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Death My Friend.

Terrible is the approach of death to people who are passionate, sinful and weak, who have not tried to live blamelessly in this vain world.

Our Holy Father - Ephraim the Syrian

Those who labor, and are accomplished strugglers of piety, rejoice at the hour of departure. Seeing before their eyes the great labor of their struggle, vigilance, fasting, prostrations, prayer, tears, and sackcloths, their souls rejoice when they are summoned from their bodies into repose.

But parting with this life gives exceeding sorrow to the sinner, who sees before his eyes his negligence and its bitter fruits...

What repentance shall then embrace the heart of him who has here neglected his salvation! Alas, O my soul, alas, why dost thou neglect thy life? All of a sudden thy summons will come - what wilt thou do in that place if thou has been careless here? What wilt thou do before the throne of the just Judge? How is it that the enemy steals from thee heavenly riches, but thou art so distracted that thou dost not know it?

Have mercy on me, O long suffering Son of God and sinless Christ! Grant me, O my Savior, to contemplate the life to come, that I might perform Thy will. In my old age at least make me a participant in Thy grace, that I might at least complete my untoward life with a good end.

How shall I who am negligent stand before Thy terrible throne?

How shall I who am impatient and useless enter into the community of those who have here brought forth the fruits of righteousness? By what traits will they acknowledge me when the saints and the righteous upon their heavenly beds recognize each other according to their deeds?

No, you have no cause to flatter yourself! The righteous, the chaste and the humble will walk in unapproachable light, but the sinful, the slothful, the proud, the haughty and those who carelessly live for their own gratification like I do - will find themselves in the eternal unquenchable fire.

Be sobered, O my soul, and pray with tears.

Cry out from all thy heart that before the end comes thou mightest be converted and make a good start. Grant this to us, O Lord, by the prayers of our immaculate Lady the Theotokos and of all Thy saints, for Thou art blessed unto the ages.

Glory to Thee our God

+ Glory to Thee for All Things! +

Excerpted by Bishop Theophan the Recluse from the works of our Holy Father Ephraim the Syrian.

PHOTOGRAPHY: by Anna Elizabeth Cook (Grand Rapids, MI)

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1 Comment

Dec 29, 2022

Glory forever!

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