February 2015 Letter
With the beginning of February this year, the Church celebrates the fasting of Nineveh, which is an opportunity to repent and return to a life of holiness. Here, we quote from an article of Bishop Moses, entitled “Sanctification” some useful ideas:
+ Holiness is not a state of infallibility, for no one is immune from sin, but one, that is God. But rather is struggling against sin with all the power in order to defeat it and remove it from the heart, and if we fall, we should not despair because our hope in God never fails.
In this St. John says: “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2 : 1 – 2).
+ So what is required of us is to strive so as not to make mistakes, but the possibility of sin is existing, and our atoning intercessor exists, as long as we offer repentance for all our sins. In this the church fathers say: “It’s more appropriate for us to die in struggle, than to live in the fall.”
And the Bible teaches us to cry about sin, saying: “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me” (Micah 7: 8).
+ But the ultimate goal of holiness is devotion and consecrating the life to the Lord, for He commanded us saying: “My son, give me your heart, And let your eyes observe my ways” (Proverbs 23: 26).
That is to love God with all your heart, and nothing remains in the heart but God as king and a beloved groom, and after that the struggle would be easy and feasible through the Grace that’s in us, our eyes observing the way, and as He leads us in the way:
– Circumspectly: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise” (Eph 5: 15).
– In the Spirit: “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal 5: 16).
+ Thus, holiness is struggling against sin by the power of the Lord, the victory by the heavenly support, then rejecting and hating sin by all the heart. Then we can give the whole heart to Christ, and consecrate the entire human entity to Him; the body, soul, spirit, mind, talents, health, energy and material.
Please remember the church, the priests, the servants and their services always in your prayers, and may the blessings of St. Mary & St. Mercurius and the blessings of this fast be with us always, Amen
Fr. Youssef Halim & Fr. Luke Istafanous
Belleville, February 1, 2015