ephraem, or Ephraim, (306 – 373), was the first to call Mary, the Bride of Christ. The second selection here is part of his hymn to Mary.

But, this saint also referred to the soul, each person's soul, as a Bride of Christ.

I cannot stress this idea enough here, as I have on this blog.

If we realize that the soul is Christ's Bride, we would respond quite differently to grace. Meditate on this saying of the great saint.

The soul is Your bride,

The body Your bridal chamber,
Your guests are the senses and the thoughts,
And if a single body is a wedding feast for You,
How great is Your banquet for the whole Church!
- St. Ephrem

Please take time to read all those posts on love here on this blog. Perhaps these will help you in Lent to come closer to Christ and understand how much you are loved and cherished by Christ Himself, Who is God and Who woos you. Here is a section from St. Ephrem on Mary as the Bride of Christ.

To Your Mother, Lord, no man knew what name to give. Should he call her Virgin, her Child stood ...; and married no man knew her to be! If then none comprehended Your Mother, who shall suffice for You?
For she was, alone, Your Mother; along with all, Your Sister. She was Your mother, she was Your Sister. She along with chaste women was Your betrothed. With everything You adorned Her, You ornament of Your Mother.
For she was Your Bride by nature ere You had come; she conceived You not by nature after You had come, O Holy One, and was a Virgin when she had brought You forth in holiness, Mary gained in You, O Lord, the honours of all married women. She conceived ... within her without marriage. There was milk in her breasts, not after the way of nature. You made the thirsty land suddenly a fountain of milk.
If she carried You, Your mighty look made her burden light; if she gave You to eat, it was because You were hungry; if she gave You to drink [it was], because You were thirsty; willingly if she embraced You, You, the coal of mercies, kept her bosom safe.
A wonder is Your Mother. The Lord entered her, and became a servant: the Word entered her, and became silent within her; thunder entered her, and His voice was still: the Shepherd of all entered her; He became a Lamb in her, and came forth bleating.
The Belly of Your Mother changed the order of things, O You that orders all! The rich went in, He came out poor: the High One went in, He came out lowly. Brightness went into her and clothed Himself, and came forth a despised form.

Below is a short Lenten Prayer by St. Ephrem.