A Prayer of St Ephrem the Syrian, For Those Who Despair

Do not lose heart, O soul, do not grieve. Pronounce not over yourself a final judgement for the multitude of your sins. Do not commit yourself to fire. Do not say the Lord has cast me from His face. Such words are not pleasing to God. Can it be that one who is fallen cannot get up? Can it be that he who is turned away cannot turn back again? Do you not hear how kind the father is to a prodigal? Do not be ashamed to turn back and say boldly, “I will arise and go to my father.” Arise, and go!   He will accept you and not reproach you but rather rejoice at your return. He awaits you, just do not be ashamed and do not hide from the face of God as Adam did.

It was for your sake that Christ was crucified. So, will he cast you aside? He knows who oppresses us. He knows that we have no other help but him alone. Christ knows that man is miserable. Do not give yourself up in despair and apathy assuming that you have been prepared for the fire. Christ derives no consolation from thrusting us into the fire. He gains nothing if He sends us into the abyss to be tormented. Imitate the prodigal son – leave the city that starves you. Come and beseech Him and you shall behold the glory of God. Your face shall be enlightened and you will rejoice in the sweetness of Paradise. Glory to the Lord and lover of mankind who saves us!   Amen.