Thursday December 7, 2023 a.d.Hathor 27, 1740 a.m.

Why We Don't Give Thanks

By: H.H. Pope Shenouda III

One of the excuses for not giving thanks is the fact that we do not know what is good for us. Truly, it is only God -with His vast wisdom- who knows what is good for us. But our human wisdom is limited and cannot see into the future.

For example, who would believe that selling the upright Joseph as a slave, and unjustly throwing him into the prison will be for his benefit and the benefit of his brothers and father, Egypt and the surrounding countries? Perhaps the righteous Joseph did not give thanks when he was sold as a slave, and when he was unjustly accused and thrown into prison but, undoubtedly, he frequently gave thanks and knew that “...God meant it for good .... Save many people alive” (Gen. 50: 20)

We do not know what the future holds but we know one thing; that the future is in the hands of God. We thank God because He keeps the whole future in His hands to manage with His good will and give good things to His children. We therefore, have confidence in all that comes from God's hand filled with love. By faith, we see the hand of God in all the incidents we face. And since we are comforted with the work of God, we should rejoice and give thanks.

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Life of St. Mary

St. Mary & Christ - Coptic Icon

Her Pious Parents

Joachim and Hannah, his wife, were both pious from the house of David (Luke 1:27) of the tribe of Judah. Both were regularly worshiping, and well advanced in years with no child. Archangel Gabriel appeared in a dream to Joachim, announcing that his wife will have a child who will please his heart. Hannah believed this vision when she heard it, and this vision was fulfilled by the birth of St. Mary. As a devoted virgin, she entered the temple at the age of three to live the life of ministry, devotion and worship among the other devotees at the women’s court. She lost her parents before leaving the temple at the age of 14 when the Lord chose her to be the mother of the Word incarnate. She was betrothed to St. Joseph, since it was not allowed to stay at the temple after this age.

The Lord blessed them with another daughter afterwards, and they called her Mary, like her sister who became a devotee for the temple. This Mary became the wife of Clopas or Alphaeus (John 19:25). She is also the mother of James, Joses, Judas, Simon and their sisters (Mark 6:1-3) who were called the brothers of Jesus. James and his brother Judas (Judas1:1), whose surname is Labbaeus or Thaddaeus (Luke 6:13-16; Matthew 10:3; Acts 1:13) were among Jesus’ disciples.

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The Fiery Holy Spirit


In Pentecost, the Holy Spirit dwelt on the disciples as tongues of fire, representing purification of the heart and inflaming it with divine love.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of sanctification and might. (Acts 1:8; Zach. 4:6) He is the fiery Spirit of God as St. Paul mentions, “For our God is a consuming fire,” (Heb. 12:29) and as Isaiah inquires saying, “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting fire?” (Is. 33:14)

Our Lord Jesus came, as He said, to bring fire on earth, and, “How I wish it were already kindled!” (Lk. 12:49) He was talking about the Holy Spirit, the fire that He kindled in every earthly heart to sanctify, purify and inflame it with the fire of love, and to give it spiritual rapture so that it becomes a heavenly heart … a divine throne, similar to the fiery Cherubic chariot.

This type of heart is fervent in spirit, (Rom. 12:11) as it is manifested in prayer, contemplation, ministry or, in general, in loving Christ, His Church and His kingdom. This type of heart is also resolute in facing sin, leading to the sanctification of one's feelings and emotions for the sake of God – to live a life of joy, thanksgiving and sanctification.

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He Appeared to Peter

Denial and repentance

The Lord who knows the weakness of mankind knew that Peter, His enthusiastic and zealous disciple, would betray Him three times within a few minutes in front of a servant girl with other servants, and not in front of dangerous authorities. Thus, He warned him saying, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail” (Lk 22:31,32). Peter, being self-confident much more than in his weakness, responded saying, “Lord, I am ready to go with you, both to prison and to death” (Lk 22:33). He was confident in himself, in his love to God, in his steadfastness, and that he was the most steadfast among all the disciples. Therefore, he argued with the Lord when He said, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times”. But he spoke more vehemently, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”… and they all said likewise (Mk 14:30,31; Matt 26:34,35).

Maybe Peter thought that denying Christ is impossible for him, or may be, through humility, he may think that he could fall in other sins - but not this one, he did not believe that he could reach this level. Who could think that this great saint could deny Him? He who was praised by the Lord when he declared the divinity of Christ by saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:17-19); received the authority of binding and loosing sin as one of the twelve (Matt 18:18); was considered as one of the pillars of the church (Gal 2:9); who was full of zeal and enthusiasm, who cut the ear of the high priest’s servant to defend Christ a while ago (Jn 18:10)… Could he deny Christ?! If this saint denied, shouldn’t we humble ourselves?! Shouldn’t we feel that we are not stronger than those who fell and be watchful? If there were times we didn’t fall it was because God was and is always supporting us, so we should realize that it wasn’t because of our personal power, capabilities and resistance. Let us say with the Psalmist. “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side… then they would have swallowed us alive… Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth” (Ps 124:1,2,6).

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Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.(2 Cor 9:7)

Upcoming Events

  • Thursday December 7, 2023
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