John of Dalyatha: Exhortation to Repentance

extracted from: The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac of Syria, Revised Second Edition, Homily 16, Holy Transfiguration Monastery ©2011

Woe to you, wretched soul, your separation from the body is at hand. Why do you rejoice in what today you will leave behind, the very sight of which you will be deprived of forever? Take heed to what lies before you, stop and consider what things you have done, in what way, and what sort of things they are, and with whom you have passed the days of your life, or who has accepted the toil of your husbandry, and whom you have gladdened with your wrestling, that he will come forth to meet you at the time of your departure. But whom did you gladden and gratify during your course, that you might find rest in his haven? And for whose sake did you endure hardships as you toiled, that you might reach him with joy? And whom will you have as a friend in the age to come, that he might now welcome you in the moment of your departure? In which field did you hire yourself out, and who will pay you your wages at the sunset of your separation?

Examine yourself, O soul, and see in what land your portion lies; and if you have crossed over that field which bears a harvest of bitterness for those who till it, wail and cry aloud, with groaning and great affliction, those words which give rest to your God more than sacrifices and whole-burnt offerings. Let your mouth pour forth anguished laments, at which the holy angles are made glad. Drench your cheeks with the weeping of your eyes, that the Holy Spirit may rest upon you, and wash you from the filth of your wickedness. Appease your Lord with tears that He may come to your aid. Appeal to Mary and Martha to teach you mournful cries. Call out to the Lord: "O Lord Jesus Christ, our God, Thou didst weep over Lazarus, and shed tears of sorrow and compassion for him, accept the tears of my bitterness."

icon of the raising of Larzarus, with Mary and Martha