april 2008 letter
We are now halfway through the great lent and we are getting closer to Passion Week, and its memories of the deep hymns and its touching rights. These would stimulate the feeling of love for whom had loved us beforehand and gave Himself for our love, and moved us to a life of repentance. In this we remember what St. John the beloved said: “We love Him because He first loved us” (1Jn 4: 19).
It is necessary for us as we approach Passion Week to remember some of the verses that talk about the cross, so that the cross may be our main focus for that blessed week:
v “Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mat 16: 24).
v “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1Cor 2: 2).
v “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2: 20).
v “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5: 24).
v “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal 6: 14).
v “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 2:15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Col 2: 14-15).
v “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12: 2).
For your reference, the schedule for the sermons for Passion Week is attached.
May our good God who accepted the pain through His own will and was crucified for us bless us with all spiritual blessings and help us enjoy these blessed days and keep us to enjoy his Resurrection many years to come.
Asking you to remember the church, its priest, servants and all its services always in your prayers, and may the blessings of St. Mary and St. Mercurius, and the blessings of these Holy days be with us always Amen.
Fr. Youssef Halim
Belleville, March 28, 2008