Back to St Ephrem index

 

 

HYMN 13

 

He who tried to test
his Lord is now, himself,
tested on all sides.
Young men torture him
by fasting, those
who live alone in the desert,
tear him up, the bones
of the martyrs are a torment
to him, he is all
entangled in a net of prayer and thrown
into the flames he had lit for us.

He who lifted Him
up on the cross is now
cast down; the vinegar
he mixed for Him now fills
his mouth; the spear that pierced
His side has torn
his heart. He threw Him
in with a thief but He
stole his thief from him;
he who mocked Him
through the Pharisees is become
the mockery of the world.

Now he who gave Him
a sponge with vinegar to drink
is very thirsty, he recalls
the sacrifices of drink that were
poured out for him, and the little
cakes that were offered him, so that he grew
so fat he nearly burst; but now
his prisoner is slipping away and with him goes
all that extra flesh; when we abstain
from drinking wine,
his substance ebbs away
and he is near to death.

This is his curse. If you or I
should not eat meat, his flesh wastes away; his blood,
too, is drained
out of him if we refrain
from drinking wine; he is on fire
if our
passions are restrained;
and he is burned up in a mighty
flame, if we
control our desire.

He was killed
when he killed You,
he who killed us;
when he crucified You, You
drove the nails into him; he was mocked
with the thorns he
put on Your head;
beaten with the rod
that struck You; and the soldiers
spitting on You, spat
on him and, when he stripped
You of Your clothes, all his many
godly disguises fell away.

A rude person, full of abuse,
fills him with delight,
and he will rejoice
in a quarrel on the street
like one who goes into
a wedding feast;
hate is for him
a four square meal, and spite
is the promise
of a good night's sleep;
jealously is a long, cool,
languorous drink; while murder
give him his meat,
envy his daily bread.

If he hears no
voices full of mockery,
he is as one
who cannot hear; nor can he see
if he is not surrounded by
pornography. Two enemies
reconciled, and he
has lost a friend, and when
brothers dwell together in unity,
he is as one cast out
in solitude and misery.

Since You had all his
tambourines and his drums and his fifes
and his dancing and his lamentations all
thrown out, he has begun
to work on us and to divide us, using
the spirit of curiosity,
by which he forms us into
a musical instrument, which he can then play
for his own comfort, cheering himself up
with his own pleasures and stories and prying
into hidden mysteries.

So quarrelsome people have been
led astray, and boisterous
and cantankerous professors
of this and that appear.
The idols have fallen, but, behold,
all the divinities in nature have been
named and labelled,
studied and classified; once
we have lost our intellectual
freedom, we become
slaves to the multitudinous
appearances of the world. Blessed is he
who can, instead,
blot out with his tears the record
of every word and every passion
the devil has given him.

He tested You in the wilderness, and now, with all Your
monks and anchorites, the wilderness, which was
his habitation, is become
a place of holiness; he led
You up to the top of a mountain,
so that You would
worship Him, and now, too,
his worship has been
banished from the high places.
He tested You on the pinnacle
of a temple and now
the pinnacles of his temples are thrown down.
The hunter has been led
off course by the prey, and now
he is, himself, ensnared.

The stone by which he
tried to test You has become
the Stone not cut with human hands
to overthrow the stone
idols he set up for hollow
adoration; he said:
"Throw Yourself down", and You,
Who had come down to join
with human nature went
up with him to the highest peak
to take up even higher all
who fell because of him,
thus leaving him
below.