St. Ephrem the Syrian on the Nativity of our Lord

St. Ephrem the Syrian (4th Century) is a Father of the Church and Doctor of the Church.  He is well known for his beautiful theological poetry.  Here are a few quotes from St. Ephrem on the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Blessed be the Child Who today delights Bethlehem.

Blessed be the Newborn Who today made humanity young again.

Blessed be the Fruit Who bowed Himself down for our hunger.

Blessed be the Gracious One who suddenly enriched

All of our poverty and filled our need.

Blessed be He Whose mercy inclined Him to heal our sickness.”

– From Hymn 3 On the Nativity

“In this month slaves recline

Upon rugs, and the free recline

Upon carpets, and kings recline

Upon tapestries.  In a manger

The Lord of the universe reclined for the sake of the universe.

Behold, O Bethlehem, David the king

Clothes himself in fine white linen.  The Lord of David

And Son of David hid His glory

In swaddling clothes.  His swaddling clothes gave

A robe of glory to human beings.

-From Hymn 5 On the Nativity

“On this feast let everyone garland

The door of his heart.”

– From Hymn 5 On the Nativity

“The Power that governs all dwelt in a small womb.

While dwelling there, He was holding the reins of the universe.

His Parent was ready for His will to be fulfilled.

The heavens and all the creation were filled by Him.

The Sun entered the womb, and in the height and depth

His rays were dwelling.

He dwelt in the vast wombs of all creation.  They were too small to contain the greatness of the First-born.”

– From Hymn 21 On the Nativity

“God had seen that we worshiped creatures.

He put on a created body to catch us by our habit.

Behold by this fashioned one our Fashioner healed us,

And by this creature our Creator revived us.

His force did not govern us.  Blessed is He Who came in what is ours

And mingled us into what is His.

O [You] Greater than measure Who became immeasurably small,

From glorious splendor You humbled Yourself to ignominy.”

– From Hymn 21 on the Nativity

[Mary] gave birth without [the assistance of] a man.  Just as in the beginning Eve was born of Adam without intercourse, so too [in the case of] Joseph and Mary, his virgin and spouse.  Eve gave birth to the murderer, but Mary gave birth to the Life-Giver.  The former gave birth to him who shed the blood of his brother, but the latter to him whose blood was shed by his brothers.”

– From Commentary on Tatian’s Diatessaron

Pray for me.

I’ll pray for you.

Father Isaac

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