Learning from Legion

A hymn of St. Ephrem based on Luke 8:26-39, the Gadarene Demoniac

In a fascinating poem, St. Ephrem sees Christ showing mercy to the demon, even granting the demon’s request, which emboldens Emphrem to be a man of prayer: if Christ compassionately listens tot he request of a demon to enter into swine, then I should know that Christ will hear my prayer to be permitted into Paradise despite my sins.

Look too at Legion:

  When in anguish he begged,

our Lord permitted and allowed him

  to enter into the herd;

respite did he ask for, without deception,

  in his anguish,

and our Lord in His kindness

  granted his request.

His compassion for demons

  is a rebuke to that People,

showing how much anguish His love suffers

  in desiring that men and women should live.


Encouraged by the words

  I had heard,

I knelt down and wept there,

  and spoke before the Lord:

“Legion received his request from You

without any tears;

  permit me, with my tears,

to make my request,

  grant me to enter, instead of that herd,

the Garden,

  so that in Paradise I may sing

of its Planter’s compassion.

(St Ephraim the Syrian Hymns on Paradise pgs 163-164)