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Jacob the Patriarch (7)

Pope Shenouda III | 17 April 2011
Our father Jacob submitted to the actual state, and accepted Leah as wife, then he married her sister Rachel, gathering between both sisters. He lived with the wife he loved, and the wife who loved him and sought his love. Both wives wrestled together. Our father Jacob avoided taking wives from unbelievers lest they turn his heart away from God as happened to Solomon the Wise afterwards (1 Kgs 11). He went to take wife from a holy family of his parents' relatives, not knowing that problems might follow him even with those holy people, from his uncle Laban who deceived him, and from his two wrestling cousins, Leah the weak sighted, and the pretty Rachel... More

Jacob the Patriarch (6)

Pope Shenouda III | 10 April 2011
Jacob met his cousin Rachel by the well where the shepherds watered their sheep. As there was a large stone on the well's mouth, they used to wait until they all gather and roll the stone away. When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of his uncle, he went near and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his uncle (Gen 29: 3, 10)... More

Jacob the Patriarch 5

Pope Shenouda III | 3 April 2011
The covenant with God in Bethel So many are the covenants made between God and man, among which was that with Jacob, where God said to him, "Your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth … and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land." (Gen 28: 13- 15).. More

Jacob the Patriarch (4)

Pope Shenouda III | 27 March 2011
Jacob fled from the face of his brother Esau who had intended to kill him. Strange indeed was such hatred and strange his ignorance! Could he prevent the blessing that went to Jacob, that peoples serve Jacob, and nations bow down to him, that he become master over his brethren, and his mother’s sons bow down to him, that the older serve him though the younger? (Gen 27: 29; 25: 23) Esau was defying the divine dispensation, unlike his father who despite intending to bless Esau, submitted to the divine will when he remembered God's promise. Isaac said affirming, "Indeed he shall be blessed." (Gen 27: 33) Esau nevertheless disobeyed and showed ignorance, for the blessing implied the coming of Christ from the offspring of the firstborn, how then would he kill Jacob before the coming of Christ from his offspring! How would he kill him before the fulfillment of the other blessing Isaac had given him, that he multiply and be an assembly of peoples (Gen 28: 3)? It was impossible, but Jacob in fear fled from his face... More

Jacob the Patriarch

Pope Shenouda III | 20 March 2011
Jacob succeeded in obtaining the blessing of his father, a great treasure sought by the sons at that time. Blessings throughout human history came directly from God, from Him alone. He blessed Adam and Eve (Gen 1: 28), Noah and his children (Gen 9: 1), and our father Abraham (Gen 12), the first to whom God said, "You shall be a blessing" (Gen 12: 2)... More

Jacob the Patriarch

Pope Shenouda III | 13 March 2011
Birthright was a great desirable thing in the days of our early fathers. The firstborn before Aaron served as priest of the family after the decease of his father, as the Lord commanded Moses, "Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb … it is Mine." (Ex 13: 2) Christ was expected to come from the firstborn, according to the Lord's promise to our fathers Abraham and Isaac, "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed." (Gen 22: 18; 26: 4).. More

Jacob the Patriarch

Pope Shenouda III | 13 March 2011
Birthright was a great desirable thing in the days of our early fathers. The firstborn before Aaron served as priest of the family after the decease of his father, as the Lord commanded Moses, "Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb … it is Mine." (Ex 13: 2) Christ was expected to come from the firstborn, according to the Lord's promise to our fathers Abraham and Isaac, "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed." (Gen 22: 18; 26: 4).. More

Jacob the Patriarch:

Pope Shenouda III | 6 March 2011
God chose Jacob before his birth, and gave him blessing and authority while still in his mother's womb, for God said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger." (Gen 25: 23) The older is Esau, and the younger Jacob... More

