february 2008 letter
During the month of January we celebrated several major feasts. Now we are preparing for Jonah’s fast, a very significant fast. The book of Jonah teaches us many important spiritual lessons like:
1- Our God who created mankind to live in holiness cannot accept to see that he lives in evil and sin.
2- God’s judgment is fair and will definitely come upon those who live in sin.
3- God strives so that everyone may be saved and whoever believes in him and gives up a life of sin will be saved from condemnation.
One of the clear lessons to learn from this book is God’s incomprehensible love to man. In the story of Jonah we see three different models of human nature, God loves them all and strives for their salvation and rejoices at their repentance.
1- Jonah symbolizes the human who has faith in God but has his own sins and mistakes.
2- the men on the boat symbolize the human who doesn’t know God but is ready to accept Him and believe when the faith is presented to him.
3- The people of Nineveh symbolize the human who lives in sin but is ready for repentance and returning to God.
The story ends with everyone believing and their enjoyment of God’s imperceptible love. Love even for the evil ones whose evil has ascended to God. God explained in detail to Jonah about this love saying, “But the Lord said, You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons … ” (Jonah 4:10-11).
This is the time schedule for the masses during Jonah’s fast:
v Monday, February 18 (President’s day): from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
v Tuesday, February 1: from 12 noon to 3 p.m.
v Wednesday, February 20 (Archangel Michael commemoration): from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
vThursday, February 21 (Jonah’s Feast): from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
As for the Church news, the youth and servants of St. Abraam group sent out the 5thcontainer to Egypt on January 18 carrying your donations of clothes and medical equipment that are needed by our brethren in Egypt. Also, two new expected icons arrived and these are the Christmas and Epiphany icon. We hope the others will arrive in due time.
Asking you to remember the church, its priest, servants and all its services always in your prayers, may the blessings of St. Mary and St. Mercurius and the blessings of Jonah’s fast be with us always Amen.
Fr. Youssef Halim
Belleville, January 28, 2008