Monday September 26, 2022 a.d.Thoout 16, 1739 a.m.

What is God’s plan for us?

Christ in the Storm - Rembrandt

Because we are the children of God, we know with certainty that this pandemic, whether under natural circumstances or man-made, occurred with the permission of God. That is why we will not worry because we are carried on God’s arms. He transforms what is bitter into sweetness, and whatever hardship will not be for the purpose of destruction but for edification.

St. Clement of Alexandria (Dean of the School of Alexandria in the 2nd century) says that saying God is ‘Beneficent' does not only mean that He provides us with many good things, but also transforms, even the evil that afflict us into good things and blessings that we may enjoy. He says that God transformed the evil intentions of Joseph’s brothers towards him into wonderful blessings that Joseph, his brothers, and their father enjoyed. Joseph said to his brothers: “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones. And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:20-21)

It is appropriate for us in our daily lives to trust in God’s providence, His love and care for us that He transforms whatever hardships occur to us (what we call evils) to our good. Whether the love of God who transforms our painful matters, whether they were diabolic war, harassing of the wicked, or diseases such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

During this pandemic, we are confident that all things lead to the benefit of humanity. We gained many good things:

Joining the Psalmist who says: “But I give myself to prayer.” (Psalm 109: 4) by holding on to God by praying for:

Mourning with those who suffer and sharing their feelings

Allowing us to review our ecclesiastic life:

Urging some to repent and confess, as they feel that death has become very close

Many have reconciled with those who were hostile to them

Growing in faith to be trained to have hope without falling into anxiety or despair

This pandemic is for our good to prepare us for the eternal heavenly inheritance.

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Sacrifice of Praise

What is praise?

  • Praise is the glorification of God, who is worthy of thanksgiving, glorification and praise at all times. “You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel” (Ps22:3)
  • Praise, according to the biblical terminology, is the chanting of Psalms "Sefra Tahlim / The Book of Praise"
    • “Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching” (1Cor14:26)
    • “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph5:19)
  • Jesus practiced praise with His disciples, “When they sung a hymn (the Hallel), they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Mk14: 26)
  • The service of praise must be offered in all of our circumstances i.e. it is not only offered for the status of pleasure, but also for thanksgiving to God, and even at the most severe cases of grief, sorrow and despair ... That is why Sts. Paul and Silas were praising despite their suffering from imprisonment, the darkness of the prison, the pains of the feet stocks, and their torn bodies. “At midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Act16: 25)
  • In fact, praise with thanksgiving during suffering or at bad circumstances raises the prayer to the level of obedience and submission, so it becomes a glorification of God and a recognition of the wisdom of His management. It is also considered a faithful service.
  • Therefore, All the prayers of the Church are presented in chanting and melody on all occasions, even the sad ones, such as the Holy Week
  • The month of Kiahk is distinguished by being a month of praise and fasting, rejoicing for the birth of Christ and His dwelling among us, and indeed in us, and for preparing ourselves for His renewed dwelling in us
  • This is the reason that Kiahk ritual differs, with its joyful tones, from the Lent ritual, with its supplicating tones that lead to repentance

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St. Mary - A Life of Humility

St. Mary & Jesus - Coptic Icon

Humility

Humility is the amazing and beautiful robe, which our Lord put on; through it, He manifested Himself to us. It was not possible for earthly people to see the Lord of lords and God of gods in the glory of His divinity, but only through humility.

In the past, He said to His elect prophet, "You cannot see My face; for no man can see Me, and live." (Exodus 33:20) When He descended with His glory on Mount Sinai in the past, the mountain was blazing in a fiery smoke; it was the case that, "Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be stoned or shot with an arrow, whether man or beast." (Exodus 19:12, 13) So terrifying was the sight that Moses said, "I am exceedingly afraid and trembling." (Heb.12:18-21)

In the New Testament, God incarnate and became man through His dwelling in St. Mary's womb. She carried Him by her hands, and He ate and drank with man. Moreover, He offered Himself to us as food, indeed, so that we would abide in Him and He in us.

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Symbols of the Holy Spirit

Dove

The Holy One appeared in a bodily form like a dove at the time of Christ's baptism, as the Evangelist St. Luke said, "… And the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form like a dove upon Him" (Lk3:22).

At the beginning of creation, the role of the Holy Spirit is clear, "… and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of waters" (Gen1:2) as a fluttering dove.

The Holy Spirit also appears as a dove proclaiming peace at the end of the flood, "The dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth" (Gen8:11).

When the Holy Spirit works in us, He makes us spiritual people, characterized by the simplicity of the doves "Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves" (Matt10:16)... As the Groom said to the virgin in the book of Song of Songs, "Behold, you are fair, my love! Behold, you are fair. You have dove’s eyes" (Song 1:15; c.f. 4:1), she became in her Groom’s likeness "His eyes are like doves by the rivers of waters" (Song5:12); moreover, He calls her His dove, "Open for me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one" (Song5:2; c.f. Song2:14, 6:9).

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The Significance of Peace

Definition of Peace

It is a condition of freedom from disturbance, whether outwardly, as of a nation from war or enemies, or inwardly, within man’s heart. The Hebrew word is shalom meaning, primarily, “soundness,” “health,” but coming also to signify “prosperity,” well-being in general, all good in relation to both man and God.

Shalom was the common friendly greeting, used in asking after the health of anyone; also in farewells.

Peace from enemies (implying prosperity) was the great desire of the nation and was the gift of God to the people if they walked in His ways.

Inward peace was the portion of the righteous who trusted in God.

Peace was to be sought and followed by the righteous (Ps 34:14; Zac 8:16, Zac 8:19).

In the New Testament, where eirene has much the same meaning and usage as shalom (for which it is employed in the Septuagint).

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