BY :


: The Release of the Spirit

: H. H. Pope Shenouda Ill.
Translated by
: Mrs. Wedad Abbas
Illustrated by
: Sister Sawsan

: The First - September 1990.
: J.C. Centre
: Dar El Tebaa El Kawmia.
Legal Deposit No
: 7276/1990.
: COEPA -1997

H.H. Pope Shenouda III, 117th Pope of
Alexandria and the See of St. Mark


It is a collection of articles entitled, "The Release of the Spirit"
written for the Sunday School Magazine from the year 1951 . I
was then the editor of that magazine before starting my
monastic life.
These articles were published in the form of a book in the year
1957 including some of my poems which were published in the
magazine as well..
It was my first published book and it gained the approval of
many and was reprinted many times.
The fourth edition included some meditations and poems which
I wrote while still a monk before my ordination as a bishop. It
included also an introduction which is in fact another article on
the release of the spirit.
To the fifth edition, another introduction was added on the
same topic. We hope-God willing-that we may add other
articles to the coming editions on the same topic..

The History of this Book
1. The release from the knowledge of sin.
2. The release unto the knowledge of God.
3. The release of the spirit.
4. Enclosed within four walls.
5. Greater than heaven and the earth.
6. He was fast asleep.
7. Know yourself.
8. Yourself and the praise of people.
9. Yourself and the offences of people.
10. Be released from your self.
11. Your self in the presence of God.
12. Be released from your earthly desires.
13. Be released from the influence of the senses
14. I want nothing of the world.

15. Learning from God

16. Be released from the desire to be teacher
17. Be released from the feeling of possession.
18. Be released from the influence of the self.
19. The wretched.
20. It happened that night.
21. And will leave Me alone.
22. Meditation on light and darkness.
23. When I sit alone with myself.
24. Reveal to me Yourself
25. Love of the way which leads to God.
26. Leave me alone.
27. Our Lord is present.

If we start to talk about the release of the spirit we shall be
faced with the following question :
What is to be released from the spirit ?
The answer is that the spirit, while on earth, strives to be
released from many things which this book will tell you about..
However, there is something else on earth which I think the
spirit cannot be released from however it tries! .. To be released
of this thing is a joy only to be attained in the eternity.. But
what is this thing?
It is the release from the knowledge of sin:
When God created man, He created him simple, pure, no
knowledge of sin at all and not even the details or the names of
sin.. That was before he ate from the tree of the knowledge of

* This article is a preface to the fifth edition.

good and evil.. He was as innocent as a child and perhaps
Therefore, when Eve was tempted by the serpent she
had no knowledge.

The serpent lied and said to her "You will not surely die"
"..you will be like God"
Gen. 3.-5 But as Eve knew nothing
about lying she believed the serpent. She did not suspect the
truth of its words because she knew nothing about doubt.
Adam and Eve knew nothing but good. They did not know
evil. But when they ate of the tree they began to know it..
A new knowledge entered the life of the man ie. the
knowledge of sin..

This and other knowledge as well disturbed the natural
purity of mankind. This proves true the words of the Wise
Solomon, "..he who increases knowledge increases sorrow"
(Eccl. 1:18).
Perhaps the first thing which Adam knew was being a man
and Eve a woman... Sexual knowledge began to penetrate his
mind, then his feelings.. He recognised that sex is something
shameful and so he began to cover himself.. Then he knew fear
and tried to hide himself behind the trees..
As the time passed, man knew many sins..
Such knowledge was implanted in his mind and waged
spiritual wars against him from time to time. Even when he did

not fall in such sins, he condemned the others for them.. He
now lives in the dualism of good and evil', things permitted and
others forbidden..
I wonder when will he get rid of this dualism? When
will he restore the purity of his mind? When will the knowledge
of evil quit his mind whatever its source was, through the mind
itself or through experiencing and practising it.? When will man
get rid of 'the memory of the evil that entails death'?
I do not think that this may take place on earth at all but in
eternity as St. Paul the Apostle-being already poured out and
the time of his departure at hand-said to his disciple St.
Timothy, "Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of
(2 Tim. 4:8).

Finally, man will be crowned with righteousness.. that
righteousness which commits no sin and knows no sin.. He will
be crowned with the holiness without which no one can witness
the Lord.. But when will this take place? The apostle gives the
reply saying, ".. the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the
righteous judge will give to me on that day, and not to me only
but also to all who have loved His appearing".

This crown of righteousness is the desire which the spirit
longs to attain..

While on earth, we sin everyday and everyday we need to
repent. There is no person without sin even though if his life on
the earth is one day only..

When shall we be actually released from the knowledge of
sin? When shall we know nothing but God alone and the light
surrounding Him, the light which has no darkness . This will
happen when we spit the fruit of the knowledge of good and
evil which our forefathers ate at that time.
Only then we shall restore our previous rank.
In eternity, we shall rather be in a state better than that of
Adam in the Paradise.. Adam and Eve were in a state of
righteousness but liable to fall.. but in eternity we shall have the
crown of righteousness, which righteousness is not subject to
It we shall be in a better state than that of the first man
before the fall. then, at least, we shall be like him in innocence,
purity, simplicity and knowing no sin..
We shall forget sin with all its forms, details and

There will be nothing in our minds except the active spiritual
life, God's love, contemplating on the heavenly matters which
no eyes have even seen nor ears have ever heard nor have
occured to the heart of man..
Then it can be said that the spirit is completely released..
As for the spirit while one earth, the utmost thing it can attain
is to be released from the domination of sin, material and flesh..
In this case it can live freely "..delivered ,from the bondage of

corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God."
(Rom. 8:21).
Do you feel that your spirit has attained this liberty?
This liberty is the release of the spirit - its release from any
bandage which may hinder its way to God.. But how can this be
At this point I shall leave you with the meditations which I
wrote most of in the early fifties before starting my monastic


I confess before You, O Lord, that I ought to have changed
my trend of writing. I confess-in shame-that I often talked to
people about virtue but little did I talk to them about You,
though You are all in all...
However, to be able to talk about You, I have to know
You.. But how can I attain to this knowledge, being a limited
man, and You the unlimited God! And further how can I know
You, while You are incomprehensible and inconceivable; You
are the light that cannot be approached and no human being can
see You and remain alive!..
I tried to ask about You from Your holy people who knew
You well or partly. just as St. Paul the Apostle who ascended
to the third heaven but he said that he, ".. heard inexpressible
words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter"
(2 Cor. 12:4).
St. John the Beloved also saw an open door in heaven and
saw the throne of God but he described the revelation just in
symbols which did not give the full real picture...

* This article is a preface to the fourth edition

Sometimes I ask myself, 'Is it a kind of pride that I try to know
You though I know not my own self and I ignore many human
and material matters? Since I do not know my real self, how
can I know the Creator of this self?
I still do not know Your heavens and Your angels, how can I
know Your Godhead then?
I only know what You reveal to us.. and You only reveal
what we can endure. If You do reveal to us more, our human
nature will be struck with astonishment, and our minds will be
unable to understand. No terms will be sufficient to express
what is revealed and we have to confess that whatever we see
cannot be put into words..
In my attempt to know You, I try to go beyond books with
whatever deep knowledge they contain, and even beyond
mental knowledge. This allows the spirit-being released-to have
a wider scope which surpasses the limits of the mind...
However, the human spirit is limited.. in its capacities, in its
talents and in its knowledge.. Besides, it suffers much due to the
thickness of the human material body..
O Lord, how would I know You then in the eternal kingdom!
"Face to face" as St. Paul says! I stand bewildered before these
In Your kingdom, in spite of the glorious resurrection and
the spiritual enlightened bodies, we will certainly remain as we
are - limited human beings.

