Church Fathers, Day Thirty-Nine: St. Ephrem and crossing the bridge to heaven

Church Fathers, Day Thirty-Nine: St. Ephrem and crossing the bridge to heaven August 29, 2014

st_ephremCross the bridge to heaven

In a striking metaphor, St. Ephrem the Syrian imagines Jesus the carpenter making his own Cross into a bridge to heaven. Because the tree in Eden brought death, it is fitting that a tree also brings us to life.

This is the Son of the carpenter, who skilfully made his Cross a bridge over Sheol—Sheol that swallows up all—and brought over mankind into the dwelling of life.

And because it was through the tree that mankind had fallen into Sheol, so upon the tree they passed over into the dwelling of life. Through the tree in which bitterness was tasted, through it also sweetness was tasted; so that we might learn of him that among the creatures nothing resists Him.

Glory be to you, who laid your Cross as a bridge over death, that souls might pass over on it from the dwelling of the dead to the dwelling of life!

St. Ephrem the Syrian, Homily on Our Lord, 4


Does it help my resolution to imagine the Cross as a narrow bridge over a gaping chasm?


To you, Lord, be glory, who by your Cross took away the heathenism in which both circum­cised and uncircumcised were caused to stumble! To you be praise, the medicine of life, who have converted all that are baptized to him who is life of all, and Lord of all!

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