Admonition by Jacob of Sarug (AD 451 – 521)


Reference: Homiliae Selectae Mar-Jacobi Sarugensis, ed. Paul Bedjan, Vol. I (Paris and Leipzig: Harrassowitz, 1905), 1-2.


Joseph Zogby
Translator


First mimro by the master Jacob of Sarug: Admonitionܡܺܐܡܪܳܐ ܩܰܕܡܳܝܳܐ ܕܡܳܪܝ ܝܰܥܩܘܽܒ ܡܰܠܦܳܢܳܐ:ܕܡܰܪܬܝܳܢܘܽܬܳܐ
Give forth sound to my voice to glorify you, Son of God, that all my senses may praise you with their music.ܐܰܙܺܝܥ ܩܳܠܰܝ̈ ܥܰܠ ܬܶܫܒܘܽܚܬܳܟ ܒܰܪ ܐܰܠܳܗܳܐ܃ ܘܰܢܗܰܠܠܘܽܢ ܠܳܟ ܟܽܠܗܘܽܢ ܪ̈ܶܓܫܰܝ ܒܰܙܡܳܪ̈ܰܝܗܘܽܢ܀
My tongue was formed from the beginning to glorify you, but if it ceases to glorify you, it deserves punishment.ܐܰܝܟ ܕܰܠܫܘܽܒܚܳܟ ܡܰܬܩܰܢ ܠܶܫܳܢܝ ܡܶܢ ܫܘܽܪܳܝܳܐ܃ ܘܶܐܢܗܘܽ ܕܒܳܛܶܠ ܡܶܢ ܬܶܫܒܘܽܚܬܳܟ ܠܢܶܓܕܳܐ ܫܳܘܶܐ܀
May I not cease, Lord, from the toil of chanting your praises lest justice punish me with just judgment.ܠܳܐ ܡܳܪܝ ܐܶܒܛܰܠ ܡܶܢ ܥܶܢܝܳܢܳܐ ܕܰܙܡܺܝܪ̈ܳܬܳܟ܃ ܕܠܳܐ ܐܶܬܢܰܓܰܕ ܡܶܢ ܟܺܐܢܘܽܬܳܐ ܒܕܺܝܢܳܐ ܟܺܐܢܳܐ܀
The mouth of man is formed to glorify the Godhead, and the one who ceases to give glory is blameworthy and worthy of reprimand.ܦܘܽܡܳܐ ܕܐ̱ܢܳܫܳܐ ܠܫܘܽܒܚܳܗ̇ ܡܰܬܩܰܢ ܕܐܰܠܳܗܘܽܬܳܐ܃ ܘܰܐܝܢܳܐ ܕܫܳܠܶܐ ܡܶܢ ܬܶܫܒܘܽܚܬܳܐ ܥܕܺܝܠ ܘܰܡܩܰܦܰܚ܀
Creating the mouth, the Creator placed in it sound and word that it may be moved to give glory.ܗܘܽ ܒܳܪܘܽܝܳܐ ܣܳܡ ܒܶܗ ܒܦܘܽܡܳܐ ܟܰܕ ܒܳܪܶܐ ܠܶܗ܃ ܩܳܠܳܐ ܘܡܶܠܬܳܐ ܕܢܶܗܘܶܐ ܡܶܬܬܙܺܝܥ ܠܰܡܫܰܒܳܚܘܽ܀
Therefore, everyone, aware that there is a Creator, ought to give glory to the Lord who created him, as tribute.ܘܗܳܟܰܢ ܚܰܝܳܒ ܟܽܠ ܡܰܢ ܕܰܐܪܓܶܫ ܕܺܐܝܬ ܒܳܪܘܽܝܳܐ܃ ܕܰܐܝܟ ܡܰܕܰܐܬܳܐ ܢܶܬܶܠ ܫܘܽܒܚܳܐ ܠܡܳܪܝܳܐ ܕܰܒܪܳܝܗ̱ܝ܀
The mouth of man may not utter worthless matters and unpleasant words.ܫܰܪ̈ܒܶܐ ܣܪ̈ܺܝܩܶܐ ܘܗܳܠܝܶܢ ܡ̈ܶܠܶܐ ܕܠܳܐ ܫܰܦܺܝܪ̈ܳܢ܃ ܠܳܐ ܫܰܠܺܝܛ ܠܶܗ ܠܦܘܽܡܳܐ ܕܐ̱ܢܳܫܳܐ ܢܫܰܡܶܫ ܐܶܢܘܽܢ܀
