Tag Archives: St. Ephrem

Reflection on Day 8 and 9: The Book of Nature

Saint Ephrem the Syrian of the 4th century writes that “God reveals his truth in two books, the book of nature and the book of the Scriptures.” The past two days have borne out that truth for me in a beautiful diptych of meditation. On Day 8 we walked through beautifully cultivated vineyards heavily laden with robustly healthy grapes. Grapes so dark and beautiful that they are mirror of the sun as they await to be harvested soon for Rioja vino tinto. My mind’s eye became a veritable Scriptural mosaic of the images of grapes and wine that our Lord gives to gladden the hearts of men. More importantly the abundance of grapes reveals a mystery hidden from ages past but now revealed; that Jesus is the Messianic fulfillment of the symbol of wine in the Scriptures of ancient Israel, in that Jesus is, in the words of Saint John, the best wine reserved even until now. And he took a cup of wine and said “This is my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant.” Day 8 was so filled with the richness of a reflection that brought me such spiritual delight.

On Day 9 the terrain changed in that in the intensity of the heat of the sun was almost unbearable as we walked through beautifully cultivated land recently harvested. The rolling hills were carpeted with the remains of the harvest. Rolling hills that once were covered with wheat and hay. Once again my mind’s eye became a veritable Scriptural mosaic of the images of wheat. And the finest of wheat the Lord can provide… the bread come down from heaven to sustain us on our camino to eternity.

Prayer, A Surge of the Heart

“Birds fly, fish swim and human beings pray.”

Saint Ephrem the Syrian of the fourth century speaks a word about prayer that invites us into a deeper relationship with the living God. The source and summit of Christian prayer is the celebration of the Mass and we are all encouraged to not only be faithful to the Sunday Mass, but make every effort to try to assist at daily Mass whenever possible. At the parish (www.saintbenedictparish.org, in Richmond, Virginia, USA) we offer many opportunities for formal prayer. From Monday to Friday at 7 am, a group of parishioners gather for Morning Prayer under the direction of Ed Owens. On Thursday’s after 5:30 Mass, we have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and the public recitation of the Most Holy Rosary and Benediction. This religious exercise takes about 25 minutes, but that extra time is well worth it in light of the spiritual benefit. Our Thursday evening attendance is growing. Consider attending and inviting friends to spend some time with Our Lord in adoration.