Holy Friday (Elder Ephraim of Arizona, 1980)

NOTE: The following is taken from Fire from the Holy Mountain: The Prayer Diary of Elder Epraim, entry for March 22, 1980, Holy Friday, pp. 84-85:

Elder Ephraim Arizonaa

“Already the unjust judges have dipped their pens in ink, and Jesus is sentenced and condemned to the Cross…” (Matins Aposticha, Holy Friday).

O my light, O my joy, what is happening now with Your Passion! You, my sweet breath, my Jesus, You lifted on Your shoulders the burden of my guilt, and like a harmless, innocent, pure, and charming lamb, You are led to the slaughter of crucifixion for my sake.

Oh, what can I say! My mind stops before Your infinite love and sacrifice. I suffer along with You as I follow You during the entire journey of Your sacrifice for me on the Cross. I have nothing else to give You and I sit and weep, because I cannot help You in what is happening to You and in what You allow and have decided. You suffer as man, but as God You command everything to take place.

Oh. I am ashamed to look at You up on Your Cross, because You were innocent and because they should have crucified me. I am the guilty one. But You knew, my Lord, that I could not pay off my debt. This is why You came and put on the garment of my guilt, and the unjust judge with the pen wrote the condemnation for You instead of me.

My debt is infinite towards You, my sweet countenance and beauty! How shall I pay it off, since I am constantly increasing it with my lack of feeling for Your sufferings. Grant me tears to weep and weep, so that You might take pity on me like the harlot (vid. Lk. 7:36-50) and forgive me my great debt.

I kneel before You, my crucified Lord, my most sweet and adored Jesus, I venerate You with streams of tears because of Your great and immense sacrifice for me, who am guilty and liable because of my impious deeds.

I sing praises to You with all my soul. My soul cries out with unutterable shouts, smothered by the unbearable profusion of gratitude and thanks for everything You went through to save me. My debt towards You is enormous.

With inexpressible awe I stand before Your Cross. I see You crucified, in a situation that I should be in, because I am the guilty one that deserves such a death.

But arise, my sweet worship, so that my heart may rejoice and my soul may delight.

A Greek and English draft were sent out to the monasteries in the early 2000s.
A Greek and English draft were sent out to the monasteries in the early 2000s.

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