There, You will reveal to us something more about Your
Godhead which we know not while we are in this present
world, and so we shall rejoice and become happy. Then, You
will reveal to us more and more, gradually, as far as we can
endure. Perhaps if You reveal much more, our souls would cry
out-in deep love- 'that is enough `You will make our hearts and
souls greater and wider so as they can take more of You into
them... While You remain, O Lord, as You are... unlimited... we
remain as we are, limited and knowing little about You .
Along the times which have no end in eternity, we shall
enjoy knowing You, we shall taste and see how good You are.
We shall know more about You every now and then and so we
shall be nourished with this pleasant satisfying knowledge but
never shall we comprehend You.
Then, when shall we know You the true knowledge?
Our Lord Jesus Christ says, "And this is eternal life, that
they may know You, the only true God... "
(John. 17:3).
Thus, to know You is not a matter which needs years and
days but it will take the whole eternal life which has no end.
If this is the case concerning eternity, what can we say about
our ignorance while we are on earth? Do we really have any
knowledge ?
So, I entreat You, Great Creator, to forgive me because I
talk to people about virtue more than I tell them about You..
This is due to two reasons:

- The first is that I haven't the knowledge or capacity - all
that I know is that I pray to You in order to reveal to me some-
thing about You. Whatever You reveal to me I disclose to
people so that they may taste the kingdom of Heavens while
being on earth.
- The second reason is that when I talk to them about
virtue, I want them to prepare their hearts to know You.. I want
them to raise incense every day and night on the altar of their
hearts to be ready for the Holy Offering.
We cannot know by ourselves.. but we want-through Your
grace- to prepare ourselves to know You.. This knowledge
comes from You.. through what You reveal to us, not through
any mental or even spiritual effort on our behalf. Any striving
of our minds and souls, though necessary, is just a kind of
prayer or supplication. Such striving is a means through which
the cloud may fill the House, and the fire burn in the bush and
so God may reveal Himself and every heart would give worship
in awe and sing thankfully saying `You gave me the gift of
knowing You'
This divine knowledge is the precious pearl which made the
merchant sell all that he had to buy it.
Such things which the merchant sold represent the various
human branches of knowledge which take up all our time and
give us no chance to know You. They hinder us from sitting at
Your feet with Mary (the sister of Martha and Lazarus) to
receive the living water which You pour in our hearts and which
whoever drinks of, will never thirst.

I wish that we would seek such knowledge, with all our
hearts. Then we shall find it within us, deep in our hearts,
where You dwell and where Your holy temple lies that which
You consecrated with the Holy Chrism .
25 December 1973 - 16 Kihak 1690


The release from bonds
It was seven O'clock in the evening, and
silence {surrounded} every-thing when
my father monk and I be-gan to set our
feet on the sand of the desert. We
walked from time to time contemplating
on matters beyond human utterance. A
long time passed without our being
aware until we stopped at the gate of
the monastery to discuss together.
Impressions and bonds:
I do not mean by the 'release of the spirit from the body'
what Simeon the Elder meant when he said: "Lord, now You are
letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word.."
.. What I mean is the release of the spirit while still in the
body; its release from any bonds encompassing it.
Only then,
one can experience complete peace and live the free life of
God's children.
Do you know, dear brother, that a child, after being
baptised, has his spirit free, in the original condition in which it

was created..? Do you know what happens to it afterwards?
The world, the customs and the environment implant in it many
impressions. Many bonds bind it and hinder its movement
towards God to be united with Him and abide in Him. What
God's children seek is to be freed from all this.. to have their
souls released from the bonds of the world and the environment
and from the bonds of the senses and human wisdom...
At this point the father monk said: 'Perhaps some think of
the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, "unless you are converted
and become as little children, you will by no means enter the
kingdom of heaven."
(Matt. 18:3). that they mean, "Unless you
become as young as children.." No , He wanted to say, "Unless
you become as great in spirit as children, you will not enter the
kingdom of heaven.'
The bonds of the senses:
St. Macarius the Great once met a monk who was fought
with self-righteousness, he thought he had overcome adultery,
love for money and anger.. St. Macarius began to ask him about
his feelings on seeing a woman.. The monk replied that he
would discern that she was a woman but would fly away lest he
should feel lust.. St. Macarius asked him again what his feeling
would be when he saw some money in the desert.. The monk
said he would be able to distinguish money from stones but he
would abstain from the love of money.. The saint asked him a
third time how he would feel if someone insulted him.. The
monk replied that he would feel that he was insulted but would
not let anger remain within his heart. Here, St. Macarius told

the monk that he was still frail and needed to strive more and
the saint began to teach him..
The bonds of the senses, dear reader, make a person
discriminate between a man and a woman
, between an old
woman and a young girl, and between a beautiful girl and an
ugly one..
Such bonds also make one discriminate between money and
What about praise and insult then?
Once a monk asked St. Macarius for advice.. St.Macarius
ordered him to go and praise the dead. He did so but no one
replied to him. The saint then ordered him to go and insult
them, but when he did no one replied either.
Then St. Macarius said to that monk, 'You also must be like
the dead since you have died to the world.. You must not be
affected by anything whether this be praise or insult'
Once a rich man brought some money to the monastery in
order to be distributed among the monks.. the abbot wanted to
teach that person a practical lesson, so he put the money aside
and rang the bell. When the monks gathered the abbot asked
them to take their need of the money as an expression of their
love for the rich man. But the monks looked at the gold as if
looking to stones and took nothing of it in spite of it. Their
behaviour had so great effect on that person that he asked to be
a monk..

The world and the flesh, dear brother, have many
impressions on our senses. This makes us look upon the
worldly and material things as being more beautiful and
attractive than they really are and as having a deeper effect.
However, when the spirit is elevated and released partly-from
the bonds which hinder its way, the senses will be elevated
accordingly . In other words , they will be released from the
worldly feelings and you will have a new spiritual understanding
of matters.
You can feel this if you were away from your family for a
long time, and on you return they embraced you in excessive
love and longing.. You felt overwhelmed by their love, but
would you, amidst this love, feel that the person who embraced
you whether your father or mother, your sister or brother was a
man or a woman!
The same is the case of the person who rescues others in
fires or drowning accidents. If such a person felt that whomever
he was rescuing was a man or a woman, a girl or a boy, he
would expose himself and that person would be in danger of
I think this demonstrates that the spirit is superior to
the senses
. There are even times when the senses are partly or
completely suppressed because the spirit is engaged in things
which are greater.
So in your spiritual life, you have to get rid of the bonds of
the senses . Then you will have a different view of things, you
will not be overcome with lust: whether the lust of the flesh, the

eyes, the lust for money or women or the pride of life. You will
be like the angels of God in heaven, and see everything as good
as the Lord Jesus Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount, "If
therefore you eye is good, your whole body will be full of light"
(Matt. 6:22).
These were not the only thoughts which my father monk and
I discussed, for we talked about things more profound. We
discussed the attitude of the senses `when one tries to
understand and meditate on theological matters. The senses are
physical and limited and thereupon are not able to approach
God Who is unlimited . The senses are also fallible and often
mistake between what is wrong and what is right.
Even the apostles were mistaken when they returned to the
Lord joyfully saying, "Lord even the demons are subject to us
in Your name", the Lord replied to them, "Nevertheless do not
rejoice in this."
(Luke 10:1 7,20).
Likewise, the murderer who kills for revenge or honour,
feels content as if he has done a great deed. It is a wrong
feeling certainly.
You also, my beloved brother, may have various feelings
during your prayers, fasts, seclusions and meditations. Examine
them well for they may be unsound human feelings . Try to free
your spirit from the bonds of the senses.
Another point which I like to draw to your attention is
that when one is completely involved in meditating on
theological matters, one becomes unaware of the world and
of the things around them.
For example Hanna was in the