When the Creator created the mouth, he thus formed it to glorify him [but] not for worthless use.ܗܘܽ ܒܳܪܘܽܝܳܐ ܗܳܟܰܢ ܐܰܬܩܶܢ ܟܰܕ ܒܳܪܶܐ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ܃ ܦܘܽܡܳܐ ܠܫܘܽܒܚܶܗ ܠܰܘ ܠܰܚܫܰܚܬܳܐ ܕܰܣܪ̈ܝܺܩܳܬܳܐ܀
“Call out with your throat, and lift up your voice like a trumpet [Is 58:1]“ says the Lord to the one who ceases to glorify him.ܩܥܺܝ ܒܓܰܓܰܪܬܳܟ ܘܰܐܪܺܝܡ ܩܳܠܳܟ ܐܰܝܟ ܫܺܝܦܘܽܪܳܐ܃ ܐܳܡܰܪ ܡܳܪܝܳܐ ܠܰܐܝܢܳܐ ܕܫܳܠܶܐ ܡܶܢ ܬܶܫܒܘܽܚܬܶܗ܀
I am your creation, Lord, permit me to marvel at your works. And since you created me, permit me to be moved to give glory.ܒܪܺܝܬܳܟ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܡܳܪܝ ܗܰܒ ܠܺܝ ܐܶܬܗܰܪ ܒܰܥܒܺܝ̈ܕܳܬܳܟ܃ ܘܰܐܝܟ ܕܰܒܪܰܝܬܳܢܝ ܗܰܒ ܠܺܝ ܐܶܙܘܽܥ ܠܰܡܫܰܒܳܚܘܽ܀
Permit the heart to serve you with thoughts of holiness, for you are revered on account of your creation.ܗܰܒ ܠܶܗ ܠܠܶܒܳܐ ܕܰܒܚ̈ܘܽܫܳܒܶܐ ܕܩܰܕܺܝܫܘܽܬܳܐ܃ ܢܶܗܘܶܐ ܡܫܰܡܶܫ ܠܳܟ ܕܰܕܚܺܝܠ ܐܰܢ̱ܬ ܥܰܠ ܒܶܪ̈ܝܳܬܳܐ܀
Cleanse my tongue from every worldly matters that it may be moved to give glory by meditating upon you.ܩܰܕܶܫ ܠܶܫܳܢܝ ܡܶܢ ܟܽܠ ܫܰܪ̈ܒܺܝܢ ܥܳܠܡܳܢܳܝ̈ܶܐ܃ ܘܰܒܥܶܢܝܳܢܳܟ ܢܶܗܘܶܐ ܡܶܬܬܙܺܝܥ ܠܰܡܫܰܒܳܚܘܽ܀
Here is my mouth open for you. Fill it, Lord, with glory as you promised [Ps 51:17], and idle speech that it would utter will not pass through it.ܗܳܐ ܦܬܺܝܚ ܠܳܟ ܦܘܽܡܝ ܡܠܝܺܘܗܝ ܡܳܪܝ ܫܘܽܒܚܳܐ ܐܰܝܟ ܕܐܶܫܬܰܘܕܺܝܬ܃ ܘܠܳܐ ܢܶܥܒܰܪ ܒܶܗ ܡܰܡܠ̱ܠܳܐ ܣܪܺܝܩܳܐ ܕܢܶܫܬܰܡܰܫ ܒܶܗ܀
May my sounds be moved by your wondrous gift, Son of God, while I affirm your glory.ܢܙܘܽܥܘܽܢ ܩܳܠܰܝ̈ ܥܰܠ ܡܰܘܗܰܒܬܳܟ ܡܰܠܝܰܬ ܬܰܗܪܳܐ܃ ܒܰܪ ܐܰܠܳܗܳܐ ܟܰܕ ܡܰܘܕܶܐ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܥܰܠ ܬܶܫܒܘܽܚܬܳܟ܀
End [of the mimro]ܫܠܶܡ.
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Just Father (ܐܰܒܳܐ ܕܩܘܽܫܬܳܐ) – by Jacob of Sarug (ca. A.D. 451 – 521) (an excerpt)


