Friday, June 09, 2006

Ephrem the Syrian

I almost forgot, despite deliberately intending not to do so -- today is the feast of St. Ephrem the Syrian in the Catholic calendar, at least for many places (his feast is January 28 in the Orthodox calendar). What follows is a selection from Ephrem's Hymn against Bardaisan:

There is One Being, who knows Himself and sees Himself.
He dwells in Himself,
And from Himself sets forth.
Glory to His Name.
This is a Being who by His own will is in every place,
Who is invisible and visible,
Manifest and secret.
He is above and below.

Mingling and condescending by His grace among the lower;
Loftier and more exalted, as befits His glory, than the higher.
The swift cannot exceed His swiftness,
Nor the slow outlast His patience.

He is before all and after all,
And in the midst of all.
He is like the sea,
In that all creation moves in Him.
As the waters beset the fish in all their movements,
The Creator is clad with everything which is made,
Both great and small.
And as the fish are hidden in the water,
There is hidden in God height and depth,
Far and near,
And the inhabitants thereof.
And as the water meets the fishes everywhere it goes,
So God meets everyone who walks.
And as the water touches the fish at every turn it makes,
God accompanies and sees every man in all his deeds.

Men cannot move the earth which is their chariot,
Neither does anyone go far from the Just One who is his associate.
The Good One is united to the body,
And light to the eyes.
A man is not able to flee from his soul,
For it is with him.
Nor is a man hid from the Good,
For He besets him.
As the water surrounds the fish and it feels it,
So also do all natures feel God.

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