Saint Ephraem’s last testament June 22, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Four Last Things, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, manhood, mortification, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
Saint Ephraem the Syrian was a fourth century Saint and Doctor of the Church. His voluminous writings and hymns are some of the greatest testimonies of our Faith ever created. He was an amazingly holy man but is somewhat unknown to the Western Church. His last testament is excerpted below, which is impressive not only for the virtue displayed but for the confirmation of Church Doctrine, penetrating all the way back to well before his life, which it provides. I think you will find much that is edifying on both fronts, and I do hope you read it all.
From, as usual, Dom Prosper Gueranger’s The Liturgical Year:
……When I think of my past life my knees tremble and my teeth chatter and when I call to mind my deeds I am overcome with horror. Do not embalm me for burial, such honor is not due to me; do not place sweet perfumes upon my body, I am not worthy of such distinction. Burn the incense in the sanctuary, but encompass me with your prayers. Offer sweet perfumes to God and chant psalms over my soul. Instead of pouring sweet perfumes and sweet savors over my body remember me in your prayers, for of what use are sweet odors to a dead man who has no senses with which to perceive them? Carry your incense to the house of God and there burn it that others may benefit thereby…….Luxury belongs to the rich, the dunghill to the poor. Authority belongs to the royal family, but abjection and humility to the stranger and wayfarer.
Come, brethren, hearken unto me, for it is decreed that I may live no longer. Help me on my journey by your prayers, psalms, and sacrifices. When the thirty days are over make a memento of me, brethren, for the dead are helped by the Masses offered for the living.….[A sure proof of Purgatory, prayers for the dead, the efficacy of good works for the receipt of Grace and salvation of both the living and the dead. And Saint Ephraem was citing this not as some new novelty, but as long held belief. From my own study, if the Church “erred” on these subjects as protestants claim, the error had to occur in the first century at the latest, because Doctrine on Purgatory and good works for Grace date from the earliest Church. Protestants essentially argue that the Church was founded in error, which makes Christ a liar…….but it is they who err]
The one thing that gives me courage and hope before God is that I have never insulted my Savior and no blasphemy has ever been uttered by my lips. Those who hated Thee, Lord, I have hated and have abhorred thy enemies (Ps CXXXVIII:21). Write my words upon your hearts and be mindful of what I say, for after I am dead evil persons will come among you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly, they are ravening wolves (St. Matt VII:15). Their speech is sweet, but the desires of their hearts are bitter; they have the appearance of good, but they are the messengers of satan. Fly from them and from their doctrines; do not go near them, for you know that whoever is found in a place where outrage has been offered to the king has to come into the court to be questioned according to the law. Even if he can prove he was not guilty he will be condemned for want of zeal. [Fascinating point. Have no truck with heretics and apostates save for trying to convert them. A harsh doctrine, perhaps, but given how many have fallen away from the Church under such influences, dare we discount it?] Do not sit with heretics nor associate with apostates. It would be better to dwell with a demon that with a renegade. [WOW] For if you abjure the demon he will flee, for he cannot stand before the name of Jesus, but even were you to exorcise the apostate ten thousand times he would not cease from his wickedness nor renounce his folly. It would be better to teach demons than to try to convince heretics. [Wow again] Demons bore witness, saying, “Thou art the Son of God” (St. Matt VIII:29), but infidels and heretics daily contend pertinaciously that He is not the Son of God. Satan himself who dwells in them confesses the truth, but they assiduously deny it……[Satan dwells in heretics and apostates. Check. Reading Ungodly Rage, I have to concur]
O my disciples, hear my precepts and be mindful of my words. Do not depart from my faith nor be untrue to my lessons. When you hear of seditions and tumults in the world be constant and hold fast to the truth and your faith. [I’d have a hard time finding better advice]
Farewell, my friends, and pray for me, my beloved. The time has come for the merchant to return to his own country. Woe is me, my merchandise is gone and my riches are all spent. No one weeps over the death of the holy because they pass from death to life; but weep for me, brethren, for we have wasted our days and hours in idleness. May peace abide on the earth and may her sons be joyful. May peace abide in the Church and may the persecution of the malicious cease. May the wicked become just and be converted from their sins.
Hail, O Angel guide, who leadest the soul out of the body, parting them asunder hat they may remain separated until the general resurrection….
God bless you, Saint Ephraem. You were the holy one of which you speak, but we do weep your passing, since we no longer have the light of your pious example and your unshakable proclamation of the Truth.
Pray for us! Implore the Lord to gift His Church again with Saints like you, truly great Saints who inspire millions to conversion of heart and amendment of life.
Pray especially for the leaders of our Church that they may cease being the wolves of which you speak and will become the spiritual fathers so many starved, half-dead millions crave.
Pray for me that I may cease frittering my life away in idleness and stop being such a weak, lukewarm soul.