Just Father, behold Your Son, a sacrifice [sc. the Eucharist] [that is] pleasing to You. Receive this [sacrifice], [him] who died for me, that I might be pardon by it.

ܐܰܒܳܐ ܕܩܘܽܫܬܳܐ ܗܳܐ ܒܪܳܟ ܕܶܒܚܳܐ ܕܰܡܪܰܥܶܐ ܠܳܟ . ܠܗܳܢܳܐ ܩܰܒܶܠ ܕܰܚܠܳܦܰܝ ܡܺܝܬ ܘܶܐܬܚܰܣܶܐ ܒܶܗ.

Behold the offering! Receive [it] from my hands, be pleased with me, and do not remember the sins I have committed before Your Majesty.

ܗܳܐ ܩܘܽܪܒܳܢܳܐ ܣܰܒ ܡܶܢ ܐܺܝ̈ܕܰܝ ܘܶܐܬܪܰܥܳܐ ܠܺܝ . ܘܠܳܐ ܬܶܬܕܟܰܪ ܠܺܝ ܚ̈ܛܳܗܶܐ ܕܣܶܥܪܶܬ ܩܕܳܡ ܪܰܒܘܽܬܳܟ .

Behold His blood shed on Golgotha for my salvation, and it is praying for my sake! Accept my offering for its sake.

ܗܳܐ ܕܡܶܗ ܐܰܫܺܝܕ ܥܰܠ ܓܳܓܘܽܠܬܳܐ ܡܶܛܽܠ ܦܘܽܪܩܳܢܝ . ܘܒܳܥܶܐ ܚܠܳܦܰܝ ܩܰܒܶܠ ܩܘܽܪܒܳܢܝ ܡܶܛܽܠܳܬܶܗ .

How numerous are my sins! How great is Your love! If you weighed Your compassion, it would outweigh the mountains which are carrying You!

ܟܡܳܐ ܠܺܝ ܚܰܘ̈ܒܶܐ ܟܡܳܐ ܠܳܟ ܪ̈ܰܚܡܶܐ ܐܶܢ ܬܳܩܶܠ ܐܰܢ̱ܬ . ܚܢܳܢܳܟ ܢܳܬܰܥ ܛܳܒ ܡܶܢ ܛܘܽܪ̈ܶܐ ܕܰܬܩܺܝܠܺܝܢ ܠܳܟ .

Consider my sins, and consider the oblation [offered] on their account: the oblation and sacrifice [sc. of Your Son] are exceedingly greater than [my] faults.

ܚܘܽܪ ܒܰܚ̈ܛܳܗܶܐ ܘܚܘܽܪ ܒܰܥܠܳܬܳܐ ܕܰܚܠܳܦܰܝܗܘܽܢ . ܕܣܰܓܺܝ ܪܰܒܳܐ ܥܠܳܬܳܐ ܘܕܶܒܚܳܐ ܡܶܢ ܚܰܘ̈ܒܳܬܳܐ .

Since I have sinned, Your loved One [sc. Jesus Christ] bore the nails and spear [on the cross], and His sufferings are enough to appease You.

ܡܶܛܽܠ ܕܰܚܛܺܝܬ ܨ̈ܶܨܶܐ ܘܪܘܽܡܚܳܐ ܣܒܰܠ ܚܰܒܺܝܒܳܟ . ܘܣܳܦܩܺܝܢ ܚܰܫ̈ܰܘܗ̱ܝ ܕܰܢܪܰܥܘܽܢܳܟ ܘܰܒܗܘܽܢ ܐܺܚܶܐ .

