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Wrong self-love is a hindrance to virtue

Others | 19 December 2010
It is not a fault or a sin to love oneself, if it is spiritual love. It is the first and greatest commandment, or the highest level of love for the others, as the Lord says:"You shall the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind … the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Mt 22: 37- 39) Concerning wrong love the Lord says, "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it." (Mt 10: 39) To discern between the two types of love, we should know that by the ego war or self-worship, the focus is on oneself, to build one's career and attain higher levels, through wrong means, such as: .. More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (23)

Pope Shenouda III | 12 December 2010
Some may have a good beginning with God, inflamed with love, but they do not continue. Love cools down. What is the reason? One of the main reasons is leniency towards sin and towards the self. That was the reason for the first man's fall. In his lenience, he allowed himself to sit to the serpent and to listen to its words contradicting the commandment. He submitted to the temptation, and in weakness fell. Eve was not firm towards the sinful thought offered by the serpent. She accepted it, discussed it, and submitted to it. The thought prevailed over her and led to many other sins, and she lost her simplicity and purity... More

The ego, the greatest hindrance for virtue

Pope Shenouda III | 5 December 2010
Danger of the ego: The ego may lead a person to perdition, for the Lord Christ says, "He who finds his life will lose it." (Mt 10: 39) It is very dangerous indeed to focus on oneself and try to be greater and exalted, feeling righteous, great, and wise in one's own and the others' eyes (Job 32: 1; Acts 12: 21- 23; Prov 3: 7), all of which the Lord warned against... More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (21)

Pope Shenouda III | 28 November 2010
Hindrances Not Preventives Life of virtue and righteousness is not always easy, for there may be some hindrances on the way, facing even saints, as we know from their biographies. Why then does God permit such hindrances, what are their sources, causes, and benefits? Causes and sources of hindrances: 1. Some are caused by the devil, for he walks about like a roaring lion, seeking a prey, and sowing tares everywhere, as he did to Eve our mother, giving her a destructive counsel. We ought to be on our guard, "for we are not ignorant of his devices" (2 Cor 2: 11). That is why St. Athansius in his struggle against the Arians said, 'Our first enemy is not Arianism, but the devil.'.. More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (20)

Pope Shenouda III | 21 November 2010
You may find great comfort and pleasure in talking with someone and wish the talk would extend, while with someone else you may count the minutes and wish the meeting would end. One is pleasing, and the other is boring! One may pass like a calm breeze of sweet aroma, while another is like a windy storm! What is a pleasing soul like? What are its attributes? Why are some people pleasing, and some not?.. More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (19)

Pope Shenouda III | 14 November 2010
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Mk 4: 9, 23) Let us contemplate on the two phrases repeated in the messages the Lord sent to the seven churches in Asia: 'I know your works', and "He who has ears to hear, let him hear". They are messages to everybody: God sends His word to all people: the righteous and the wicked, those who love Him and those who left their first love! He sent a word even to the angel of the church in Sardis to whom He said, "You have a name that you are alive, but you are dead," (Rev 3: 1) and to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans to whom He said, "You are neither cold nor hot ... I will vomit you out of My mouth." (Rev 3: 15, 16).. More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (18)

Pope Shenouda III | 7 November 2010
Tests can be a proof of a person's virtue. Passing these tests determines one's personality and rank in the eternal life. Some people undergo tests only for a short period, like John the Baptist, whose ministry took only one year or a little more, but was very successful. He proved himself humble, self-denying, and brave. Therefore, that short period was enough, and God took him at the age of thirty-two... More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (17)

Pope Shenouda III | 31 October 2010
Measured by the kind of one's interests The Lord Christ said to Martha, "You are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Lk 10: 41) What about you, brother; what are your priorities? Your priorities determine your enthusiasm, your actions, and your will... More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (15)

Pope Shenouda III | 24 October 2010
represents life of Virtue & Righteousness The Scripture says, "No condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." (Rom 8: 1) What then is the life in the Spirit? It is the spiritual life as a whole. Living in the Spirit is based on two main things: a. the victory of the human spirit in its struggles.. More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (14)

