January 2016 Letter
We congratulate you for the new Gregorian year 2016 and Christmas celebration hoping that this year will be a blessing for our spiritual and practical lives, and also be a blessing to our families and all of our loved ones. On the occasion of Christmas, we will quote some of the teachings of our late Pope Shenouda III:
“One of the blessings of the divine incarnation is the blessing of our human nature, when our Lord Jesus Christ took flesh, He blessed it, as we say in the Gregorian Liturgy: “You blessed my nature in You”. Human nature through the incarnation of Jesus Christ is no longer the nature of the corruption:
- He blessed this nature to return as it was: in the image and likeness of God. So, in this same nature He healed all the weaknesses which the first man fell in, also all those of human weaknesses in general.
- He gave our nature the spirit of power: to the vulnerable defeated nature He gave power and strength, so in Christ Jesus, man is no longer weak.
- He blessed our nature, by making our human body a temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in our human nature through Chrismation, and this human nature became a tool in the hands of the Spirit to do wonders in us producing the different fruits
- He gave us the spirit of victory in our new nature. The first fallen nature was afraid of demons and Satan was terrifying to humans as he defeated them. That was until Jesus Christ took flesh and was able to say: “for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me” (John 14: 30). For the first time the devil himself was defeated: defeated by the Son of man representing all human nature.
- This human nature that scares Satan, also triumphs over death. Our mortal nature was given through the Grace of God immortality. As the Apostle said: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor 15: 53).
- Our nature was blessed with the grace of being His children: for those who received him, he gave power to become children of God (John 1: 12). And John the Beloved says: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3: 1). And with this sonship He gave us promises, inheritance and many blessings.
May the blessing of Christ the Incarnate Word be with us all in this coming year.
Fr. Youssef Halim & Fr. Luke Istafanous
Belleville, January 1, 2016