November 2014 Letter
By the end of November, the church celebrates the beginning of the fast of Nativity. And since fasting is always linked to self examination and repentance, we would like to review some of the church fathers sayings about repentance:
- “God will not ask us why we sinned, but rather why we haven’t repented” (St. Macrina).
- “To sin, this is human weakness, but to continue in sin then this is not human but demonic” (St. John Chrysostom).
- “There is no sin without forgiveness, except the one without repentance” (St. Isaac).
- “God who created you without you, cannot save you without you” (St. Augustine).
- “Repentance is not only for those beginning their life with God, but for everyone, even the saints. It is part of our daily prayers. Every person needs repentance, no matter how great his position or his spiritual level” (Pope Shenouda).
- “God who promised you forgiveness if you repent, did not promise you that tomorrow will come if you delay your repentance” (St. Augustine).
- “Repentance changes the adulteress to virgins” (St. John Saba).
- “An elder was asked if God accepts the repentance of sinners? He answered saying: “tell me my beloved, if your dress was torn would you throw it away?” He answered saying: “no, I’ll fix it and ware it again”. The elder said: “if you care for your dress that is not living and doesn’t breathe, how would God not pity His creation that live and breathe?”
- “We notice in the New Testament, that all cases in which Christ was leading a sinner to repentance was not having any element of rebuking or threatening or discipline, all which was essential factors in repentance in the Old Testament, which proves that a fundamental change took place in the repentance of sinners, both in its way and meaning” (Fr. Matta the Poor).
For the church news, we would like to remind you that our annual banquet celebrating the feast of St. Mercurius will be on Sunday, November 23. Its income will be dedicated for the Coptic Youth Center.
We also remind you that the feast of the martyrdom of St. Mercurius the intercessor of our church will be on Thursday, December 4th. On this occasion, we will be blessed by the annual visit of HG Bishop Karas during vesper prayer on Saturday, November 29 at 7:30 pm where he will anoint the relics of St. Mercurius, and also during the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, November 30th at 8:30 am.
May the blessing of St. Mary & St. Mercurius, all the martyrs and saints be with us all.
Fr. Youssef Halim & Fr. Luke Istafanous
Belleville, November 1, 2014