Syria is being torn apart these days as the people rise up to remove a leader they find oppressive., whose forces have been involved in the killing of many innocent protestors. And so it is good to remember today Saint Ephrem the Syrian, a deacon and doctor of the church, who lived in Edessa and died in 373.
He is known especially for the many hymns he wrote which are still used in the Syrian Church. A few months before his death he was asked by the people to distribute grain to people devastated by a winter famine. They would trust no one else with the task.
One of the prayers he wrote is prayed in the Orthodox Lenten liturgies. It is worth praying today, remembering the suffering people of Syria.
Lord and master of my life,
take from me the spirit of laziness,
of dejection, of domination, of empty words;
grant to me your servant
a spirit of chastity,
of humility, of patience and love;
Yes, Lord, permit me to see my sins
and not to judge my brother,
for you are blessed, world without end.