Thursday, June 8, 2017

Saint June 9 : St. Ephrem of Syria : Doctor : Patron of #Spiritual Directors

St. Ephrem of Syria DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Feast: June 9

Information:
Feast Day:
June 9
Born:
306 at Nisibis, Mesopotamia (in modern Syria)
Died:
9 June 373 at Edessa (in modern Iraq)
Patron of:
Spiritual directors and spiritual leaders
Born at Nisibis, then under Roman rule, early in the fourth century; died June, 373. The name of his father is unknown, but he was a pagan and a priest of the goddess Abnil or Abizal. His mother was a native of Amid. Ephraem was instructed in the Christian mysteries by St. James, the famous Bishop of Nisibis, and was baptized at the age of eighteen (or twenty-eight). Thenceforth he became more intimate with the holy bishop, who availed himself of the services of Ephraem to renew the moral life of the citizens of Nisibis, especially during the sieges of 338, 346, and 350. One of his biographers relates that on a certain occasion he cursed from the city walls the Persian hosts, whereupon a cloud of flies and mosquitoes settled on the army of Sapor II  and compelled it to withdraw. The adventurous campaign of Julian the Apostate, which for a time menaced Persia, ended, as is well known, in disaster, and his successor, Jovianus, was only too happy to rescue from annihilation some remnant of the great army which his predecessor had led across the Euphrates. To accomplish even so much the emperor had to sign a disadvantageous treaty, by the terms of which Rome lost the Eastern provinces conquered at the end of the third century; among the cities retroceded to Persia was Nisibis (363). To escape the cruel persecution that was then raging in Persia, most of the Christian population abandoned Nisibis en masse. Ephraem went with his people, and settled first at Beit-Garbaya, then at Amid, finally at Edessa, the capital of Osrhoene, where he spent the remaining ten years of his life, a hermit remarkable for his  severe asceticism. Nevertheless he took an interest in all matters that closely concerned the population of Edessa. Several ancient writers say that he was a deacon; as such he could well have been authorized to preach in public. At this time some ten heretical sects were active in Edessa; Ephraem contended vigorously with all of them, notably with the disciples of the illustrious philosopher Bardesanes. To this period belongs nearly all his literary work; apart from some poems composed at Nisibis, the rest of his writings-sermons, hymns, exegetical treatises-date from his sojourn at Edessa. It is not improbable that he is one of the chief founders of the theological "School of the Persians", so called because its first students and original masters were Persian Christian refugees of 363. At his death St. Ephraem was borne without pomp to the cemetery "of the foreigners". The Armenian monks of the monastery of St. Sergius at Edessa claim to possess his body.

The aforesaid facts represent all that is historically certain concerning the career of Ephraem. All details added later by Syrian biographers are at best of doubtful value. To this class belong not only the legendary and occasionally puerile traits so dear to Oriental writers, but also others seemingly reliable, e.g. an alleged journey to Egypt with a sojourn of eight years, during which he is said to have confuted publicly certain spokesmen of the Arian heretics. The relations of St. Ephraem and St. Basil are narrated by very reliable authors, e.g. St. Gregory of Nyssa (the Pseudo?) and Sozomen, according to whom the hermit of Edessa, attracted by the great reputation of St. Basil, resolved to visit him at Caesarea. He was warmly received and was ordained deacon by St. Basil; four years later he refused both the priesthood and the episcopate that St. Basil offered him through delegates sent for that purpose to Edessa. Though Ephraem seems to have been quite ignorant of Greek, this meeting with St. Basil is not improbable; some good critics, however, hold the evidence insufficient, and therefore reject it, or at least withhold their adhesion. The life of St. Ephraem, therefore, offers not a few obscure problems; only the general outline of his career is known to us. It is certain, however, that while he lived he was very influential among the Syrian Christians of Edessa, and that his memory was revered by all, Orthodox, Monophysites, and Nestorians. They call him the "sun of the Syrians," the "column of the Church", the "harp of the Holy Spirit". More extraordinary still is the homage paid by the Greeks who rarely mention Syrian writers. Among the works of St. Gregory of Nyssa (P.G., XLVI, 819) is a sermon (though not acknowledged by some) which is a real panegyric of St. Ephraem. Twenty years after the latter's death St. Jerome mentions him as follows in his catalogue of illustrious Christians: "Ephraem, deacon of the Church of Edessa, wrote many works [opuscula] in Syriac, and became so famous that his writings are publicly read in some churches after the Sacred Scriptures. I have read in Greek a volume of his on the Holy Spirit; though it was only a translation, I recognized therein the sublime genius of the man" (De viris illustr., c. cxv). Theodoret of Cyrus also praised his poetic genius and theological knowledge (Hist. Eccl., IV, xxvi). Sozomen pretends that Ephraem wrote 3,000,000 verses, and gives the names of some of his disciples, some of whom remained orthodox, while others fell into heresy (Hist. Eccl., III, xvi). From the Syrian and Byzantine Churches the fame of Ephraem spread among all Christians. The Roman Martyrology mentions him on 1 February. In their menologies and synaxaria Greeks and Russians, Jacobites, Chaldeans, Copts, and Armenians honour the holy deacon of Edessa.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday June 8 2017 - #Eucharist


Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 356


Reading 1TB 6:10-11; 7:1BCDE, 9-17; 8:4-9A

When the angel Raphael and Tobiah had entered Media
and were getting close to Ecbatana,
Raphael said to the boy,
"Tobiah, my brother!"
He replied: "Here I am!"
He said: "Tonight we must stay with Raguel, who is a relative of yours.
He has a daughter named Sarah."

So he brought him to the house of Raguel,
whom they found seated by his courtyard gate.
They greeted him first.
He said to them, "Greetings to you too, brothers!
Good health to you, and welcome!"
And he brought them into his home.

Raguel slaughtered a ram from the flock
and gave them a cordial reception.
When they had bathed and reclined to eat, Tobiah said to Raphael,
"Brother Azariah, ask Raguel to let me marry
my kinswoman Sarah."
Raguel overheard the words; so he said to the boy:
"Eat and drink and be merry tonight,
for no man is more entitled
to marry my daughter Sarah than you, brother.
Besides, not even I have the right to give her to anyone but you,
because you are my closest relative.
But I will explain the situation to you very frankly.
I have given her in marriage to seven men,
all of whom were kinsmen of ours,
and all died on the very night they approached her.
But now, son, eat and drink.
I am sure the Lord will look after you both."
Tobiah answered,
"I will eat or drink nothing until you set aside what belongs to me."

Raguel said to him: "I will do it.
She is yours according to the decree of the Book of Moses.
Your marriage to her has been decided in heaven!
Take your kinswoman;
from now on you are her love, and she is your beloved.
She is yours today and ever after.
And tonight, son, may the Lord of heaven prosper you both.
May he grant you mercy and peace."
Then Raguel called his daughter Sarah, and she came to him.
He took her by the hand and gave her to Tobiah with the words:
"Take her according to the law.
According to the decree written in the Book of Moses
she is your wife.
Take her and bring her back safely to your father.
And may the God of heaven grant both of you peace and prosperity."
Raguel then called Sarah's mother and told her to bring a scroll,
so that he might draw up a marriage contract
stating that he gave Sarah to Tobiah as his wife
according to the decree of the Mosaic law.
Her mother brought the scroll,
and Raguel drew up the contract, to which they affixed their seals.

Afterward they began to eat and drink.
Later Raguel called his wife Edna and said,
"My love, prepare the other bedroom and bring the girl there."
She went and made the bed in the room, as she was told,
and brought the girl there.
After she had cried over her, she wiped away the tears and said:
"Be brave, my daughter.
May the Lord grant you joy in place of your grief.
Courage, my daughter."
Then she left.

When the girl's parents left the bedroom
and closed the door behind them,
Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife,
"My love, get up.
Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us
and to grant us deliverance."
She got up, and they started to pray
and beg that deliverance might be theirs.
And they began to say:

"Blessed are you, O God of our fathers,
praised be your name forever and ever.
Let the heavens and all your creation
praise you forever.
You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve
to be his help and support;
and from these two the human race descended.
You said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone;
let us make him a partner like himself.'
Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine
not because of lust,
but for a noble purpose.
Call down your mercy on me and on her,
and allow us to live together to a happy old age."

They said together, "Amen, amen," and went to bed for the night.

Responsorial PsalmPS 128:1-2, 3, 4-5

R. (see 1a) Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
Blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
Your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

AlleluiaSEE 2 TM 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,

and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God."
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.