Glory [be] to the Father who sent His Son for our sake, and adoration [is due] to the Son who freed all by His crucifixion.

ܫܘܽܒܚܳܐ ܠܰܐܒܳܐ ܕܠܰܒܪܶܗ ܫܰܕܰܪ ܡܶܛܽܠܳܬܰܢ . ܘܣܶܓܕܬܳܐ ܠܰܒܪܳܐ ܕܒܰܙܩܺܝܦܘܽܬܶܗ ܚܰܪܰܪ ܟܽܘܠܳܐ .

Thanksgiving [be] to the Spirit through whom the mystery of our Savior is accomplished. Blessed is the One who gave us life. Glory be to Him!

ܬܰܘܕܺܝ ܠܪܘܽܚܳܐ ܕܒܶܗ ܐܶܫܬܰܡܠܺܝ ܪܳܐܙ ܦܘܽܪܩܳܢܰܢ . ܒܪܺܝܟ ܕܰܒܚܘܽܒܶܗ ܐܰܚܺܝ ܠܟܽܠܰܢ ܠܶܗ ܬܶܫܒܘܽܚܬܳܐ .

Enjoy this hymn sung in Syriac.

The Church, Paradise on Earth, in Whose Midst is the Tree of Life. Let us Pluck its Fruit and Live!


