Use the Time Wisely

De beatitudinibus atque infelicitatibus (Beatitudes and Woes)

Περὶ μακαρισμῶν καὶ ταλανισμῶν (CPG 3960), ed K.G. Phrantzoles, Ὁσίου Ἐφραίμ τοῦ Σύρου ἔργα, vol. 3 (Thessalonica: To Perivoli tis Panagias, 1990), 323-326.

Blessed are they that love God and, for love’s sake, disdain all earthly things.

Blessed are they that weep day and night, for they will be delivered from the coming wrath.

Blessed are they that willingly humble themselves, for they shall be exalted in the age to come.

Blessed are they that practice self-restraint, for the splendor of Paradise awaits them.

Blessed are they that struggle against their bodies with vigilance and asceticism, for the joy of Paradise has been prepared for them.

Blessed are they that purify themselves of evil thoughts, for the Holy Spirit dwells in them.

Blessed are they that love God with their whole soul above all the world, for they will be counted friends of Christ.

Blessed are they that willingly carry their cross and truly follow Christ, for they shall obtain the Jerusalem on high.

Blessed are they that truly gird their loins and have their lamps ready, awaiting the celestial Bridegroom, for they will reign with him in the kingdom of the heavens.

Blessed is he that has acquired spiritual eyes and has attained the unwavering contemplation of the good things to come, for he will attain them.

Blessed is he that has the day of judgment continually before his eyes and desires to be found well-pleasing.

Blessed is he who has gained victory over the pleasures of the flesh, for he shall find boldness on the final day of reckoning.

Blessed is he that is in mourning upon the earth for God’s sake, for his fruits will sprout in the heavens.

Blessed is he that does not eat donated bread, but in the toil of his own hands, as the Apostle says, giving also to others out of his own labors, for he shall find rest in the bosom of Abraham.

But woe to him that lives in sins and does not recognize the season of repentance, for in the age to come he shall repent and mourn to no avail.

Woe to him that says, “for now I will enjoy the flesh, and I will repent in old age,” for, without a doubt, death will come upon him suddenly, and his hope will be undone.

Woe to him that sins willingly, with the idea that tomorrow he will repent, for he does not know what tomorrow, or the middle of the night, will bring.

Woe to him that knows the good and yet gives a hand to the evil one, for the evil angels will snatch him up on the day of his departure.

Woe to him that by his own evil deeds causes his neighbor to stumble, for he will give an account on the day of judgment for those things concerning which he also scandalized others in the course of his wicked dealings.

Woe to him that abandons the world and yet continues to dwell on worldly things, for the parable of the plough will be his fate.

Woe to him that follows the desires of the flesh and despises the care of his soul, for his life and his hope will be dissolved in the earth.

Woe to him that does not hasten with all his strength to prepare now for the account he will have to give later.

 Woe to them that have ceased to endure. What will they do when the Lord makes inquiry?

 Beloved, take care to help one another in this short time, and through repentance and tears to obtain compassion and mercy from God, who awaits our return and gives us life. Let us not despise our salvation. Let us not take pleasure in the pleasures of this world, for they are temporary. Later, we regret them, and they always come back to the same thing. All the glory of this world passes from the earth to the earth, and it brings us nothing but sin and the punishment that goes with it.

 No one will help us on that day, not our friends and not our relatives; nothing but the repentance we undertake now and the virtues that aid it: true love, humble-mindedness, obedience, self-restraint. These we take with us from this life. These are able to resist the inimical powers, who wish to take possession of us at our departure from this life. These commend us to Christ the Savior, to whom is due worship him and glorification, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

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