Today we celebrate St. Ephrem, an early Church deacon and doctor of the Church. He lived in the fourth century, a time fought with division and heresy. He fought all that, not with a sword or syllogism, but with words….with poetry and hymns. Over 500 of his hymns survive to this day and are still used in Catholic liturgies around the world. Here’s this from uCatholic:
He had a prolific pen and his writings best illumine his holiness. Although he was not a man of great scholarship, his works reflect deep insight and knowledge of the Scriptures. In writing about the mysteries of humanity’s redemption, Ephrem reveals a realistic and humanly sympathetic spirit and a great devotion to the humanity of Jesus. It is said that his poetic account of the Last Judgment inspired Dante.
It is surprising to read that he wrote hymns against the heretics of his day. He would take the popular songs of the heretical groups and, using their melodies, compose beautiful hymns embodying orthodox doctrine. Ephrem became one of the first to introduce song into the Church’s public worship as a means of instruction for the faithful. His many hymns have earned him the title “Harp of the Holy Spirit.”