ST. EPHREM is the light and glory of the Syriac Church. A mere youth, he entered on the religious life at Nisibis, his native place. Long years of retirement taught him the science of the Saints, and then God called him to Edessa, there to teach what he had learned so well. He defended the Faith against heresies, in books which have made him known as the Prophet of the Syrians. Crowds hung upon his words. Tears used to stop his voice when he preached. He trembled and made his hearers tremble at the thought of God's judgments; but he found in compunction and humility the way to peace, and he rested with unshaken confidence in the mercy of our blessed Lord. "I am setting out," he says, speaking of his own death, "I am setting out on a journey hard and dangerous. Thee, O Son of God, I have taken for my Viaticum. When I am hungry, I will feed on Thee. The infernal fire will not venture near me, for it cannot bear the fragrance of Thy Body and Thy Blood." His hymns won the hearts of the people, drove out the hymns of the Gnostic heretics, and gained for him the title which he bears in the Syriac Liturgy to this day—"the Harp of the Holy Ghost." Passionate as he was by nature, from the time he entered religion no one ever saw him angry. Abounding in labors till the last, he toiled for the suffering poor at Edessa in the famine of 378, and there lay down to die in extreme old age. What was the secret of success so various and so complete? Humility, which made him distrust himself and trust God. Till his death, he wept for the slight sins committed in the thoughtlessness of boyhood. He refused the dignity of the priesthood. "I," he told St. Basil, whom he went to see at the bidding of the Holy Spirit, "I am that Ephrem who has wandered from the path of heaven." Then bursting into tears, he cried out, "O my father, have pity on a sinful wretch, and lead me on the narrow way."
Reflection. —Humility is the path which leads to abiding peace and brings us near to the consolations of God.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
Commemoration of St. Donatus, Bishop and Martyr
Introit • Ps. 36, 30, 31
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of his God is in his heart (P.T. Alleluia, alleluia.) Ps. 36, 1. Be not emulous of evil-doers; nor envy them that work iniquity. Glory be …
O God, Who didst give to Blessed Cajetan, Thy confessor, the grace to imitate the apostolic way of life, grant us by his intercession and example ever to trust in Thee and to desire only heavenly things. Through our Lord.
O God, the glory of Thy priests, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may experience the assistance of Thy holy martyr and bishop, Donatus, whose festival we celebrate. Through our Lord.
Epistle • Ecclus. 31, 8-11
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom.
[The just man that hath not gone after earthly things is praised on earth and shall have glory everlasting.]
Blessed is the man that is found without blemish, and that hath not gone after gold, nor put his trust in money nor in treasures. Who is he, and we will praise him? For he hath done wonderful things in his life. Who hath been tried thereby, and made perfect, he shall have glory everlasting: he that could have transgressed, and hath not transgressed: and could do evil things, and hath not done them: therefore are his goods established in the Lord, and all the Church of the Saints shall declare his alms.
Gradual • Ps. 91, 13-14
The just shall flourish like the palm-tree; he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus in the house of the Lord. Ps. 91, 3. To show forth Thy mercy in the morning, and Thy truth in the night.
Alleluia, alleluia. James 1, 12. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life: Alleluia.
Gospel • Matt. 6, 24-33
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew.
[A continuation of the sermon on the mount.]
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment?
Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature by one cubit? And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin.But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. And if the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith?
Be not solicitous therefore, saying, What shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.
Offertory • Ps. 88, 25
My truth and My mercy shall be with Him: and My name shall his horn be exalted. (P.T. alleluia.)
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that our humble offerings may be both pleasing to Thee in honor of Thy saints and may cleanse us alike in body and soul. Through our Lord.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that through the intercession of Thy holy bishop and martyrs, Donatus, whom we venerate with the offerings dedicated to the praise of Thy name, the fruit of tender devotion may increase in us. Through our Lord.
Communion • Matt. 24, 46, 47
Blessed is the servant who when the Lord shall come, He shall find watching: Ament I say to you, He shall set him over all His goods. (P.T. Alleluia.)
We beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we, who have partaken of heavenly nourishment, may, by the intercession of blessed Cajetan, Thy confessor, be fortified by it against all adverse influences. Through our Lord.