O sinner, at long last, take heed to your salvation.



 

O sinner, at long last, take heed to your salvation.

Isolate yourself, and gather your thoughts and tell yourself, "How much time have you wasted nourishing the passions of your flesh and imagination, and what gain has it afforded you?
What have you achieved by this?
Woe to me, my soul, what a state we have attained, what chaos.
See everyone near me is ornamented with virtues and sincerely fears God, but I only walk in the dark.
In the early morning I repent of my actions, yet shortly thereafter I do even worse misdeeds.
The Lord has granted me strength and good health and woe I take this for granted and bring upon me the wrath of my Maker.
O my soul, why are you so apathetic?
Why are you so reckless?
For you cannot remain here forever.
When the end comes, the Lord will dispatch His angels to retrieve you and you will have to leave this world whether you want to or not.
So then, O man, in the end confess your great distress, and cease contradicting Him who formed you and stop resisting His commandments.
Brazenly say to the foe who entices you, "O devil, you have made me a shameful object of angels and men when I took your impious counsel.
You encouraged me to think, "Finally I will gratify my desire and woe, this small deed became a great abyss for me, and I offered myself up to your disgraceful will.
The water found a crack and created from it a large cleft.
You have darkened my mind with dirty thoughts that have hurled me from sin to sin.
You have broken my constraint with the excuse of bodily illness.
You have estranged me from prayer and vigil.
You have planted in me avarice, excusing this with the drawing near of old age.
My tears, you have dried up.
You have turned my heart to stone.
You have led me away from my obedience to Christ.
You have increased my distractions.
You had made me unruly.
I have come to the point where I fail to work on needful things and concern myself instead with empty dealings.
You have instructed me about covetousness and gossip.
I have become arrogant, irritable and angry because of you.
You have trained me in gluttony, drunkenness and sensuality.
You have taught my mind to scatter while I read and hymn psalms.
So I pray and do not know why?
I read psalms and at the same time I give my mind over to unrestrained wandering.
So having revealed the schemes of the foe, tell him with confidence, "O devil, I have had enough of you."
Leave the wicked one and attach yourself to the man-befriending God.
Are you injured?
Do not be depressed.
Did you fall?
Get up and say confidently, "Now I have begun."
Fall down before your compassionate master confessing your sins.
For before you speak he will already know what you want to say.
Before you open your lips, He will see what is inside your heart.
You will not be able to declare, "I have sinned," before you see Him extend His hands to welcome you and embrace you.
Draw near with faith and He will purify you immediately as he cleansed the leper.
Rise up from your bed.
As He raised the paralytic, so He will raise you up from the dead as He also raised Lazarus.

St. Ephraim the Syrian

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