Sunday, February 15, 2009

On the Profligate Son

If you do nothing else today, read Fr Ephrem Lash's translation of St Romanos the Melodist's Kotakion 49, On the Profligate Son.

Here is a short preview:


What is the banquet?. Let us first learn of the supper
From the Gospels, that we too may celebrate.
I will therefore recall the parable of the Profligate.
For he was formerly stripped bare of every grace,
Having squandered all his substance,
And he runs to his father with many lamentations crying out, ‘Father, I have sinned’.
So the one who sees all things saw, hurried,
And met him and kissed him,
Flung his arms round the neck of the one who had returned,
For he is the God of the repentant.
In his compassion he had mercy on his son who had fallen, he the
Master and Lord of the ages.


The Saviour of all seeing his son then clothed
In filthy apparel was filled with compassion;
And so he cried at once to the slaves who were serving,
‘Quickly give my child the first robe,
Which the baptismal font weaves for all,
Which the grace of my Spirit prepares, and hasten and clothe him.
Remember how when he was clothed
The enemy stripped him and made him a spectacle
For all the demons, as he attacked with envy
The king of the whole earth,
For whose sake I arrayed the whole world which I had created, I the
Master and Lord of the ages.


I saw him and I cannot rest content to overlook his nakedness;
I cannot endure to see my divine image like this.
For the disgrace of my child is my shame;
I will consider the glory of my child my own glory.
Hurry then, my servants and ministers
To make all his limbs beautiful once again, for they are objects of my love.
For I judge it improper to see
Unprovided for or unadorned
The one who has run to me in repentance
And been found worthy of forgiveness.
Clothe him with the robe of grace, as I have commanded, I the
Master and Lord of the ages.

This kontakion can be found with many others like it, with notes and introduction, in Fr Ephrem's On the Life of Christ: Kontakia.


Anonymous said...

Firstly, welcome back, Father! As a few others have already expressed, you have been greatly missed. Your posts have been a daily source of refreshment and stimulus for me personally, and I wish to commend you on this undertaking and also pray that the Lord will strengthen your spirit. Secondly, please bear with me; but the link you provided to Fr. Ephrem's translation of St. Romanus' hymns is to an out-of-print edition. The (less expensive!) in-print edition is here:

For some reason it is labeled as being a textbook binding, but this isn't actually so. It is just the current paperback version.
Wishing you a blessed and holy Lent!

Felix Culpa said...

Thanks very much for your kind and encouraging comment. I've corrected the Amazon link.