temple praying in bitterness from her soul before the Lord . She
was not aware of anything around her. Eli the priest thought
she was drunk and reproached her saying, "How long will you
be drunk? Put your wine away from you!"
(1 Sam.13,14).
If you are completely involved in your prayers and
meditations, you will not be aware at all of anything that may
take place around you. There may be some people talking near
you or there may be some noise or various scenes but you will
not be aware of anything because you are absorbed in spiritual
matters. Your senses are partly passive and it is your spirit
which acts. I think some consider that the spirit in this case is
caught up! I remember an example of this - St. John the Short
who used to spend long times in meditations during which
people talked to him but he never heard their voice or knew
what they were saying. Some tried to repeat what the they said
but he only exclaimed what the thing they wanted was and the
more they repeated their words, the less he heard . "the reason
is that his spirit at times was involved in other matters which
were more important, far deeper and nearer to the hearing and
the memory. Sometimes people asked him certain questions but
the saint used to reply to them with theological meditations
which had no relation whatever with what they asked. In fact,
he did not hear what they were saying, because his spirit was
released from the senses..

The release of the spirit from the human wisdom:
Now, I wish that the spirit would be released from the
human wisdom as well! because, "Has not God made foolish
the wisdom of this world?"
(I Cor. 1:20), and again, "The Lord
knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile."
(1 Cor. 3:20). The Holy Bible tells us also, ".. the wisdom of
this world is foolishness with God. For it is written 'He catches
the wise in their craftiness'. "
(1 Cor. 3:19).
The human mind-since the beginning- is defective and
limited. The mind was better in the beginning when God created
it, for God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was
very good. The human mind-after its creation- was subject to
sin and to the world with its ideas, researches, experiences,
customs, traditions, systems and formalities which had an
impression on the mind . This made the mind liable to issue
wrong judgements and made it unable to comprehend or
approach God on its own. Those who think themselves wise
and intelligent and trust in their own wisdom and intellect are
the farthest from spiritual and theological matters. Therefore
St. Paul the Apostle said,: "And my speech and my preaching
were not with persuasive words of human wisdom but in
demonstration of the Spirit and of power...",
"... we also speak,
not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy
Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual"
(1 Cor. 2:4,13).
Have you now seen , my beloved brother, how vain human
wisdom is... ! Would God then abolish wisdom in general? No,
but He supports it.. Listen to what St. Paul the Apostle says in
the same epistle, "However, we speak wisdom among those who

are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of
this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom
of God in a mystery".
(1Cor. 2: 6,7).
So, if you want to learn God's intentions, release your
spirit first from the human wisdom. Stand before God as
ignorant and lacking every knowledge and understanding
Only then, you will be filled with knowledge.. that knowledge
which is spiritual and perfect not human and deficient, "For the
Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God."
(1 Cor.
2:10). St. Paul certainly meant this when he said, "If anyone
among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool
that he may become wise."
(1 Cor. 3:18).
Once, a man with a withered hand came to the Lord Jesus
Christ asking Him to be healed. The Lord ordered him to
stretch out his hand and the man stretched it out and it was
restored as whole as the other (Matt. 12:10,13). This miracle
demonstrates the power of the Lord but likewise it shows how
the human wisdom must vanish. If that man had given a chance
to the human wisdom to interfere he would have argued 'How
can I stretch out my hand though it is withered? Is it possible
that a withered hand be stretched out? And if I can stretch it
out, why do I need to be healed? May You heal it first so that I
may be able to stretch it out?' This would have been the case,
but that man made himself a fool that he might become well.
He ignored human wisdom that says a withered hand cannot be
stretched out. It is the same wisdom which does not believe
that a mountain can be removed from its place as that a person
can walk over the water or that one must not be concerned
about tomorrow...

Human wisdom even made people examine God , His
attributes and doctrines as if with a microscope! It also made
some people accept only what conforms with their views
regarding the Bible and the Church laws and refuse whatever
their intellect does not approve of ...
On the other hand, God's children accept everything simply
without any objections.. They say: 'O Lord, do You want us to
walk through the Red Sea? Well then, we shall walk because
certainly You will prepare for us a road across it so that we
may not be drowned..'
There is a legend which says that the waters of the Red Sea
were not divided when Moses stretched out his hand with the
rod over the sea but only when the first person put his feet in
the waters.. It is just a legend but it has a sublime spiritual


Spirituality in the desert or on the
mount differs in its manner from
spirituality in the city.
One of the most troublesome bonds for
a worshipper in the city is being
enclosed within four walls.
I have experienced this myself when I was-some years ago-
on a camp in a desert spot called Almaza, a few miles from
Heliopolis. I used to go up a hill in that desert with one of my
brethren in the Sunday Schools for prayer and meditation.
From that spot, within the range of vision on the horizon,
appeared Heliopolis, that splendid suburb with its buildings,
streets, road construction and the inhabitants as a tiny
insignificant thing . Only lights were visible from that altitude .
We felt that our souls were set free from the limits of length,
width and height, from splendour and magnificence, and from
exaltation and elegance.. A splendid palace seemed to us the
same as a small house, for nothing appeared as it was. We felt
spiritual happiness and pleasure in sitting on the sand on that
high hill, a happiness which we never felt in the city.

When we returned to Cairo on a holiday, I tell you truly, my
beloved brother, I was disturbed by this noisy capital (Cairo). I
walked in the streets feeling an out-bursting volcano in my head
caused by the clamour of people and the noise of cars, trams
and various means of transport. I recognised amidst this noise
that I would not be able to think in an orderly, systematic and
uninterrupted way as I did while on that high hill..
When I closed the door of my room and stood to pray, I was
unable. The four walls of the room seemed a strong barrier
which prevented me from enjoying God. So, I did not pray but
I came out of my room and walked very far away trying to find
a quiet high spot where no buildings existed and where few
inhabitants and little civilisation was found. After nearly an
hour, I found a place which had a little of my requirement. I
returned home depressed and longing for my high hill again..
The months of the camp ended and we returned to the city
where I was forced to get used to pray within the four walls.
Yet the memories of the high hill remained in my mind till
now... To make up partly for this, I used to go up with my
young friends after the Sunday lesson to the roof of the church
to have a look on Cairo. We saw it from there also, in the
darkness of the evening, nothing could be seen except the
shadows of buildings with their white spots of light.
Your spirit, my beloved brother, wants to be set free, to
fly like a bird which flies from one branch to another
. It
wants to be like the angels who are always singing praise to
God without any bonds or restrictions. If you cannot attain this
constantly, at least let this be on certain occasions...

