December 2015 Letter
With the year 2015 coming to an end of 2015, and the beginning of a New Year, we learn from H.G. Bishop Pachomius by his article entitled: “Crossing for a New Year”:
With the beginning of a new year, the heart of every one is filled with hopes that this New Year be filled of joy and peace, while some have concerns about the difficulties they may face in this new year. These feelings remind me with the stories of God’s people crossing from Sinai to the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua son of Nun, who divided for them the Promised Land.
The story of this crossing is that of every Christian crossing from earth to the happy eternity. And in the way for crossing to heaven you need:
- That you proceed in your way with faith, for this was the commandment of the Lord to Joshua: “And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests … in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, … and they shall stand as a heap” (Joshua 3: 13). So in this New Year, be positive and proceed your way to heaven, not submitting yourself to fears that hinder you.
- Trust that the Lord will use all things and all the events and all the people – even if they are evil – for your salvation, and He even may also use you for their salvation. For He has used Rehab, a harlot in order to hide the spies who had gone to spy out the Promised Land, so they were saved and brought salvation for her and her house (Joshua 2).
- In your way to heaven do not exclude that your life would pass through hardships or difficulties, but be sure that God would deliver you victorious because this is His desire to gain a share in the heavenly kingdom. So do not weaken, nor your heart trouble, for this is His promise to Joshua, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Hivites and the Perizzites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Jebusites»” (Joshua 3:10).
- Make sure to keep your heart in a constant state of repentance, for the people who were able to enter and destroy the walls of Jericho without a fight, are the same who were defeated in front of Ai, because sin has entered into the heart of just one of the men … thus the people were defeated! So be sure to live repentant, that the Lord would take you to cross to the New Year in victory (Joshua 8).
- Finally hold fast to the divine commandments, and choose to follow them, for this was the commandment of Joshua to the people at the end of his life: “Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses” (Joshua 23: 6), decide for yourself to live according to His commandments, which will keep your steps on the road to heaven.
May the blessings of St. Mary and St. Mercurius and the blessing of the Nativity fast be with us always, Amen
Fr. Youssef Halim & Fr. Luke Istafanous
Belleville, December 1, 2015