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The Lenten Prayer of St Ephrem the Syrian Part 5

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  • Thomas Daniel
    The Lenten Prayer of St Ephrem the Syrian Part 5 By Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann These four are thus the negative objects of repentance. They are the
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 23, 2003
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      The Lenten Prayer of St Ephrem the Syrian Part 5

      By Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann

      These four are thus the negative "objects" of repentance. They are the
      obstacles to be removed. But God alone can remove them. Hence, the
      first part of the lenten prayer; this cry from the bottom of human
      helplessness. Then the prayer moves to the positive aims of repentance
      which also are four.

      Chastity! If one does not reduce this term, as is so often and
      erroneously done, only to its sexual connotations, it is understood
      as the positive counterpart of sloth. The exact and full translation
      of the Greek sofrosini and the Russian tselomudryie ought to be whole
      -mindedness. Sloth is, first of all, dissipation, the brokenness of
      our vision and energy, the inability to see the whole. Its opposite
      then is precisely wholeness. If we usually mean by chastity the
      virtue opposed to sexual depravity, it is because the broken
      character of our existence is nowhere better manifested than in
      sexual lust – the alienation of the body from the life and control of
      the spirit. Christ restores wholeness in us and He does so by
      restoring in us the true scale of values by leading us back to God.

      The first and wonderful fruit of this wholeness or chastity is
      humility. We already spoke of it. It is above everything else the
      victory of truth in us, the elimination of all lies in which we
      usually live. Humility alone is capable of truth, of seeing and
      accepting things as they are and therefore of seeing God's majesty
      and goodness and love in everything. This is why we are told that God
      gives grace to the humble and resists the proud.

      contd... Part 6
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