This makes me imagine that meditation can be reached more
easily and deeply by sailors, farmers and inhabitants of the
mountains and deserts. I imagine also that we shall have the
same ability when we get rid of the bonds of the body and go
high into heaven where God, the angels and the saints are.
I discussed this matter with my father the monk and he
revealed to me another spiritual, experience.. He told me how,
at the beginning of his monastic life, he was secluded in his cell
for twenty eight days encompassed within four walls seeing no
one and dealing with no one. He spent that period in hard
struggle between himself and God. It was really a hard time in
which his soul was sifted but at last the spirit was able to come
out- free from its numerous bonds and get to God.
Thereafter, the monk came out of his cell feeling that it was
the same to him, to be encompassed within walls or to be free
out of walls...
At this point, I reveal to you a deeper and more sublime
level of spirituality
.. The first level was feeling bored within
the four walls.. but the next level is to be unaware of the four
.. In this case you sit in your room so absorbed in your
prayers, meditations or readings that you are no longer aware of
anything around you. You live in another world beyond the
senses. So, you do not know whether you are in your room or
in an open space in the monastery and whether your cell has
walls or not. You do not even know whether heaven has come
down to you on earth or you went up to heaven while still on

Let me whisper in your ears, my beloved brother, that there
were certain persons who could not realise whether they were
in the body or out of the body such as St. Paul the Apostle
(2 Cor.12:2), Saint John of Assiout and the spiritual old father..
The topic of the release of the spirit from the bounds of
place, leads me to meditate on another subject which is ,the
We have heard about the revelations experienced by St. John
the Beloved and St. Paul the Apostle. The time is lacking to
mention what was experienced by St. Anthony, St. Shenouda
and the other saints who left their places and experienced living
environments where they saw things which cannot be described
or expressed in words
Here I remember a story told to me by one of our beloved
brothers about a priest who was full of the spirit. When that
priest was praying the holy Mass, he came to the words ".. he
lifted his eyes up..." and he also lifted his eyes, and here... a
deep silence prevailed in the church... Minutes passed while the
holy priest was looking up in silence, astonishment and
distraction. A long time passed and the congregation was silent
looking at their priest attentively. Then the priest lowered his
eyes and went on with his prayers deeply and fervently not
aware of the pause which passed. When one of his followers
told him after he finished prayers- of what had happened and
required him to explain the matter, he was confused and refused
to reply. But pressing on him, the priest said that when he
looked up, he saw the church as if with no dome or ceiling and
there was a long ladder between the altar and heaven. He

looked at it for just a second or more (as it seemed to him) and
then went on with his prayers...
I wonder how some think of monasticism as a Way for
ministry while I see it only as a way to heaven. In monasticism
seclusion, contemplations, and continuous striving help the
spirit to be released and united with God.
My beloved brother, I think there is still much to be said in
this respect..


This time I was not walking in the
desert or sitting at the door of the
monastery, I was with my father the
monk in front of his cell in the mount to
continue our previous talk concern-ing
He who is greater than heaven and

My beloved brother, a spirit which desires to be released,
knows well its own worth. It knows how magnificently great it
is and how much greater it is than to be humiliated by the flesh,
the environment or by the devils.
God's beloved, to have an idea about this matter, we have to
examine it together. We have to also remember the past, the
present and the future in order to recognize what a hidden
power we have which we are not aware of. We have to
remember that man is the only being created in God's image and
likeness (Gen. 1:27). So when you are asked to introduce
yourself, say, firmly and confidently, 'I am the image of God'.
Being the image of God, you are immortal and not liable to
perish at all. For is it possible that a person created after the
likeness of God, the Immortal, would perish?!

See then how great you are than the high mountain, the great
sea, the blazing sun and the shining moon. You are greater than
the wide desert and the spacious plain, and even greater than
the atom which destroys and all the power of nature. All these
things pass away as the Holy Bible says, "Heaven and earth will
pass away.. ",
but you will not, for the Lord Jesus Christ
promised you an eternal life (John. 4:14) You, the image of
E You are the king (ruler) of the earth and all that is
in it:

You, my great brother, are the only divine creature who, of
all the earth and what is beneath or on it, are given by God the
gift of intellect and utterance given to angels. You are the
creature who is given the ability to know God and worship Him
and whom God is pleased with... The nature which you
sometimes think greater than you, is only made by God to serve
you. You can subjugate everything in it according to your will
and your power..
Therefore God first created everything then last of all He
created you to dominate over all the other creation...' to
dominate over the fowl of the air, the fish of the sea and over
the cattle and all that is on the earth '(Gen. 1:26,28). Do you
see how you ought to rule over everything though you think
yourself weak and fear the hawk, the whale, the lion and other
beasts which are in fact your weak servants that served you

Do not think that you had this before the first sin only, for the
righteous in every age has this dignity and authority. Let us
examine some examples from the Old Testament: Samson
tore apart the lion with his hand and killed it; Daniel was in the
lions' den and they did him no harm; Jonah was swallowed by
the fish but it vomited him without daring to injure him, and the
three lads were in the fire furnace but the fire became for them
cold and peaceful. The same can be found in the New
Testament: St. Mark
and his lion is one example. Another
example is St. Paul who the viper came out because of the heat
and fastened on his hand, but he shook it off into the fire and
felt no harm; so the people were amazed and said he was a god
(Acts 28:3-7). You also are given the power to trod the
serpents and the scorpions and every power of the enemy * *.
Oh, my beloved brother, would you know the value of your
soul which you imprison because of your sin in a prison of
humility, cowardice and fear! It peeps from behind the bars of
your prison looking for its past glory and wishing to be set free
if you do allow it.
You are the divine creature:
You, Valiant, are a divine creature whom God the Son
addressed saying, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch
cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine."
(John. 15:4). You, at whose door God knocks wishing you to
open for Him so He may enter and dine with you and you with
Him and makes His home with you. (Rev 3,20; John. 14:23).

* The Prayer of Thanksgiving

You are the image of God and you have His attributes.. See
how the Lord Jesus Christ - glory be to Him - says about
Himself "I am the light of the world" then says to you and your
brethren, "You are the light of the world"
(Matt. 5:14).
You are required to strive to be like God for the Lord of
glory says: "Therefore you shall be perfect just as your Father
in heaven is perfect."
(Matt. 5:48). You are the person whom
God is delighted to call His son, though He did not will to call
the angels or archangels His sons. He called you alone, you, the
divine creature.
You are the person whom the Lord poured water and
washed his feet and wiped them with the towel with which He
was girded.
The members of your body are the members of Christ as the
apostle says in (1 Cor. 6:15).
You alone are the temple of God and the Spirit of God
dwells in you (1 Cor. 3:16).
You, whom the angels desire to be like.. and who alone
partake of the holy flesh and blood of the Lord.. whom the Lord
wished to be one with Him and with the Father (John. 17:21).
You are whom the angels minister to:
"The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear
Him and delivers them"
(Ps. 34:7).

Did you not see, my beloved brother, how the Lord sent two
angels to save Lot from Sodom! How He sent His angel and
closed the mouths of the lions for Daniel! How Elisha was
aware of that and said to his servant, "Do not fear, for those
who are with us are more than those who are with them... And
Elisha prayed... Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young
man and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses
and chariots of fire."
(2 Kin 6: 15-17). How also the angel of
the Lord brought food to Elijah while he was sleeping under a
broom tree, so he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the
strength of that food forty days and forty nights.
(1 Kin 19:5-9). And how the angel of the Lord carried
Hebbekuk to give food to Daniel in the den (Dan 14:35-38).
The time is lacking to tell you, the Lord's beloved, about the
ministry of the angels to you and your brethren, their concern
about you and their intercession for you. Truly, you are an
important creature...
E You Who Are Called A god:
You, my beloved brother, are the person who is called a god by
God and people.. " I said, 'You are gods, and all of you are
children of the Most High"'
(Ps. 82:7). God had also said to
Moses, 'I have made you as god to Pharaoh" (Ex. 7:1). What
is meant here is not divinity but domination..
Whatever the meaning is of these two verses, they certainly
show your greatness in the sight of God..

