Posts Tagged ‘righteousness’

Meditations upon the Glorious Feast of the Epiphany

Written by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III on . Posted in Feasts

feast_epiphany

The month of January brings to us several feasts: the beginning of the new year, the Nativity, the Circumcision, the Epiphany.
We thank God who gave us the blessing and the efficiency of all these feasts, in our lives. While we celebrate the glorious feast of the Ephiphany, we are glad to stop sometime for meditation:

The feast of Epiphany is the feast of Baptism …… This feast is also called the feast of the divine manifestation (the Theophania).
Because the Holy Trinity appeared in it: The Son is baptised, The Father says from heaven: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”, and The Holy Spirit appears “like of a dove” (Matt. 3: 16-17). Hence the baptism of the Lord Christ shows the creed of the Holy Trinity.

Thus the baptism is always in the Name of the Holy Trinity
According to the word of the Lord to His disciples before His Ascension: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). He did not say in the names, because the three are one, as it was mentioned in (1 John 5:7): “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one”.

It is well that the Church has called this feast: “Eed El Ghetass”, or the feast of the Immersion, (in Arabic: Eed means feast, and “ElGhetass” means immersion).

Because in it, the Church reminds the people that the Lord Christ was baptized by being immersed, as it was said that after being baptized, “When He has been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water” (Matt. 3:16). The Church also reminds the people that the faithful in the New Testament are being baptized by being immersed, (and not by being sprinkled with water, as it is done in some communities). The Ethiopian eunuch was baptized in this manner, at the beginning of the apostolic era, at the hands of Philip: “Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away” (Acts 8:39).Also because Baptism is a tincture, (Baptisma in Latin), and tinting is accomplished through immersion; and because Baptism is a burial with Christ (Col. 2:12), and burial is accomplished through placing inside the tomb (immersion), and cannot be represented by sprinkling with water ……

Likewise in all the ancient vestiges, we see that baptism was accomplished inside a recipient that was called the baptistery.
That proves that baptizing was accomplished through immersion, and not by sprinkling water. We remember, during this feast, many spiritual and doctrinal meanings, whether as regards the baptism of the Lord Christ at the hands
of John the Baptist, or as regards the importance of Baptism in the Church…….

We remember also that the Lord came to the baptism of John, while He was not in need of it.
But that was in order “to fulfill all righteousness”, so that He would be without blame before men, even while He is not in need. That also establishes before us the principle of obedience and the principle of loyalty, without asking what profit it is to us?

He entered the baptism of John also in order to be our representative, or to take our place, just as He fasted instead of us, and just as He was crucified instead of us.

Many of His actions were for the others and not for Himself. He took our place to present to God the Father an image of the perfect man, who satisfies the Father by His life, as well He satisfies Him by His redemption of the human kind.In His baptism, we remember his humility …..

We remember His love and His fidelity, and His tenderness in His conversation with John, when He says: “Permit it to be so now”.

The baptism of Christ also reminds us of our baptism , and of the care of the Church for Baptism.

Baptism is the first sacrament of the Church, and is the door through which we enter to the other sacraments.
We say vulgarily: “we have Christianized so and so”, that is: we have baptized him; because he has become a Christian through baptism. …..That is an expression which is sound in its doctrinal meaning, and which reminds us of the word of Christ: “He who believes and is baptized will
be saved” (Mark 16:16).

Therefore the day of baptism is a feast as regards the child and his family.
In that day, the Church gives him three sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist also; and makes him ready to participate in the life of the Church. He becomes a member in it, and takes the first ecclesiastical certificate in his life.

The Church assigns a sponsor to the child, who will care for him spiritually, and very often it is the mother who is the sponsor to her child.

The mother is engaged before God and the Church to take care of her child in the fear of God, and to be his first teacher, who instructs him, and who gives him the practical training for all religious matters.

