Author: H. H. Pope Shenouda Ill.
Those who fast and receive no benefit from it must have fasted in a wrong way; in this case, what is to blame is not fasting itself, but the method followed. Fasting is a period of concentrated spiritual activity, a period of loving God and adhering to Him.
As a result of this love, one who fasts is lifted above the level of the body and its concerns. He soars above worldly matters, to get a taste of the heavenly. It is a period of sacred feelings towards God, and ultimately, it harbours the feeling that one is close to, and familiar with, Him. It is a period of being spiritually content with the self and with God, and of standing against the Devil. Days of fasting are specifically for
Since birth, we were all taught to “seek first the Kingdom of God.” But in seeking the Kingdom of God we must challenge ourselves and give up our own desires. We often think that by striving for holiness, we will no longer be happy or by striving for righteousness, everything else in our lives will falter. Sadly, we put so much faith in our own abilities and forget the power of God. We forget how much He has given us, we forget how much He suffered for us, we forget that even our trusted abilities were given to us by Him, and the most unfortunate of all, we forget that ALL things are possible to Him.
When we put so much focus on our academic, career, social, or physical goals yet forget our spiritual goals, our hearts and minds begin to accumulate many impurities because of their lack of nourishment. However, we must be careful what we place into our hearts and where we place our hearts, “For where [our] treasure is, there [our] heart will be also.”(Matthew 6: 21). If our focus is on the Kingdom of God, only things leading to the Kingdom of God will be in our hearts and therefore leaving our lips; because, let us not forget that “out of the treasure of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34).
During Preparation week of Great Lent, we should set our eyes on heaven. We must prepare ourselves to place God first in our hearts and lives for He put us first before the creation of the world and set everything under our feet. He promises never to leave us in need of anything as we are more of value to Him than the birds of the air, which He also provides for, according to Matthew 6: 26-27. He promised to love us forever and fulfilled His promise by sending His Son to purchase us by His blood. He promised to always fill us; however, we have to open our hearts and allow Him entrance. So let us all open our hearts before God and allow Him to lead us to Him in purity and righteousness as King David in the Psalms said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139: 23-24)
Author: Marina Abdelsayed
Fr. Bishoy Kamel1 visited a sick person who was complaining from pain in his back. Abouna Pishoy started to give him words of solace, but the man answered, "I'm not asking God to take away my illness. I only ask Him to give me the strength to stand up for prayer and take from me the severe headache that hinders me from praying 'Our Father.' As long as the headache was there, I couldn't concentrate on one word."
Abouna Pishoy replied, "Don't be upset if you are not able to attend church or stand up for prayer, or even say 'Our Father,' because you participate in Jesus' suffering. Give thanks for this participation. For Jesus also suffered back pain under the heavy burden of the cross."
Some days later, when this sick man came to
By: GEORGE YOUSSEF
“The Holy Week of Pascha is central in the church life. It is a celebration of God the Heavenly Father’s love. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). It is also a living remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ, “who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God” (Hebrews 9:14).
-Holy Pascha: Order of Holy Week Services in the Coptic Orthodox Church
The word “Pascha” translates to “Passover” which refers to the angel of death that passed over the houses of the Hebrews. These houses were sprinkled with the blood of the Passover lamb, symbolizing the sacrifice of the Cross. Pascha is the name given to the period between Palm Sunday and Good Friday. The entire Holy
By: GEORGE YOUSSEF
May 28th of this year marks the first day of the Apostles’ fast which concludes on July 11th. This fast precedes the Apostles’ feast on the fifth day of Epip, the day St. Peter and St. Paul were martyred. Through the Apostles’ fast, we thank God for the gifts of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, we acknowledge the struggles and tribulations