Monday, 22 April 2013

My sister, be fully nourished by the teachings of your Church - Diary from the Wilderness

On the morning of the 6th of July, 1990 at eleven o’clock in the morning, I was in the courtyard with a family of three men with their wives and children that visits the monastery quite often. I sat with my dear guests and while they were drinking their tea one of the wives asked me a question, “Is it permissible for me to go to the non-Orthodox Churches?” I asked her, “And why would you?!” she replied, “So that I can listen to their sermons and to know the explanations of the Holy Bible.” I said, “I would like to give you an example from your personal life as the wife of your home. When your husband and children ask to go eat at your neighbors, how will you feel? Will you not feel abandoned and disheartened by your husband and children’s action?” She said, “Of course I will feel that I am lacking in my household and at the same time will be upset by my husband and children’s behavior.”

I told her, “We also feel abandoned and disheartened when our children go to the other Churches to listen to their interpretations of the Scriptures. As you are keen on preparing what is good and useful for your husband and children so that they are not compelled to go to other places to eat there, likewise we also are keen in our Church on preparing what is good and useful for her sons and daughters so that they are not compelled to go to other Churches with the excuse of gaining further knowledge. First my sister, be fully nourished by the teachings of your Church so that you are not in need of going to other Churches. Go to your Church, confess, take communion, listen to the sermons, attend the revivals the Church organizes during the Fast. If you do this you will not feel the same way you feel right now about going to other non-Orthodox Churches.”

And at around one o’clock in the afternoon I bid my dear guests farewell in the peace of the Lord.
Hegumen Augustinos El-Baramosy, Diary from the Wilderness

Translated by Michael Daoud

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

St. Shenouda and Pope Kyrillos VI on Self-Examination


"Brethren, if we want to escape God's punishment and find mercy in his eyes, let us sit every evening alone by ourselves and search our souls for what we presented to our guardian angel to offer before the Lord. Again, as the night goes by and a new day dawns and light prevails , let us search ourselves to know what we presented to our companion angel to offer to the Lord. Let it be beyond doubt that everyone of us - male or female- young or old, who was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit has been assigned to a designated angel until the day of his death to report to him everyday what his assigned individual has done by day or by night. Not that God is unaware of what we have done. Heavens forbid. He is more knowledgeable about it. As it is written. the eyes of the Lord are watching all the time everywhere on those who commit evil and on those who do good. Rather the angels are servants installed by the Creator of the universe for those who will will inherit the salvation."

+St. Shenouda the Archimandrite (Homily found in the First Hour of Monday morning during Holy Week (Pascha).

"My beloved son, in solitude take account of your actions and be saddened for the sins that conquered you. In your solitude, collect your thoughts. Take into account those actions that pleased or displeased the Lord. If your actions were pleasing to the Lord, then rejoice and add to these actions on a daily basis. If you sinned, for every man is liable to do so, ask the Lord from your heart to forgive you, and be diligent not to repeat these offenses."

+Pope Kyrillos VI, Christian Behaviour p. 52.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Pope Kyrillos on Reading and Praying

His Holiness, the Pope, continues to advise his spiritual son (a monk), to make of him a beacon for the entire world. "When you come back from work, take off your clothes, wash your face and rest a little. If you want to have some recreation, you can go outside far from noise, and ponder the works of the Creator and the beauty of nature. Thank and praise the Lord. Do not reflect too much on the affairs of life. Do not worry about anything. Cast your burdens upon the Lord, and He shall sustain you. Do not stay too late outside; it is better not to be out after eight o'clock. Do not be outside your room after ten o'clock if possible, so that you can find time to read a little and to pray. This is not difficult advice so do not ignore it and say, 'I do not have time for such things.'

"If you have trained yourself in these things, you will reap the fruits or rewards thereof. Once you have tried it, you will find it so easy. It is natural that in the beginning, the enemy of righteousness will try to make the matter difficult for you, but day after day, you will find that it is very easy and you will want to increase this practice. Brother, as you care for your body, you should also care for your soul. It is your duty to do so."

+Pope Kyrillos VI, Christian Behaviour p. 11.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Pope Kyrillos VI on Spiritual Reading

Pope Kyrillos VI lives in this manner. He read the Holy Bible daily until the day of his death. He also would read the saints' books especially the sayings of St. Isaac. Nothing prevented him from his readings, whether other work, fatigue or sickness. His speech was always from the Holy Scriptures and the sayings of St. Isaac whenever he spoke to his disciples, the monks, or visitors. He said, "I was tonsured a monk, and from that day on, I began learning the laws of monasticism from the fathers. I studied the saints' books, especially the book of the great saint, St. Isaac. I felt the blessings of God increasing on a daily basis."

He wrote to one of his spiritual sons, a monk, "Persist in and honour reading, if possible more than prayer. Reading is the spring of intelligent prayer. For, as I had previously told you, reading for a good purpose will show you how to walk on the virtuous path. Whoever reads the books to understand the path of virtue, this path will be opened before him."

+Christian Behaviour, p. 40