The Comforter Spirit

Written by Administrator on . Posted in Feasts

(feasts)pentecost-005.jpgIf
we just endure to walk in the narrow path. If we just cross the valley
of tears, carrying the cross, despite of the world’s prosecution, then
the Holy Spirit is our salvation, the intercession of our endeavor and
our the only support for our comfort. Whoever experienced the Holy
Spirit amid hardship, then the can challenge the pains and will not
care about hardship, “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” (Ps. 94:19). P Isaiah the prophet: He pictured for us the embracing of the Holy Spirit of the human soul, like a nursing mother carrying he suckling in her arms. She coddles her child on her knees and nurses him from her comforting breast. The Spirit was over flowing from the hearts of the martyrs, so they forgot their sufferings. Their hearts were full of morality, so they rejected all earthly comfort… One of the fathers said, ‘I haven’t tasted compassion, but I have tasted a superior compassion.’

Enjoying what is not seen

Written by Administrator on . Posted in Feasts

I would like to speak to you about the core of enjoyment in the eternal life of resurrection and as the bible says “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Co 2:9). Thus the bible has advised us in the saying “while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Co 4:18). So, what are these that are not seen? And what is it that no eyes have seen that we are promised to enjoy on eternal life?

Among things that are not seen: Eternity:

We hear about eternity, and we read about it in God’s promises, but we
did not see it, for everything in front of us has and end, and our life
on Earth has an end. Therefore, he who continually looks at eternity
and to life after death, works for the interest of this life, and
always keeps getting ready for it with repentance, good deeds and
spreading goodness everywhere and to everyone. And he who thinks of
eternity continually does not look into the present world, and does not
care about it, being sure that the whole world will eventually end and
its desire with it… He also does not concentrate all his wishes on
materials and does not desire them… He lives in the world, but the
world doesn’t live in him. And he might possess objectives but
objectives do not possess him, but he only uses them in good… World and
objectives are among the things that can be seen, for his reason they
are temporary se he should not make them a reason for loosing his
spiritual life. For the Lord Jesus said: “what profit is it to a man if
he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mt 16:26). And for
this reason we should not grieve over anything we lose from the world
and objectives, as it will not accompany us in eternity.

Also among things that are not seen: Angles and Spirits of the virtuous ones:

Angles are spirits, and they are around us seeing us and rescuing us
from many dangers. And although they are all around us, we do not see
them with our material eyes. But we will surely see them in the happy
eternity. We also will see the spirits of the virtuous ones who
preceded us went to heaven.

And now, in spirit we believe in angles’ existence and we see them through faith. And we feel ashamed to commit sins in their presence in spite of the fact that they are invisible…

Also among things that are not seen: The Spirit:

The spirit is not seen but the body is seen. Therefore, the spiritual
person lives working for the interest of his spirit its spiritual
nutrition. And as the body has its own material nutrition, the spirit
feeds on the life of virtue and righteousness, God’s love and making
good deeds, with prayers and praising, and with Gods words in their
depth and spirituality. And the one who cares for his eternity, is keen
on his spiritual growth and spiritual practices that are beneficial for
him. For his care for his soul and its eternal destiny, makes him exert
all his efforts to do whatever that bonds his soul to God and his
commandments so that his soul becomes consecrated for Him.

And at the same time he lets his soul lead his body, and never
convey to its instincts, but with all care and preciseness get ride of
lust of the flesh, straying of senses and the lust of the eyes and the
pride of life. So that all these tangibles have no authority upon him…

*All
the earthly life enjoyments are of tangible things, but the enjoyments
of eternal life are of what no eye has seen and not has entered the
heart of a man.

And so ascetic fathers have looked into all the joys of this life and
found out that they are passing away and perishing and do not worth
their interest, so they rose over their level and desire of them an
died from the world and became ascetic over every earthly enjoyment
looking after what they will enjoy after resurrection.

And in that meaning, St. Augustine says: “I sat on top of the world
when I felt inside myself that I do not desire anything and do not fear
anything”.

And the greatest example in elevating over tangibles, and earthly life
itself is that example of martyrs who proceeded to death in joy not
looking to the world and all it has and rejecting all the temptation
that they were offered. This is because they had their eyes and hearts
focused on what is not seen in life after death.

