His Holiness Pope Shenouda Resurrection Feastal Message 2007

My beloved children in the lands of immigration, clergy and
Grace to you and peace from our Almighty and Holy God. Sincere
greetings to you for the glorious Feast of the Resurrection. May God
bring this occasion upon you every year while you are full of goodness
and blessing.

Christ, to whom is glory, rose despite the tight
security over His tomb. He appeared to His holy disciples and
strengthened their faith. He spoke to them about matters pertaining to
the kingdom of God. He granted them the authority of the priesthood,
and gave them the responsibility of pastoral care of His Church and His
people. After forty days of visiting them, He arose to heaven and sat
at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19).
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His resurrection, He became the firstfruits of the resurrection, and
will raise us also and “will transform our lowly body that it may be
conformed to His glorious body…” (Phil. 3:21) That is, we will
resurrect with a glorious body, as Saint Paul the Apostle said “raised
in glory” (I Cor. 15:43)

But in the resurrection, we will not
all be in one rank, but “each one in his own order.” (I Cor. 15:23)
“For one star differs from another in glory. So also is the
resurrection of the dead.” (I Cor. 15:41, 42)

With this, the
distinction in the resurrection will be according to the type of spirit
and according to its work that it had on earth. For the Lord will
reward each one according to his works (Matthew 16:27).

It is
known that the spirits differ in types. There is the spirit of the
righteous that may fall seven times and rise again (Proverbs 24:16).
And there are spirits that God created in strength, but did not use all
their energy, in contrast to the mind that used all its energy with a
high degree, and confirmed its distinction with what it offered of
amazing results. There are also spirits excelling in strength, in their
abilities and talents, and in their connection to the Spirit of God; in
the stories of victories over the flesh, the world and Satan, and in
its extent of leading others and having an effect on them. So God has
chosen these spirits to give them large spiritual responsibilities.
Even after these spirits have left their bodies, God sends some of them
to earth to rescue those who ask for help – just as the spirit of Saint
George does for example without anyone seeing it; and as the spirit of
the Virgin Saint Mary appeared in some of her transfigurations in some
churches, and miracles occurred through her.

There are also
great spirits with high perception, to whom God reveals matters that
they see, while unseen by others. Like what was said about Elisha the
prophet, that he saw many angelic powers, about whom he said “for those
who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (II Kings 6:16)
Whereas his disciple Gehazi did not see what his teacher saw. Maybe the
best example of perceiving spirits is what Saint John saw and recorded
in the Book of Revelation. Therefore it was good what the Lord said to
His holy disciples saying “Blessed are your eyes for they see” that is,
they see what others do not see…

All these great types of
spirits are opposite to the weak spirits that live bound with the fog
of the flesh and materialism, not seeing the beauty of spiritual life,
and do not taste it; and the number of their falling is greater that
the number of their rising!

Therefore my beloved children, be
from the strong spirits, the big and pure spirits, that live with God
and God lives with them. So that in the day of resurrection, they will
have a distinguished place, as it was written “for one star differs
from another star in glory.”

May our good and kind God, who is
rich in talents, strengthen your spirits continually. Then you will
glorify God in your bodies and in your spirits, which are God’s (I
Corinthians 6:20).

Be well in the Lord, absolved from His Holy Spirit.

H. H. Pope Shenouda III
April 2007

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