St ANTHONY of PADUA NOVENA for all our Needs
DAY SIX – 9 JUNE
O glorious St. Anthony,
chosen by God to preach His Word,
you received from Him the gift of tongues
and the power of working the most extraordinary miracles.
O good St. Anthony,
pray that I may fulfill the will of God in all things
so that I may love Him, with you, for all eternity.
O kind St. Anthony, I beseech you,
obtain for me the grace that I desire,
the favour I seek in this novena
(State your intention).
One Our Father, one Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father, in honour of Saint Anthony.
The writings of Saint Ephrem speak volumes about his passion for the truth of the Gospel and his zeal for spreading the Word of God. We are blessed to have poems, hymns, prayers and writings today, penned nearly 2 centuries ago, reminding us not only of the constancy of the love of the Lord but of the long-standing traditions and teachings of the Church. As we read the writings of Saint Ephrem, we pray for his zeal for the Lord and the future of His Church on earth.
Before his death, Saint Ephrem reflected on his life, writing in his testament: “There grew a vine-shoot on my tongue: and increased and reached unto heaven. And it yielded fruit without measure: leaves likewise without number. It spread, it stretched wide, it bore fruit: all creation drew near. And the more they were that gathered,the more its clusters abounded. These clusters were the Homilies and these leaves the Hymns. God was the giver of them, glory to Him for His grace! For He gave to me of His good pleasure, from the storehouse of His treasures.”
St Ephrem, pray for us that we too may grow a vine-shoot on our tongues by the grace of God!
“Forget not the Holy Spirit at the moment of your enlightenment; He is ready to mark your soul with His seal…. He will give you the heavenly and divine seal which makes the devil tremble; He will arm you for the fight; He will give you strength.”
“Glory be to Him, Who received from us, that He might give to us; that through that which is ours, we might more abundantly receive of that which is His!”
“Virtues are formed by PRAYER. PRAYER preserves temperance. PRAYER suppresses anger. PRAYER prevents emotions of pride and envy. PRAYER draws into the soul the Holy Spirit and raises man to Heaven.”
“When you begin to read or listen to the Holy Scriptures, pray to God thus: “Lord Jesus Christ, open the ears and eyes of my heart so that I may hear Your words and understand them and may fulfill Your will.” Always pray to God like this, that He might illumine your mind and open to you the power of His words. Many, having trusted in their own reason, have turned away into deception.”
Be on Guard and pray that you may not undergo the test…………….Matthew 26:41
REFLECTION – “Jesus, who feared nothing, experienced fear and asked to be freed from death – although He knew it was impossible.
How much more must we persevere in prayer before temptation assails us – so that we may be freed when the test has come!”…St Ephrem
PRAYER – Heavenly Father, help me to work out my salvation in fear and trembling. Let me pray daily that I may withstand temptation and carry out Your will in all things. St Ephrem, please pray for us, that we may withstand the evils which surround us! Amen
O Lord and Master of my life
By St Ephrem of Syria (306-373) Doctor of the Church
O Lord and Master of my life,
grant not unto me a spirit of idleness,
of lust for power
and of vain speaking.
But bestow upon me, Your servant,
the spirit of chastity,
and of love.
Yea, O Lord and King,
grant that I may perceive
my own transgressions
and judge not my brother,
for blessed are You unto ages of ages. Amen
Saint of the Day – 9 June – St Ephrem of Syria – Father & Doctor of the Church – Also known as: Ephrem of Edessa, Ephrem the Syrian, Ephraem…, Ephraim…, Ephraem Syrus, Deacon of Edessa, Harp of the Holy Spirit, Jefrem Sirin, Sun of the Syrians/Venerable Father. Deacon/Confessor/Exegesist/Writer/Poet/Hymnographer/Theologian/Teacher/Orator/Defender of the Faith/ – declared Doctor of the Church in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV. Born – c306 at Nisibis, Mesopotamia (in modern Syria) – Died on 9 June 373 at Edessa (in modern Iraq) of natural causes. His tomb is in an Armenian monastery, Der Serkis, west of Edessa. Patron of Spiritual directors and spiritual leaders. Attributes – hermit sitting on a column, deacon’s vestments and thurible, man composing hymns with a lyre, man in a cave with a book, man with a cross on his brow, pointing upwards, vine and scroll.