You Have The Power To Bind And Loose In
If you are reasonably exalted because the Lord Jesus Christ
ascended to the Father to prepare for you a place in heaven and
will come again to take you , "Come, you blessed of My Father,
inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of
the world"
(Matt. 25:34), would you not rather be exalted
because He gives you the keys of the Kingdom! For the Lord
said, "Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and
whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven"
(Matt. 18:18). Moreover, He gives you the authority to forgive
or not * *.
All this is given to you, who are in the image and likeness of
God and whose form the Lord took when He came in a flesh
like yours . Though His divine nature never departed His human
nature even for a second or a twinkle of the eye.
You Are God's Friend:
Remember how God - in His supreme wisdom - before
destroying Sodom, revealed His will to His friend Abraham,
"Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, since Abraham
shall surely become a great and mighty nation and all the
nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? "
(Gen 18:17,18).

* This authority of course is given to the priests. But the priest is a man
and this article speaks about man as a human being whatever his role may
be and whatever generation he may belong to.

He even let Abraham argue the matter with Him blaming Him
with familiarity and liberty saying, -"Would You also destroy the
righteous with the wicked?... Far be it from You to do such a
thing as this... far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the
earth do right?"
(Gen. 18:23-26).
It is indeed familiarity and not mere words from a servant to
his master or from a creature to the Creator.. They are words of
a person who is sure of his worth in the sight of his friend..
Moses also did the same thing while talking with God
concerning his people because God wanted to destroy them, he
said: "Yet now, if You will forgive their sin-but if not I pray,
blot me out of Your book which You have written "
32:33)... Certainly, this is familiarity and friendship!!
Now, brother, have you recognized the value of your soul
and its greatness in the eyes of God? Would you let a deceitful
devil play with your dignity though God has' given you the
power over all the devils? I do not think you do..


He was fast asleep when the angel whispered in his ears, 'Till
when will you live thus, a mere shadow of another person who
dominates own you as he wills?' The voice was lenient and
sincere, so the sleeping person was not disturbed by it but
replied calmly, 'What do you mean, my master the angel?' The
angel replied, 'I mean that you have lost your personality with
regard to your thoughts and your spiritual life.. and now you
have the personality of another person. That person exalted
himself and became exalted in your eyes to the extent that you
took him for an example. You began to follow his steps in
everything; if he is elevated, you are elevated also and if he falls,
you fall with him. You adopt his views and follow his
deviations. Moreover, you defend his views more than he
himself . You take his principles as incontestable; suffice you
that the person whom you worship has uttered them once.'
The person who was sleeping felt that all the words said by
the angel were true but he tried to justify himself and said: 'Is
there any harm, my master the angel, if I follow him as long as
his views are sound and faultless?' The angel answered him,
'How do you know that all his views are sound? Do you think
that your master is infallible? Is it not possible to find that he is
at fault, being a human being? And if he is wrong, how would

you know since you listen only to his views and accept nothing
else? You even refuse to listen to any person who may oppose
the ideas of this (master); and if you do listen, it is with the
spirit of argument. You try to criticise and refute any idea
without understanding it just because it contradicts your
master's views!!'
Here, the sleeping person rubbed his eyes bashfully to realise
whether he was awake or asleep while the angel went on, 'Your
spirit is imprisoned; it wants to be set free but is not able to
because it is tied up with the fetters of that person... He gives
you only the knowledge he wants you to learn and reveals to
you whatever facts he wants. Even your own knowledge which
you acquire from other sources must be reviewed by him.. You
have completely lost your personality and behave no more by
yourself. Whenever you face a problem, you seek his help; and
whenever anything befalls you, you do not try to find a solution
for it but wait till your master comes and solves it. Even if you
take a decision concerning such a matter, he may cancel your
decision in any way and whenever he wants without any
objection on your side. The utmost thing you can attain in your
life is to be a faded image of that person. You have lost the
personality which God gave you when He created you.. and at
the same time you cannot adopt his personality fully because the
spiritual, mental and social circumstances which formed your
personality differ from those which formed his. I imagine you
rocking unsteadily between both ways.'
The sleeping person listened to all this speech feeling that it
had touched his heart. He even felt within himself that he had
become weary of the authority of that (master).

This gave him the courage to ask the angel to find him a
solution; he said, 'Oh my master the angel, how dare I argue
with my master?' The angel replied, 'I tell you, though the case
is different, that God likes His children to be of strong
personality and He even allows them to discuss with Him.
Remember how Jeremiah addressed God saying, "Righteous are
You, O Lord, when I plead with You; yet let me talk with You
about Your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked
prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously?
(Jer. 12:1)... Listen also to Abraham arguing with God - glory
be to His name-says, "Far be it from You to do such a thing as
this... Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
(Gen.18:25). Moses also spoke to his creator in the same
manner; he said, "Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from
this harm to Your people.."
(Ex. 32:12).
Here, the sleeping person asked the angel, 'Now, my master
the angel, what do you want me to do? 'The angel replied, 'Do
not be under the control of a certain person. Listen to many,
and read the writings of many, consider whatever views you
want but have a discerning spirit which can distinguish between
a sound opinion and a wrong one. Adopt only what conforms
with your spiritual and mental nature, and what fits your social
and practical circumstances and your age also. Know that there
are various paths that lead to God but perhaps the path which
fits the others does not fit you in particular.. Yours is the path
which the Lord has chosen for You - in particular - not any
other path.'

At this point the sleeping person got up of his sleep to find
himself a new person having his spirit released and set free from
any bonds, seeking truth wherever it is and giving no worship to
a human being..

My Beloved Brother, Do You Want To Be Perfect?
Do you want your soul to be released into a place where
there are no bonds nor restrictions? Then, first of all, you have
to rid yourself of everything, of every desire, knowledge and
feeling which the world may have implanted within you.
You have to first deny yourself, and to stand before God as
nothing.. know your real self.. Who are you? Are you not a
mere handful of the dust of the earth..? You are even less than
the dust.. You are nothing
.. There was time when you were
not.. while the world existed.. without you.. Then God made
you out of nothing'. First He created the dust.. then He made
you of the dust. Why then do you exalt yourself Who are you
to be exalted? Lower your head in bashfulness and humility, for
you are nothing.. Stand before God broken - hearted and
humiliated in spirit and remember your origin..
Now, have you recognised that you are nothing? I tell you
furthermore that you are less than nothing, for nothingness is
non-existence.. and non existence is better than the sin
committed by man because, "... every intent of the thoughts of
his heart was only evil continually"
(Gen. 6:5).