Pope Shenouda III | 17 October 2010
Crown Rewards for the Life of Virtue & Righteousness Life of virtue and righteousness is one of struggling against the self, the world and material things, and against Satan. Those who overcome will receive crowns in eternity. The Lord Christ, in His messages to the seven churches in Asia, says to the angel of the Church in Philadelphia, "Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown." (Rev 3: 11).. More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (13)

Pope Shenouda III | 10 October 2010
Virtues alone are not enough Some would say they fast, pray, confess, read the Holy Scripture and spiritual books, minister, give charity, and partake of the Holy Communion, and practice many virtues, however, their spiritual life is at a standstill with no growth at all. They do not know the reason. Such virtues perhaps are defective.. More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (12)

Pope Shenouda III | 3 October 2010
Solomon the Wise says, "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city." (Prov 16: 32) Who then is the person who rules his spirit, that is, who has self-control? Self-control has various aspects, such as control over tongue, over thoughts, over senses, over stomach, over desires and lusts, over nerves, and over all acts of a person... More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (11)

Pope Shenouda III | 26 September 2010
The influence of reading, listening, and senses On the life of virtue Thinking and Senses: Senses are the source of thoughts, for what a person reads or hears bring forth thoughts. What a person sees occupies the mind, then the thoughts of the mind go to the heart in the form of feelings and emotions, and these easily affect the will and turn into action!.. More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (10)

Pope Shenouda III | 19 September 2010
Unless you are converted and become as little children … (Mt 18: 3) How can a person lead a life of virtue and righteousness? The Lord set for His disciples an important and strange precondition for entering the kingdom of heaven, saying, "Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 18: 3).. More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (9): The Fruit

Pope Shenouda III | 12 September 2010
In the Life of Virtue and Righteousness The importance of yielding fruit:Spiritual life must yield fruit in our lives and the lives of the others, for the Lord stresses on this, saying, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit … I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit." (Jn 15: 1- 5).. More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (8)

Pope Shenouda III | 5 September 2010
Definition, aim, and means What is virtue? Is it mere name or title, such as prayer, fasting, ministry, or charity, or there are measures for it? The three measures by which any virtue is proved as true or false are definition, aim, and means. Prayer: What is it? Is it a talk with God, or mere reciting, and how is it done? How feelings, understanding, and attachment to God are measured?.. More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (7)

Pope Shenouda III | 29 August 2010
The Royal daughter is all glorious within (Ps 45) The interior and the exterior: The kingdom of God is within you (Lk 17: 21), i.e., within your mind, heart, feelings, emotions, and intentions. When God reigns within, naturally the fruit will appear in one's actions. Mere external righteousness is hypocrisy. The scribes and Pharisees appeared righteous, but the Lord refused them as hypocrites, and rebuked them, saying, "You cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence." "You are like whitewashed tombs .. More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (6)

Pope Shenouda III | 22 August 2010
The three levels governing man's behavior The individual level, the social level, and the spiritual level are three levels governing man's behavior as regards virtue and ambitions. A few benefit from the three, while some choose one or two only, and either benefit from them wisely or deviate. The individual level:+ On this level, a person attempts to lift himself up by acquiring certain virtues or ambitions, developing his mentality, his understanding, and his talents, or acquiring new talents through exercises of memory and reaching conclusions. Some exercises may develop intellectual ability and perception through training on solving problems or quizzes, all of which may give a person a keen and discerning eye... More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (5)

Pope Shenouda III | 15 August 2010
Spirituality is walking in the Spirit. St. Paul put it clearly, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit." (Rom 8: 1) "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit, the things of the spirit … for to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God … So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God." (Rom 8: 5- 8) Spirituality then is going beyond the carnal level... More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (5)

Pope Shenouda III | 8 August 2010
Almost everybody agrees concerning the good aim, but we may differ concerning the means leading to it. This may be due to the difference in thoughts, in views and degrees of intelligence, and in nature and surroundings, all of which result in different conclusions and judgments... More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (4)

Pope Shenouda III | 1 August 2010
The danger of focusing on one virtue (B) The Virtue of Obedience In continuation of the same topic, we shall speak here about: The Virtue of Obedience: God commanded us to obey our spiritual guides who watch out for our souls as those who must give account (Heb 13: 17). Moreover, we have in the Paradise of Monks various wonderful examples of obedience to the fathers in holiness. However, we should not obey blindly whatever the case may be; for .. More