by St. Ephrem the Syrian
from St. Ephrem the Syrian: Hymns on Paradise, Intro. & trans. by Sebastian Brock, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY, 1990.
If I may be forgiven, here is one stanza, pertaining to our subject, from Hymn 7, Stanza 13, P. 123 in the book:
In Paradise the cripples,
who had never walked, leap around;
the deformed, who had never even crawled,
fly about throught he air;
the eyes of the blind and deaf,
who had yearned from the womb,
hungering for light
which they had failed to see,
now rejoice to behold
the beauty of Paradise,
and the mighty sound of its harps
gives comfort to their ears.
Forgive the politically incorrect terms; St. Ephrem employed the terminology of his day. (Of course, the terms below are all translated from Fourth Century Syrian, so then it is to Dr. Sebastian Brock, Fellow of Wolfson College and the British Academy, that we must address our requests for more polite terms.)
Of course substituting “persons with various disabilities” for “cripple” would ruin the poetic form. And is it the task of a translator to correct a poet? Poetry comes alive with vivid images, not with cumbersome phrases designed to avoid offense.
“Cursed is he who hangs on a tree.” (Deuteronomy 21:23) As Christ became an offense for us, let us with patience bear offenses, whether small or not, with Him. Is it not a joy to walk with Him, through suffering as well as victory?