july 2008 letter
This month is filled with many saints’ feasts, and is also the month of the Apostles fast which ends on July the 12th by celebrating the martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul (Apostles feast). This fast is the fasting of our love towards the salvation of everyone, and as we remember the apostles and their service of preaching to the whole world and giving their lives for the spread of faith, we feel that our fast is the least thing to present to the Lord asking for the salvation of those outside the church, and even bringing the whole world for the knowledge of the true God “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1Ti 2: 4).
This is a good time to read the book of acts, which when compared to the gospels:
v In the Gospels we find the birth of Christ, and in Acts the birth of the church; the body of Christ.
v In the Gospels Jesus ask the disciples to preach to Judea, Samaria and all the world, and in Acts they obeyed the order and the apostles preached to Judea, Samaria(Philip), then to the gentiles (Cornelius) then St. Paul and Barnabas to Asia Minor thenEurope.
v In the Gospels we read God’s promises, and in Acts we see how these promises are achieved by sending the Holy Spirit and that He is with us till the end of ages.
v In the Gospels we see the Lord washing the feet of His disciples, and in Acts His disciples wash the world’s feet.
v In the Gospels we see the pains and suffering of the groom for the bride, and in Acts we see the pains of the bride for the groom.
Our Lord who worked in the first church in that age with His Holy Spirit, may also work in us now to give us the same power.
I seize this opportunity to comfort you regarding the health of our beloved father H.H. Pope Shenouda, after the successful surgery he had at Cleveland Hospital. May the Lord grant him full recovery and health for many years to come.
Asking you to keep the church, its priest, servants and all services, in your prayers. May the blessing of Saint Mary, and our fathers the apostles and this fast be with us all.
Fr. Youssef Halim
Belleville, July 1, 2008