Born in Nisibis, Mesopotamia, he was baptised as a young man and became famous as a teacher in his native city. When the Christian emperor had to cede Nisibis to the Persians, Ephrem fled as a refugee to Edessa, along with many other Christians. He is credited with attracting great glory to the biblical school there. He was ordained a deacon but declined becoming a priest as he felt he was unworthy.
He had a prolific pen and his writings best illumine his holiness. Although he was not a man of great scholarship, his works reflect deep insight and knowledge of the Scriptures. In writing about the mysteries of humanity’s redemption, Ephrem reveals a realistic and humanly sympathetic spirit and a great devotion to the humanity of Jesus. It is said that his poetic account of the Last Judgment inspired Dante.
Over four hundred hymns composed by Ephrem still exist. Granted that some have been lost, Ephrem’s productivity is not in doubt. Church historians credit Ephrem with having written over three million lines.
The most important of his works are his lyric, teaching hymns. These hymns are full of rich, poetic imagery drawn from biblical sources, folk tradition and other religions and philosophies.
Particularly influential were his Hymns Against Heresies. Ephrem used these to warn his flock of the heresies that threatened to divide the early church. He lamented that the faithful were “tossed to and fro and carried around with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness and deceitful wiles.” He devised hymns laden with doctrinal details to inoculate right-thinking Christians against heresies such as docetism. The Hymns Against Heresies employ colourful metaphors to describe the Incarnation of Christ as fully human and divine. Ephrem asserts that Christ’s unity of humanity and divinity represents peace, perfection and salvation; in contrast, docetism and other heresies sought to divide or reduce Christ’s nature and, in doing so, rend and devalue Christ’s followers with their false teachings.
Ephrem is popularly believed to have taken legendary journeys. In one of these he visits St Basil of Caesarea. This links the Syrian Ephrem with the Cappadocian Fathers and is an important theological bridge between the spiritual view of the two, who held much in common. Ephrem is also supposed to have visited Saint Pishoy in the monasteries of Scetes in Egypt. As with the legendary visit with Basil, this visit is a theological bridge between the origins of monasticism and its spread throughout the church.
St Ephrem eventually settled in Edessa (modern Şanlıurfa) in 363. He was in his late fifties then and in Edessa he applied himself to ministry in his new church and seems to have continued his work as a teacher, perhaps in the School of Edessa. Edessa had always been at the heart of the Syriac-speaking world and the city was full of rival philosophies and religions. Ephrem comments that orthodox Nicene Christians were simply called “Palutians” in Edessa, after a former bishop. Arians, Marcionites, Manichees, Bardaisanites and various gnostic sects proclaimed themselves as the true church. In this confusion, Ephrem wrote a great number of homilies and hymns defending Nicene orthodoxy. After a ten-year residency in Edessa, in his sixties, Ephrem succumbed to the plague as he ministered to its victims. The most reliable date for his death is 9 June 373.
St Ephrem of Syria (Optional Memorial)
Madonna della Fonte Nuova
Mary, Mother of Grace
Mary of the Walnut
Bl Alexander of Kouchta
St Alexander of Prusa
Bl Anne Marie Taigi
St Arnulf of Velseca
St Baithen of Iona
St Columba of Iona
St Comus of Scotland
St Cumian of Bobbio
Bl Diana d’Andalo
St Diomedes of Tarsus
Bl Henry the Shoemaker
St Jose de Anchieta
Bl Joseph Imbert
St Julian of Mesopotamia
St Luciano Verdejo Acuña
Bl Luigi Boccardo
St Maximian of Syracuse
St Pelagia of Antioch
St Richard of Andria
Bl Robert Salt
Bl Sylvester Ventura
St Valerius of Milan
St Vincent of Agen
Martyrs of Arbil – 5 saints: Five nuns who were martyred together in the persecutions of Tamsabur for refusing to renounce Christianity for sun-worship – Amai, Mariamne, Martha, Mary and Tecla. They were beheaded on 31 May 347 at Arbil, Assyria (in modern Kurdistan, Iraq)