If you find something good in you, be certainly sure that it
is not due to you, but to God because He alone is ultimately
good, perfect and holy as the Lord says: "No one is good but
One, that is, God."
(Matt. 19:1 7).
If you find something good in you, do not be puffed up and
do not boast. Do not fight yourself with self righteousness but
attribute every glory to God. It is His due not yours, for good
is made by Him as He is the benevolent and creator of all good.
He is even good itself, and goodness.. Without Him you are
nothing, you can do nothing. So, do not rob God's glory and
ascribe it to yourself. You may shine like the moon and your
light increases till you become a full moon, but, in all this
remember that the moon is a dark satellite which derives its
light from the sun and has no light in itself. If the sun
disappears, the moon will not appear because it is dark by its
nature.. Now, would the moon dare speak of its light before the
sun! It is the same with you, my beloved, in the presence of
On the other hand, if you find something evil within
know that it is from you, because of the sin which was
lying at the door having desire for you.. It was in your power to
rule over it but you let it rule over you (Gen. 4:7) Nothing evil
comes from God. God's nature does not conform with evil as
we see when He made everything with His holy spotless and
undefiled hands, "God saw everything that He had made, and
indeed it was very good"
(Gen. 1:31).
Now, did you know yourself, my beloved brother? Did you
recognise that self-denial must be the rule that governs your

relation with God? I do not mean that your self is something
that is not worthily and so you ought to deny it out of
humbleness!.. for we have seen that your self is nothing, ruin..
So, I do not like to use the words "be humbled" because a
humble person is that who comes down from his place to a
lower and less elevated position. But a person of no worth like
me and you, mere dust and nothingness, cannot be humbled
because he actually has no position to refuse nor dignity to
forsake.. He is not elevated so that he may be put down nor
eminent that he may be humbled. All that I mean by self-denial,
my beloved brother is to know your self and thus you can
realise that you have no worth whatever.. It is God who gives
you, out of His loving kindness .If you love Him, some of His
glory is given, a thing which you do not deserve but for His
mercy, His humbleness and condescension.
Let us contemplate on the beautiful verse which says: "God
has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the
wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put
to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of
the world, and the things which are despised God has chosen,
and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that
are.. "
(1 Cor. 1:27-29).
What does this mean? Does the kingdom of God fit only the
foolish, the weak and the despised? No, for God had chosen
before some learned men such as Moses the Prophet, St. Paul
the Apostle & Arsanius.. He chose also some holy men who
were philosophers like Athenagoras, Pentinus, and St.
Augustine. God chose some of the Valiant such as Samson and
St. Moses the powerful; He chose also some dignified persons
like David the King and the princes Maximus and Domadius..

How Can Both Matters Come Together?
What is meant is not that God chooses only the foolish, the
weak and the despised but perhaps that God-blessed be His
name-chooses such persons who, though they attain great
knowledge, power or honour, stand before Him as if ignorant,
weak and despised..
Here is Moses, who was learned in all the wisdom of the
Egyptians, was not sent by God when he was selfconfident,
depending on his human power. But God called him only when
he said, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and that I
should bring the children of Israel our of Egypt?... I am not
eloquent, neither before, nor since you have spoken to Your
servant; but I am slow of speech, and slow of tongue."
(Ex. 3:11,4:10).
St. Paul also who studied the law and was brought up at
the feet of Gamaliel, was not sent by God except when he could
say, 'For it is written I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and
bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is
the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this
age? has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?... I
was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling and
my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of
human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of
power. "
(1 Cor. 1:19,2:3,4).

St. Arsanius was not made by God a father and a guide
when he was teaching the princes Arcadius and Onorius in the
palace of their father Theodosius the Emperor, but only when
his soul was purified and could say, 'Arsanius the teacher of the
Kings' sons, who studied the wisdom of the Greek and the
Romans,' does not know the Alpha Veta (alphabet) which, an
illiterate Egyptian knows'
Do you think, my brother who worship God, that you will
lay a foundation in the church with your knowledge and culture!
Oh you are poor! Truly I say to you that if you are not freed
from dependence on your own knowledge, you will not
approach God. God will not also bless your ministry because if
you do succeed in your ministry, people will ascribe this success
to what the world granted you of certificates and scientific
degrees.. Thus God's glory would be robbed and given to the
My dear learned brother, God is able in this twentieth
century to go again to the lake and call an uneducated fisherman
to be an apostle and evangelist and this person will teach people
better than you do. When God divided the Red Sea, He did not
choose a rod of gold but just a plain rod which resembled
millions of rods in the world.
So, be aware not to think of yourself highly or boast because
of a worldly or a religious knowledge, or because of your
spiritual readings or past experience.. But in spite of your
increased knowledge and deep spirituality, stand before God
everyday feeling your ignorance and deficiency and feeling that
you need Him to guide you, as a beginner even though you are
old. Stand before Him feeling that you urgently need Him to

protect you against the weakest devils and against the sins and
transgressions which you consider the simplest or the slightest..
Let this be your feeling, for I have seen many people who
read and write about deep spiritual matters but fall in the sins of
the beginners... I tell you this fearing that out of confidence of
your spiritual knowledge and experience, you would depend on
your human power (arm) while the Holy Bible says, "Cursed is
the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength"
(Jer. 1 7:5).
Know, my beloved brother, that any spiritual or worldly
knowledge that does not lead you to humiliation and to the
feeling that you are ignorant, is a false deceitful knowledge
It is a blow from the devil to make you turn from asking,
requiring and knocking at the door... Feel then, my brother, that
you are ignorant as the Holy Bible says, "If anyone among you
seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may
become wise"
(1 Cor. 3:18).
Before God, the wise and the fool are equal because both
are ignorant and both are subject to the same death, and the
same breath of air blows upon both of them.. Before God, the
weak and the strong are equal also because both are weak for
no one has any power in the presence of God.
Do you think, my friend, that you are powerful?
From where did you get this power? It is not yours of
course because you are dust and ashes, you are nothing and
ruin. This power is not also from another being other than God
because He - blessed be His name - is alone the powerful and

every power is derived from Him. Is your power then from
God? If so, why do you boast and swagger? Why do you use
God's power in works not relating to Him? So, he that glories,
let him glory in the Lord because He - the highest in glory - is
the source of every thing that deserves boasting..
But if you are powerful through God though weak by
nature, then say along with the blessed St. Paul, "Therefore
most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power
of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in
infirmities... for when I am weak, then am I strong."
(2 Cor.
12:9,1 0).
A person who thinks of himself strong will not be called by
God because God has chosen the weak things of the world to
put to shame the things which are mighty.. So, be careful not to
trust the power you claim to have because sin, ".. has cost down
many wounded, and all who were slain by her are strong men".
(Prov. 7:26). Rather say with David the Righteous, "Have
mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my
bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled"
(Ps. 6:2).
Be sure then, my brother, that you are weak.. not because I told
you so, but because it is a clear fact. Did you not fall into sin
Did you not sin yesterday and the days before? Then, you
are not strong.. you are weak and a model of weakness.. you
will remain so until you confess that you are weak and hasten to
abide in the Father and the Father in you.
Let me whisper to you another piece of advice: Do not stay
in your seclusion thinking yourself more powerful than the

others and imagining great projects you would have carried out
if only you had been given the authority or had been in the place
of the others.. You are not so powerful, my brother.. These are
only day dreams or perhaps vanity.. for you are in fact weak..
Perhaps if you had been in the place of those sinners whom you
condemn, you would have sinned more than them and showed
more weakness. If you have conquered in the past or conquer
now, it is due to God's presence with you not due to your
power. Keep with God then and know that God will not be
pleased to be with you as long as you worship yourself instead
of Him.
Only one must work: God or you. If you believe that it is
God who works and that you are nothing beside Him but you
only stand to watch in wonder God's works, it is good that you
believe so.. But if you think that it is you who works and that
you have enough power to do this, be sure then, that whatever
you do is in vain and you will fall and fail.
This does not apply only to your ministry and outer activities
but also to your inner spiritual life. Again, if you think that it is
you who strives to inherit the eternal life, you will fail.. and if
you think that a certain sin has no more dominion over you, you
will fall in the same sin even after some time and it will be a
great fall...
The right thing is to feel that you are weak, in a land which
brings forth thorns and thistles; and that you are weak before
every temptation and sin. Say along with the psalmist, "If it had
not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up
against us, then they would have swallowed us alive, when their
wrath was kindled against us."
(Ps. 124: 2,3). Thus you will

cry out to the Lord and see how He will fight on your behalf
and conquer. Then you will give glory to God not to yourself
because the victory is His.
Lastly, I feel that there is much more to be said concerning
this subject, so my beloved brother, remember me, in your
prayers till we meet again and continue our meditations if the
Lord's grace wills that we remain alive till then.