An Extract from Jacob of Sarug’s Hymn on the Priesthood and the Altar

[The Lord] established on earth the Holy Church instead of Paradise and appointed priests to His service without [animal] sacrifices. ܘܰܐܬܩܶܢ ܒܰܐܪܥܳܐ ܥܺܕܰܬ ܩܘܽܕܫܳܐ ܚܠܳܦ ܦܰܪܕܰܝܣܳܐ܃ ܘܰܕܠܳܐ ܕܶܒ̈ܚܶܐ ܐܰܩܺܝܡ ܟܳܗ̈ܢܶܐ ܥܰܠ ܬܶܫܡܶܫܬܶܗ܀
He revealed Himself to be the Tree of Life Who was hidden and let His fruits drop on those who are near and those who are far. ܘܰܓܠܳܐ ܢܰܦܫܶܗ ܐܺܝܠܳܢ ܚܰܝ̈ܶܐ ܗܰܘ ܕܰܟܣܳܐ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ܃ ܘܰܐܬܰܪ ܦܺܐܪ̈ܰܘܗ̱ܝ ܥܰܠ ܪ̈ܰܚܺܝܩܶܐ ܘܥܰܠ ܩܰܪ̈ܺܝܒܶܐ܀
Behold! The priests surround Him [the Tree of Life], pick fruits from Him, and give life to human beings from Him daily… ܘܗܳܐ ܟܪܺܝܟܺܝܢ ܠܶܗ ܟܳܗ̈ܢܶܐ ܘܩܳܛܦܺܝܢ ܦܺܐܪ̈ܶܐ ܡܶܢܶܗ܃ ܘܝܳܗܒܺܝܢ ܡܶܢܶܗ ܠܰܒ̈ܢܰܝܢܳܫܳܐ ܚܰܝ̈ܶܐ ܟܽܠܝܘܽܡ܀
Christ, the benevolent Heir, Who is altogether light, came and restored that which was corrupted from the beginning. ܘܶܐܬܳܐ ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܝܳܪܬܳܐ ܛܳܒܳܐ ܕܟܽܠܶܗ ܢܘܽܗܪܰܐ ܗ̱ܘ܃ ܘܰܐܬܩܶܢ ܗܳܠܶܝܢ ܕܶܐܬܚܰܒܰܠ ܗ̱ܘܽ ܡܶܢ ܫܘܽܪܳܝܳܐ܀
He granted the priesthood to His Twelve with the laying of His hands and appointed priests to the service of the Tree of Life. ܘܝܰܗ̱ܒ ܟܳܗܢܘܽܬܳܐ ܠܰܬܪ̈ܶܥܣܰܪܬܶܗ ܒܰܣܝܳܡ ܐܺܝܕܶܗ܃ ܘܰܐܩܺܝܡ ܟܳܗ̈ܢܶܐ ܥܰܠ ܬܶܫܡܶܫܬܶܗ ܕܐܺܝܠܳܢ ܚܰܝ̈ܶܐ܀
In splendor, with the gentle waving of the hands, and in holiness, behold, they [the priests] surround the Tree of Life at the Holy Altar. ܘܰܒܙܰܗܝܘܽܬܳܐ ܘܰܒܪܘܽܚܳܦܳܐ ܘܩܰܕܺܝܫܘܽܬܳܐ܃ ܗܳܐ ܟܪܺܝܟܺܝܢ ܠܶܗ ܠܺܐܝܠܳܢ ܚܰܝ̈ܶܐ ܒܡܰܕܒܰܚ ܩܘܽܕܫܳܐ܀
Priests were appointed to the office of the spiritual Seraphim, to which it had been proper to appoint Adam… ܘܰܒܬܶܫܡܶܫܬܳܐ ܗܺܝ ܕܰܣܪ̈ܳܦܶܐ ܪ̈ܘܽܚܳܢܳܝܶܐ܃ ܩܳܝܡܺܝܢ ܟܳܗ̈ܢܶܐ ܕܒܳܗ݀ ܙܳܕܶܩ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܕܰܢܩܘܽܡ ܐܳܕܳܡ܀
They glorify Him in the Church, God’s Eden, and give the fruits of the Tree of Life to the entire world. ܘܰܡܫܰܒܚܺܝܢ ܠܶܗ ܒܥܺܕ̱ܬܳܐ ܕܺܐܝܬܶܝܗ݀ ܥܕܶܝܢ ܕܰܐܠܳܗܳܐ܃ ܘܝܳܗܒܺܝܢ ܦܺܐܪ̈ܰܘܗ̱ܝ ܕܺܐܝܠܳܢ ܚܰܝ̈ܶܐ ܠܥܳܠܡܳܐ ܟܽܠܶܗ܀
The priests stand at the blessed fountain of Eden and irrigate from it the entire creation that thirsts for Him. ܘܩܳܝܡܺܝܢ ܟܳܗ̈ܢܶܐ ܥܰܠ ܡܳܒܘܽܥܳܐ ܒܪܺܝܟܳܐ ܕܰܥܕܶܢ܃ ܘܡܰܫܩܶܝܢ ܡܶܢܶܗ ܠܟܽܠܳܗ݀ ܒܪܺܝܬܳܐ ܕܝܰܐܝܺܒܳܐ ܠܶܗ܀
They hold the keys which the Head of the disciples received and open the doors of life that the entire world might enter. ܩܠܺܝ̈ـܕܶܐ ܛܥܺܝܢܺܝܢ ܗܳܠܶܝܢ ܕܰܫܩܰܠ ܪܺܝܫ ܬܰܠܡܺܝ̈ܕܶܐ܃ ܘܦܳܬܚܺܝܢ ܬܰܪ̈ܥܶܐ ܕܚܰܝ̈ܶܐ ܕܢܶܥܘܽܠ ܥܳܠܡܳܐ ܟܽܠܶܗ܀
They take up common bread to the Altar while reciting [prayers] and bring down from it an Immolated Body that the Church might eat from it. ܠܰܚܡܳܐ ܫܚܺܝܡܳܐ ܡܰܣܩܺܝܢ ܣܳܕܪܺܝܢ ܥܰܠ ܦܳܬܘܽܪܳܐ܃ ܘܦܰܓܪܳܐ ܩܛܺܝܠܳܐ ܡܰܚܬܺܝܢ ܡܶܢܶܗ ܠܥܺܕ̱ܬܳܐ ܬܶܟܘܽܠ܀
They pour wine of vines in chalices in the Holy of Holies, and it becomes blood that the entire world might be pardoned with it. ܚܰܡܪܳܐ ܕܓܘܽܦ̈ܢܶܐ ܒܟܳܣ̈ܶܐ (ܕܡܝܢ) ܪܳܡܶܝܢ ܒܶܝܬ ܚܘܽܣܳܝܳܐ܃ ܘܰܕܡܳܐ ܗܳܘܶܐ ܕܢܶܬܚܰܣܶܐ ܒܶܗ ܥܳܠܡܳܐ ܟܘܽܠܶܗ܀