Among the things that are not seen too: Moral:

With that I mean the examples, values and bases, right, good and
virtue… And faith because it is “the substance of things hoped for, the
evidence of things not seen” so he who lives in faith, lives seeing the
unseen.

And when he looks to heaven, he does not look to that air cover
surrounding us in which planes fly. And he does not look to the
universe in which exists the sun and the far constellations but to what
is far above that… To heaven in which here are the angels and God’s
Throne and in which everything goes according God’s will so no sin and
no disobedience. And to the heaven in which the spirits of virtuous
ones are waiting for the Resurrection Day and the start of eternal life…

And those who look at what is not seen, they go with their hearts and thoughts towards God,

may His power be glorified; God who no one has seen in His Divinity…

We did not see God because our eyes are unable to see Him.

But we have seen His power and wonders and His grace work on us and on
others. We saw His hand that is unseen as it interferes in our problems
and solve them. And we see His generosity that opens the windows of
heaven and pour out for us and fills up every living from His
satisfaction…

And we see how God applies right and crushes wrong and how He applies justice for the oppressed…

As for the real enjoyment in living with God in eternity is what we
have not seen yet but we are waiting for it in faith… The faith in what
no eye has seen and what has not entered the heart of a man. As for how
we will enjoy living with God in eternity and what is the nature of
this living. Concerning this matter it is better that I be silent.
Eternity will announce this for us which probably the language fails to
describe…!

So long that eternity is so beautiful that it is indescribable, we should get prepared for it…

We should get ready for it before we reach it. We get ready for it by
not getting attached with tangibles and get busy with them. Truly, the
heart that elevates above the tangibles is fortified and is not
breakable. It is above the level of the world, material and the body…

So he whose heart is fully attached to the love of tangibles and lust
of worldly matters, when he leaves his body and ascends to heaven,
would he find it strange for him?! Or would he feel frustrated for he
will not find what he desires of worldly enjoyments?

Or would he be bored of heaven, that if he reaches it, and sees that this world is the best?!

Therefore, my brothers and sons, we should start practicing now loving
the heavenly matters and loving the unseen matters. And we should lay
up for ourselves treasures in heaven, so that when we reach there we
find them…

We should do what we can and ask for God’s grace to complete for us
what we are unable to finish. And we should stick to this superior
target. And we should pray for love and peace in the whole world,
especially in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, the whole Arab World and in
Africa…

Keraza edition

“Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends…” (Zech. 13:6)

Written by Administrator on . Posted in Fasts and Holy Pascha

(jesus_christ)scourging_of_christ-001.jpgThisprophecy was fulfilled in the life of our Lord Jesus. For the sake of savingmankind from eternal perdition, the only begotten Son, God the Logos wasincarnated. Since death was in the way of our salvation, He yearned to gothrough it, because of His love to us. His life on earth was a chain ofsufferings, from His childhood till He went to the cross to suffer the judgmentof our sins. We are those who sinned and the Lord was the One who suffered. Weare those who were indebted to divine justice as a result of our sins and Hewas the One who paid off our debts.

The Great Lent: The Journey to the Bosom of the Father

Written by Administrator on . Posted in Fasts and Holy Pascha

(jesus_christ)christ_the_teacher-002.jpgThe Church has a strong program during this fast put by the ‎Fathers
through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which became to ‎the soul a
source of survival and spiritual filling, and to the Church ‎a source
of communal repentance and deep fellowship with the ‎Lord Jesus Christ
in His fast…for Christ fasted for us and with us– ‎and certainly He is
a partner with each fasting soul.‎

The monks used to take this
opportunity of the holy fast to ‎leave their monasteries to the
wilderness in solitude and in the ‎fullness of the company of the Lord
Jesus and the fellowship of ‎His Holy Spirit. At the end of Lent they
returned to their ‎monasteries (as was recorded for us in the story of
Saint Mary the ‎Egyptian and her meeting with Saint Zosima the priest).‎

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