I have previously talked to you about
self-denial but there is still much to be
said in this concern so that we may
attain together the release of spirit..
Dear brother, do you want to get closer to God? Do you
want to say along with the blessed St. Paul, "having a desire to
depart and be with Christ, which is far better."
(Phil. 1:23).
Then be released First of your self, that self which you
worship instead of God and which you try always to glorify
and exalt before others.,

Does the world glorify you, my beloved brother? And do
you accept this? How wretched you are!.. Do you not know
that glory is due to God alone
because He is the Creator and
the author of all creation? He alone is self-existent, eternal,
powerful and present everywhere... Do you not know that when
you glorify yourself or when you let others glorify you, you rob
one of God's attributes and ascribe it to yourself!! It is the same
temptation in which your father Adam fell, for Adam was not

satisfied with what God bestowed on him but aspired to exalt,
himself and become like God!
Who are you, brother, that you may be glorified? Does the
dust have any glory or the ashes have any honour
? Or does
nothingness have any respect and veneration?! Are you not a
sinner like me! However, God protects you and conceals your
defects from the sight of people... Does this give you, though a
sinner and a weak person, the right to have any glory or
dignity? Why then do you glorify yourself though you are
aware of your nature and of all your sins, defects and weak
Is it because people have not yet found out your lowliness or
known all about your past? They have not yet discovered your
weak points and your faults?.. Why do you deceive them
though you know all this? Why do you deceive yourself for
nothing? Do you thus misuse God's protection and concealment
of your sins?..
Do you want God to reveal your thoughts, your feelings
and your suppressed desires before people..!!

Besides, why do you seek a vain glory which will not
accompany you after death nor avail you on the day of
judgment before the Righteous Judge who judges not according
to the opinion of people.. He needs not to do so because
everything which is hidden is revealed to him and is apparent...
Is the praise of people still dear to you? Then know that it
is false
.. for sometimes they praise you out of courtesy or

flattery or to encourage you or to show tactfulness.. Even if
people are true and faithful, they will judge according to the
outside. None can read your thoughts, know your intentions or
examine your heart...
No doubt, my beloved brother, I bothered you with many
thoughts; now I shall tell you a story. Let it be the story of
Nebuchadnezzar.. (Dan 4:29-33) Do you know how he ascribe
himself vain glory? Do you know what was his end? I wish
that you would take a lesson from this story...
Have I annoyed you? Please forgive my weakness and my
harsh talk.. But is it your habit to get annoyed whenever anyone
talks to you frankly without flattering you or addressing you in
a respectful way as the others do? . Why?.. Dear brother, you
rather have to like this style because it reveals to you the truth
about you. And you are in great need to know it for this is
necessary for your salvation..
Now, let us discuss the matter together... why do you want
to appear great before others?
Is this due to inferiority
complex? Do you feel that you are inferior, and in order to
make up for this, you seek the praise of people by every means?
If they praise you, you become pleased, and if they attack you,
you defend yourself hard in order to appear blameless before
them.. Even if they take a middle way neither praising nor
attacking, you do not feel glad either but you try to beg their
praise by telling them about your virtues so that they may
admire and praise you...
Is not this true? If so, let us discuss the matter together further

It is good for you, my brother, to feel that you are not
perfect but a sinner and a weak person the meanest
of all
people.. But, the remedy for all this is not to add a new
weakness which is the love of the praise of people but to
improve yourself and make yourself perfect.
Why are you concerned about the people's opinion
concerning you or about gaining their praise?
Would you
not enter God's Kingdom unless people recommend you? know
then that many of those who are praised by others will be cast
into the lake of fire burning with brimstone as the Holy Bible
says, "Woe to you when all men shall speak well of you."
(Luke 6:26).
The praise of people, my friend, is temporal and passing for
they have no firmness.. Once, they cried out for the Lord Jesus
Christ as king and soon they changed and cried out "crucify
Him, crucify Him". The praise of people is also false because
they do not know the whole truth..
Here is a question which I am interested to know your
answer of: How do you feel when people praise you while
you know your shameful hidden doings?
Do you forget -
while they are praising you-those sins which if they knew about,
they would dismiss you out? Or do you pretend to have
forgotten? Do you consider such sins trouble's which must not
appear at the time of your ecstasy created by the praise of the
others? Then you are only concerned about the outside of the
cup.. You only want to be like the whited sepulchres which

appear beautiful outward but are stinking within! Your only
concern is the earthly life not the life to come.
Be frank, my beloved brother, in revealing your real
feelings to yourself
. First confess before yourself, then pour
yourself before your confessor
weeping bitterly and moaning.
Now, see how you ought to feel when people praise you:
1. Think first that perhaps you are a hypocrite and your
outside differs from your real inside. Say to yourself frankly, 'I
am a sinner and a filthy person.. When I sit before my confessor,
I feel disgraced; when I count my sins I feel humiliated, low and
base and I feel my meanness; and when I stand for prayer I feel
undeserving to lift my eyes unto heavens... Why then do people
praise me! Perhaps I am a hypocrite or a double-faced person
who appears before people in a personality which is different
from the real one! Or am I an actor? Perhaps I am so...'
2. Feel that when people praise you, you receive your due
on earth and lose the reward of heaven
. Thus you lose your
crown for a trifling. When people praise you, you ought to feel
sorry for the crown which you are about to lose.. This holy
sorrow will purify yourself and make your spirit more free..
3. When people praise you, feel that this may be
embezzlement. You rob God's glory and ascribe it to
.. while the Lord Jesus Christ says, ".. that they may see
your good works and glorify your Father in heaven"
5:16). So, if glory is ascribed to you in stead of being ascribed
to the heavenly Father, you are considered as if robbing Him

whether you are aware or not... Therefore, when you pray
saying, "For Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory.."
blame your self which you want to be glorified and to rival
God's power, for the psalm says,
"Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory"
(Ps. 115:1)
4. When people praise you, deny yourself and draw their
attention to God
. Without hypocrisy or pretended humility tell
them that you are a sinner and a weak person and that it is God
who deserves praise for such matters.. Address the same words
to yourself as well and be convinced so that you may not be
puffed with pride again.
5. When you find that a certain story or talk or some news
would lead to your praise, try to change the course of the
talk or at least do not be pleased
but ascribe all honour to
God contentedly.
6. When people praise you, remember the two beautiful
which say, "I do not receive honor from men." ,
"And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself '
(John. 5:41, 17:5). Learn them by heart and repeat them always
within you.
7. When people praise you, remember your sins and let
your conscience blame you
in order that there may be a
balance between your inside and the praise of people.

Lastly, if this is what you ought to do when people praise
you, then it is a matter of course that you will not seek or beg
such praise. We shall return to the same point once again in
another article if the Lord wills that we live.. Pray for me...


My beloved brother, unless you are
released from your 'self which you
worship in place of God, and which you
exalt and elevate in front of people, you
will never attain the eminence of the
release of the spirit...
Perhaps you sometimes like to be praised by people.. and we
have discussed in a previous article what you ought to do when
others praise you.. Now, in this calm meeting I'd like to ask
'What do you feel and how do you behave when others
offend you or mistrust you?'

Perhaps you would think that you are insulted.. and perhaps
you would be much concerned about your dignity and the awe
and respect due to you.. This would make you angry and
furious.. You may avenge or defend yourself.. I do not deny
you this right, for I am in the flesh like you and have
experienced all such feelings or rather have been tempted by
them... But come, let us discuss the matter together..