An Extract from Jacob of Sarug’s Commentary on the Parable of the Good Samaritan

Behold! Our Lord is the Tree of Life bearing fruit. Come, let us pluck from Him and eat from Him the choice harvest. ܗܳܐ ܐܺܝܠܳܢܳܐ ܕܚܰܝ̈ܶܐ ܡܳܪܰܢ ܘܰܛܥܺܝܢ ܦܺܐܪ̈ܶܐ܃ ܬܰܘ ܢܶܩܛܘܽܦ ܠܰܢ ܘܢܶܐܟܘܽܠ ܡܶܢܶܗ ܐܶܒܳܐ ܓܰܒܝܳܐ܀
We have sufficiently eaten from the tree of knowledge! The Tree of Life came to us that we might eat from it. ܟܰܕܘܽ ܐ̱ܟܰܠܢܰܢ ܡܶܢ ܐܺܝܠܳܢܳܐ ܗܰܘ ܕܺܝܕܰܥܬܳܐ܃ ܐܶܬܳܐ ܠܘܳܬܰܢ ܐܺܝܠܳܢ ܚܰܝ̈ܶܐ ܢܶܐܟܘܽܠ ܡܶܢܶܗ܀
Behold! The Church is the Divine Paradise, and the Holy Altar is that Tree full of Life. ܗܳܐ ܦܰܪܕܰܝܣܳܐ ܐܰܠܳܗܳܝܳܐ ܥܺܕ̱ܬܳܐ ܐܺܝܬܶܝܗ݀ ܃ ܘܗܰܘ ܐܺܝܠܳܢܳܐ ܕܰܡܠܶܐ ܚܰܝ̈ܶܐ ܡܰܕܒܰܚ ܩܘܽܕܫܳܐ܀

He had Made Peace Along the Whole Road so it Can Now be Travelled Without Fear


 

Jacob of SarugThis links displays/downloads an Arabic translation of this article in pdf.


The Book of Accompaniment is the oldest extant Maronite document which preserves the funeral rites celebrated by the Maronite Church.1,2 Then Msgr. Hector Y. Doueihi, now Emeritus Bishop of the Maronite Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn, explains in the introduction,

“[The title and the concept it contains] indicate that the dead, who have ended their journey in this life, are starting another journey in the life beyond. According to the ancient spiritual vision of the early Syriac Churches, the passage to eternal life is hampered by obstacles and dangers. The departed need special support and guidance on their journey. Thus, the funeral rites are a complex of psalms, hymns, Scripture readings and prayers that ‘accompany’ them on this ‘other’ journey. The texts implore the ‘company’ of the Lord and his mysteries for them, and pray for protection and safety on their journey. The funeral rites, are, therefore, rites of ‘accompaniment’ which are celebrated on the road as one begins the journey to new life.”3

Not only do the departed need special support and guidance on their journey, but the living, who mourn the death of their loved ones and are traveling on the same road of faith, seek a message of hope and consolation as well.4 Jacob of Sarug  (ca. 451 – 521), a prolific Syriac Church Father and known as the Flute of the Holy Spirit, provides his readers with such a message. He teaches that it is none other than Jesus Christ who accompanies the deceased and the living on this road traveled by all grudgingly and with fear. The objective of this brief column5 is to share with the reader this powerful insight which Jacob draws from his main source of pastoral, theological, spiritual and poetical insight, i.e., the Bible. Furthermore, this column’s other goal is to encourage the interpretation of the three stations of the Maronite funeral rites, or better yet the three stations of the accompaniment rites, in light of Jacob’s explanation.

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