Pope Shenouda Article
Pope Shenouda III | 1 March 2012
The virtue of meekness is one of the important Christian virtues. Suffice that the Lord says about it: "Learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Mt 11: 29) He could have said, learn from Me all perfections of Christianity, but He focused on gentleness and meekness in particular, and mentioned the result. Indeed, for a meek person enjoys a life of rest and calmness, whereas a person who loses meekness lives in strife and worry...
Pope Shenouda III | 12 December 2011
Three main virtues must be involved in every virtue, like thread in rosary beads, without which a virtue shall not be considered a virtue. These are wisdom, love, and humbleness. Every virtue should be practiced prudently otherwise it may turn into something different or to a distorted form of virtue. Moreover, a virtue should include love for God, love for good, and love for others, or it will lose its value. And as the saints say, it should be practiced with a humble heart otherwise it may become a means for nourishing vainglory. ..
Pope Shenouda III | 2 October 2011
Only a person who is wrongly concerned about himself, or who loves himself in a wrong way, falls in pride. He grows in his own eyes and likes to be great in the sight of the others, or even to be greater than the others. Examples of those who grow in their own eyes: An example is a person who looks long in the mirror to enjoy seeing his own beauty! Even in the past, the people wanted to build a city and a tower in Babylon with its top in the heavens, to make themselves a name (Gen 11: 4)! Believe me, brothers, those were perhaps less proud than the people of our days who want to go to the Moon to put the flag of their country, or to Mercury to occupy it, to dwell there, or to organize trips there!..
Pope Shenouda III | 25 September 2011
Thinking highly of oneself leads to a desire for being great in the sight of the others, and even in the relationship with God, causing one to fall in blasphemy, as the case with the Satan and many atheists. It is arrogance, and it is often divided into three types: Arrogance related to secular matters, arrogance related to monasticism, and arrogance related to dogmatic and theological issues. Secular arrogance: It is the case of being puffed up within, with pride appearing in one's looks, steps, sitting, outer appearance, and way of speaking. Such a person walks haughtily, taking an aristocratic appearance in all dealings!..
Pope Shenouda III | 18 September 2011
The proud falls by exaltation: St. Augustine, in his commentary on Psalms (37, 73), explained how the proud disperses while rising high, as smoke while rising high is dispersed and vanishes. A flame, on the contrary, not rising high, maintains its power. The Psalmist describes the proud as one in great power, spreading himself like a native green tree. What then? He continues, "Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more; indeed I sought him, but he could not be found." (Ps 37: 35) They will perish, the Psalmist says, "Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away." (Ps 37: 20) While rising high, the proud is puffed up, and dissolves. The same applies to God's enemies, when they begin to glorify themselves and rise up they consume away like smoke (Ps 37: 20)..
Pope Shenouda III | 11 September 2011
A proud person is in danger of perishing, because ego and pride usually lead to many sins and prevent a person from recognizing this, for as the Scripture says, "Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall." (Prov 16: 18) What are the aspects of such destruction and falling? God resists the proud: A proud person may face resistance from others, for pride is a detestable sin, but more serious is facing resistance from God, for St. James the Apostle says, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (Jas 4: 6) How terrible that God resists His creation for pride!..
Pope Shenouda III | 4 September 2011
We have already explained in detail thirty-two points, and here we give some more points on the same subject: 1. The spiritual humbleness of a person appears in the movements of the body. Humbleness appears in one's countenance, one's calm and gentle voice, and one's meek looks. The humble does not look down on the others, nor speaks as one with authority, sharply, haughtily or loudly. The humble does not utter disdainful words or degrades anybody by negligence. The humble walks and sits gently and modestly, without haughtiness or elevation, with modest clothes, luggage and belongings, not luxurious, or revealing a high standard of living. The language of the humble reveals him, for he does not boast of or takes pride in what he does, nor holds comparisons between himself and the others to show that he surpasses them or has more knowledge than them. 2. The way of worshipping and prayers reveals the humbleness of a person...
Pope Shenouda III | 28 August 2011
We spoke last week about 17 signs and means of humbleness, now we shall continue with the same subject: 1. A humble person should flee from all aspects and sources of grandiosity. The humble should flee from love of leadership and superiority, love of domination and haughtiness, and from the desire to be first. All such things lead to perdition, and the Lord warned His disciples against them, saying, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Mt 20: 25- 28)..
Pope Shenouda III | 21 August 2011
I would like to present to you some brief exercises on humbleness, which I will expound in more detail afterwards. 1. If pride is represented in self-assurance and grandiosity, humbleness appears clearly in self-denial. So many are the exercises on self-denial, and the Lord has put self-denial foremost of the conditions of discipleship to Him. He said, "The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit." (Ps 34: 18) Indeed, for by self-denial a person can attain to humbleness, and will not seek glory or greatness. ..
Pope Shenouda III | 14 August 2011
Some people are born from their mother’s wombs, meek by nature. They never need to exert any effort to acquire calmness; they have perhaps gained it genetically, or as a gift from God. Some others are born with a fiery nature inclined to nervousness or violence. We are not going to debate the meek by nature, by birth, or as a gift of God; rather, we will consider how to acquire, or get habituated to, meekness...