Characters of the Holy Bible

Pope Shenouda III | 27 February 2011
We mention in this context our first parents and grandparents Adam and Eve, the first human beings, the first sinners, the first to undergo punishment, and the first married couple forming the first family. The type of the relationship between our mother Eve and our father Adam: She is of the same nature, or rather "bone of his bones" and "flesh of his flesh" (Gen 2: 23) She is a helper comparable to him (Gen 2: 18) in nature, in mind, and in spirit. She is in God's image and likeness, responsible for her actions. He is the head, and she a helper, for God said, "He shall rule over you" (Gen 3: 16), and the Scripture says, "The head of woman is man" (1 Cor 11: 3; Eph 5: 22), and commands women to submit to their husbands in everything (Eph 5: 24)... More

Characters of the Holy Bible

Pope Shenouda III | 20 February 2011
Nehemiah built the walls of Jerusalem so that the people might no longer be a reproach. In his determination that knows no despair, he could turn darkness into light and grief into joy. Yet this was not all. There were souls like Jerusalem, with walls broken down and gates burned with fire, souls trodden by enemies, and lost dignity. Having completed restoration of the city, Nehemiah then began restoration of those souls. He did not want for Jerusalem with the new walls to be like whitewashed tombs, while the inside full of dead men's bones (Mt 23: 27)... More

Contemplations on the life of Nehemiah

Pope Shenouda III | 6 February 2011
We know nothing about Nehemiah's past life except his enthusiasm to build the wall of Jerusalem. The lives of some people begin from the time of their attachment to God and to church. Their true lives are briefed in what they did for God, and the rest is only emptiness, not worth to be recorded. Nehemia was a captive in Babylon,and held a position in the palace of King Artaxerxes. He was the king’s cupbearer (Neh 1: 11).. More

The most serious sin in one's life

Pope Shenouda III | 3 February 2011
A person often forgets the sins he committed, but there may be certain unforgettable sins. David the Prophet for instance asked the Lord in his prayer to forget his many sins, saying, "If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?" (Ps 130: 3) "Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no one living is righteous." (Ps 143: 2) "Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions." (Ps 25: 7) Even concerning his errors, he says, "Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults." (Ps 19: 12).. More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (27)

Pope Shenouda III | 23 January 2011
The body is not a sin: First of all the body or the flesh is not a sin by itself, for many reasons: 1. Had the body been evil, God would not have created it, for after creating it, God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good (Gen 1: 31). 2. Had the body been evil, the Lord Christ would not have taken for Himself a human body, "The Word became flesh." (Jn 1: 14) 3. Had the body been evil, the Scripture would not have said, "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you." (1 Cor 6: 19) "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?" (1 Cor 6: 15) .. More

Life of Virtue & Righteousness (26)

Pope Shenouda III | 16 January 2011
Many people begin with spirituality, but do not continue, or begin with fervency then cool down, lapse, leave their first love, or become lukewarm. The Lord Christ therefore in the Parable of the Sower, presents to us the various types of people in whose land the seeds fell, and of whom some failed. One type is those who, having no root, withered away (Mt 13: 6)... More

On the occasion of the Lord's Nativity 2011

Pope Shenouda III | 9 January 2011
In the beginning of the New Year people usually make wishes for the world, for their country or community, or for the church. It is a good thing and a duty, but what about your private and spiritual life in particular: what are your wishes in the New Year? Actually if the individuals are good, the whole society,the church and the country will be good.I would like to remind you of the Lord's promises in the Book of Ezekiel: "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness … I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.".. More

A way that seems right is a hindrance to virtue

Pope Shenouda III | 2 January 2011
A verse repeated twice in the Proverbs due to its important says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." (Prov 14: 12; 16: 25) It probably means that a person should not rely on his own view and understanding of matters, for he may be wrong or think a certain way good, while it is harmful. Therefore, "Lean not on your own understanding" (Prov 3: 5), nor lay your whole trust on your own thoughts and trends, nor fulfill all your desires, for though they may seem sound, they turn to your trouble... More

Wrong self-love is a hindrance to virtue

Pope Shenouda III | 26 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).. More

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