Lent Meditation 2

Some words are annoying to translate because of the weakness of one language or another. In this case, the word sayyama is “the one who fasts,” which is sometimes used in the plural, “those who fast,” but in both cases is one word. On the one hand, it doesn’t matter if I translate it as one word or many, but on the other, translations from Aramaic to English can get pretty wordy pretty quick. So I’m stuck using “faster” and “fasters,” which is awful. Anyway, here it is.

Madrasha for the second Sunday of Lent from the Chaldean Office:

  • (Refrain – Behold the free mercies granting forgiveness! You who fast in truth, come and receive help.)
  • 1 – Behold fasting, brethren who fast in truth, which forgives for free: let us love its benefits and rejoice in its medicines. The faster who descended from mount Sinai to the dwelling of evildoers healed them of their wounds; holy fasting supports us in our falling and bandages the grievous fracture of our mind.
  • 2 – Glory to the Faster who gave victory to fasters, and established fasting as a sign for fasters. May our fasting not be for the pleasure of the evil one; may our fasting be for the appeasement of God. Lo, pure fasting is the enrichment of the soul: let us receive from its treasury and be enriched by its fullness.
  • 3 – In the beginning, Adam was hired at a loss in the eating from the tree, since he disobeyed the commandment. Holy fasting pays off debts, impoverishes stomachs, fattens up souls. Let us give glory to the First-Born of fasters, who gives our weakness the job of fasting.

The first verse mentions Moses who fasted and then came down to heal the people of golden-calf-idolatry by breaking their faces. Then we have Christ in the second verse fasting while refusing to make the devil happy. Verse 3 is about Adam who screwed everything up by eating, contrasted with Christ’s holy fasting. Not bad.

I also like the line about how fasting “impoverishes stomachs” and “fattens up souls.”

Someone asked about the original Aramaic text so I posted a screenshot above.

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