Pope Shenouda III | 7 August 2011
The humbleness of the Son: 1. His Incarnation is the first aspect of His humbleness: "Being in the form of God … made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself …" (Phil 2: 6- 8) Can there be more humbleness than emptying Himself of all aspects of greatness and honor meet for His divinity and taking the form of a bondservant! Such humbleness reveals the wisdom of the divine dispensation, for the first sin entered into the world by pride, both of man and of Satan, so the Savior had to overcome it by humbleness. ..
Pope Shenouda III | 31 July 2011
The greatest and true example of humbleness is that of God, blessed be His name. God alone can be described as humble. God alone is the highly lofty, who condescends from His loftiness. Any human being is but dust and ashes (Gen 18: 27), and before that was mere nihility. How can we say that anybody, being all sin and iniquity, is humble? Man is not in a high place that he may descend from it, nor in perfection that he may conceal it. Humbleness, as described by a father, is to know one's origin, weakness, and sin. ..
Pope Shenouda III | 24 July 2011
One of the brothers asked St. Abba Bachomios one day, saying, 'Tell us about one of the visions you see that we may benefit.' The saint said, 'A sinner like me does not see visions, but if you want to see a wonderful vision of real benefit to you, know that a true humble and pure person is better than all visions, for in such a person you will see the Invisible God. No vision is better'..
Pope Shenouda III | 17 July 2011
• Once St. John the Short asked the brothers in the monastery, 'Who sold Joseph the righteous?' When they said, 'His brothers,' he said to them, 'No, not his brothers, but his humbleness, because he could say to those who bought him that he was the brother of the sellers, but in humbleness he kept silent, and was sold, yet he became governor of Egypt!' ..
Pope Shenouda III | 10 July 2011
Humbleness does not mean that you descend from a higher to a lower level, nor to feel that in spite of your greatness you undervalue yourself or conceal your greatness, for such feeling of being great yet willing to descend, or concealing it, does not reveal humbleness, because although you conceal it, you see it clearly. God alone is the Highest, and He alone condescends from high, while all human beings are dust and ashes. Humbleness in truth, as the church fathers say, is to know oneself, to know who you are: You are of the dust of the earth! Rather, the dust is older than you are, for God created it first, before creating you!..
Pope Shenouda III | 3 July 2011
What is humbleness, and what is its significance? What did the fathers say commending it? What does the Holy Scripture say about it? What is its place among and its relationship with virtues? What is its relationship with high gifts, with grace, and with trials? How can a person be humble? All this and more we would tackle – God willing – in a series of articles on this important topic, so that you may know what this great virtue is, and what other virtues it implies...
Pope Shenouda III | 26 June 2011
He has authority: What authority was that? It was the authority of the Legislator. • The words "You have heard that it was said … But I say to you" repeatedly came on the Lord's mouth, when speaking about murder, about adultery, about divorce, about oaths, about any eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, and about the relationship with the neighbor and the enemy (Mt 5: 21, 27, 28, 31, 32- 34, 38, 39, 43, 44) • In His words about the Sabbath, He said, "For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." (Mt 5: 12: 8) As Lord of the Sabbath, He put its rules as He willed. • When He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you” the scribes grumbled within themselves, so He said to them, "… that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins … 'Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.'" (Mt 9: 2- 6)..
Pope Shenouda III | 19 June 2011
These words are repeated thrice in one paragraph of the Sermon on the Mount in (Mt 6: 25- 34). The Lord says, "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on …" "Do not worry about tomorrow …" "Do not worry about tomorrow … Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Mt 6: 25- 34)..
Pope Shenouda III | 12 June 2011
In case each master has a different tendency, one cannot serve both equally, or with the same degree of honesty. One's service will be true from all the heart to the one, and in flattery or hypocrisy to the other. In case both have the same tendency, anybody can serve them equally. A person can serve God, the church, the community, the state, and knowledge, but cannot serve two opposite or competing masters, whether the master is a person or a thing...
Pope Shenouda III | 5 June 2011
A meek person is kind, calm, peaceful, and gentle-voiced, neither argues nor quarrels, does not break up with anyone, nor behaves rudely. In both the New and Old Testaments, it is said of Christ the Lord “ He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and smoking flax he will not quench(Matt 12: 19-20) (Isia 42: 2-3). He does not deprive anyone of hope. He does not quench smoking flax; perhaps a wind blows two years later and it may be kindled! ..
Pope Shenouda III | 30 May 2011
The wise never builds his house on the sand, on moving and unstable land, as the foolish does (Mt 7: 5), but rather builds it on the rock. Building on the rock: It signifies building on deep faith in God, on sound understanding of His commandments, or on strong firm foundation of love for God, for people, and for good. Such strong and firm foundation never falls. As engineers do, build houses on deep foundation of reinforced concrete, which no winds or rains can shake or move from its place. This is the difference between building on the rock and building on the sand. Some people go to church and listen to God's word, just for knowledge, while others listen, with the intent to act accordingly. While the former turn the mind into a store of knowledge or a moving encyclopedia, having answers to any question, the latter listen, act, and turn the word into life...