What benefit does anger avail you?.. It disturbs you, and
destroys your nerves.. Moreover it deprives you of the peace of
heart and of comfort.. Do you not remember the words of St.
James the Apostle,
"For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness
of God. "
(James 1:20).
Getting angry for the sake of your self is no doubt that kind
of anger meant by St. James the Apostle.. I hear you saying that
such anger relieves your sorrow and gives vent to the agitation
suppressed within you! But why do you have such suppressed
agitation which needs to come out? Of course the reason is
obvious which is that you are much concerned about yourself!
Be released, my beloved brother, from this self and you will
have comfort..
If anyone insults you, do not think of yourself being
insulted, but of the person who insulted you
.. He is your
brother.. and you-being a spiritual person full of love ought to
think what can you do for that brother who sinned against you..
Of course, you do not want his precious soul to descend into
hell, or that your insult stand in the way of his salvation..
Therefore you have to ask God not to count that sin on his
behalf or punish him for it.. You have to pray that God may
deliver him of such sin so as not to commit it again against you
or others..
When you think of the brother who insulted you, try to find
out the reason which led him to do so
.. Perhaps he was ill, or
nervous, his mind agitated or his strength exhausted or

overloaded with social, scholastic or financial problems..
Consider what you can do for him.. Perhaps you can arrange
for him a nice journey or a picnic or try to provide him with
some means of amusement or entertainment.. If you find
yourself unable to do anything for him, at least show
compassion for him and ask God to give him special help..
People, my dear brother, are not wicked by nature, because
when God made man, "God saw everything that He had made,
and behold, it was very good
". As for evil, it comes to people
from without; it is alien to them...
There may be other reasons which led that person to insult
you.. He might have misunderstood you.. In such a case you
can argue with him to convince him gently and lovingly..
However, there may be some persons who insult others
merely because they like to do so, depending on their tolerance,
to make of them a subject of their jokes and fun.
Avoid dealing with such persons, or address them, in a severe
and firm but polite way to show them their faults and warn them
against falling in such faults again..
This, you have to do not with purpose to avenge yourself or
to retain a personal dignity but out of love for the person at
fault. This would give him no chance to repeat the fault or fall
again and destroy himself...
There is a great difference between blaming a sinner with a
desire to take vengeance in such a way as to arouse his wrath

against you, and blaming him out of love in a firm but calm way
so that he may feel that you love him...
This concerns your attitude towards the person whom you
feel has insulted you.. but let me go a little deeper into your self
to argue concerning your inner feeling..
1. Why do you consider the words of the others an insult or
an abuse
? Why do you not consider such an insult - as you
take it to be - a plain word useful to reform yourself
If you get annoyed due to this, that is because you like to be
praised and want all people to speak well of you.. You ought to
rejoice, my brother, when people criticise and rebuke you..,
because this is for your good. It purifies and benefits you in
your coming life..
When someone criticises you, you thank him, for perhaps his
voice is the voice of God..
I mean that God who loves you may have sent such a person to
you to guide you and reveal to you your wrongdoing so that
you may stop doing it.
2. Perhaps God is punishing you with such insults for other
sins which you have committed in the far or near past
When David the Prophet heard an insult, he said humbly, "Let
him curse, because the Lord has said to him: 'Curse David?"
(2 Sam. 16:10).

My beloved brother, when someone insults you, remember your
past sins and know that you are not perfectly pure so as to be
beyond reproach...
3. Sometimes, God performs a successful act through you,
but you take such success as a weapon to vaunt and right
yourself with, feeling self-righteousness
. So, God fearing that
you may fall through pride, permits someone to insult you.. This
may make some equilibrium within your feelings and eliminate
your pride a little. Many of the persons who are insulted by
others are proud.. while the Bible teaches us that the meek are
raised by God from the dunghill and seated with the princes of
their people (Ps. 113:8)
4. Perhaps your conduct has offended others though you
are not aware, and so they insulted you
... Therefore it is
good to know the point of view of the person who insulted you
for he may be right..
5. Such an insult may be a lesson for you to teach you love
and long-suffering
.. One of the spiritual fathers said about
some monk who lived in seclusion not mixing with the brethren,
'Being with the brethren in the assembly is necessary for a
monk, because if he cannot endure the quarrels of the brethren,
how can he endure the wars of the devils in his solitude as St.
Isaac says!!'
6. What harm is caused to you if someone judges you
wrongly or thinks you are faulty?
Would this hinder you
from attaining God's Kingdom or would God judge you
according to what the people say!

7. Or do you like to be praised and favoured by human
beings who are created of dust like you?
My friend,
remember that your Master, ".. was oppressed and was
afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth."
and, "He was
numbered with the transgressors."
(Is. 53:7,12).. He accepted
that cross..
8. Lastly, my beloved brother, when you are insulted and
when you feel annoyed and resent the insult though you are
a sinner like myself, remember then how we insult God and
how He endures patiently
, loves us and accepts us! How
great our compassionate God is! He has no likeness among

If you are still concerned about how
people may judge you trying by any
means to make them have a better idea
about you, it will be difficult for you to
attain the eminence of the release of the
Sometimes, people do not praise you or they praise others
more.. In such a case, instead of being pleased and rejoicing
because the devil of vain glory is unaware of you even for some
time.., I see you seeking to trouble yourself.. You beg the praise
of people in such a way that does not fit your dignity as a son of
God.. by proceeding to talk about yourself..
Would you, dear brother, let me discuss the matter with you
with the same frankness we used before?
1. Why do you talk to others about yourself ? Do you want
them to admire you? Then tell me frankly, 'Do you, in your
heart, admire yourself No doubt, there are many defects in you
which you are in fact bothered about.. Why then do you want
them to glorify a personality which you yourself are not
convinced that it deserves to be glorified?'

2. If we do approve the principle of talking about oneself.. let
me ask you, 'Do you give a true picture of yourself ? Or do
you mention only the bright points and leave the shameful and
vile points which would make them hate you? My friend, do
you not know that half the facts are not all facts? Does not
your talk about yourself include then some deceit and lies? Do
you not present only one side of a picture which has its defects..
those defects which you know well and your spiritual father also
3. No doubt, you know also that talking about your 'virtues'
would deprive you of the reward
.. And certainly you have
read the Sermon on the Mount and saw what the Lord said,
".. do not let your left hand know what your right hand is
doing" and, ".. your Father who sees in secret will Himself
reward you openly"
(Matt. 6:3,4). I feel pity for you, my
beloved brother because you strive much for a certain virtue
and in a moment of rashness, in which the cursed self-
righteousness prevails, the devil comes and robs you of all your
striving.. And behold, all your labour is wasted in vain...
When I see you talking about yourself, I imagine you as a
person who planted some plant and when God gave the fruit
you set fire to it instead of reaping the fruit and rejoicing.. or
you let the devil reap it for you!
My dear friend, whenever you feel a desire to talk about
yourself, listen to the divine words singing in your ears,
"Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward". (Matt. 6:2).

4. Another harm results from talking about yourself which
is obvious in the following story: Once, on a certain occasion I
was talking with enthusiasm and admiration about a blessed
person whom I love and esteem.. But one of my spiritual fathers
said to me, 'Please do not proceed in this talk, because by this
you gather the devils around him to fight him.. Leave him to
labour calmly, for he is still a beginner and needs many prayers'.
Thereupon I stopped talking, feeling that I did something wrong
against such a person..
The devils cannot bear to hear about a person doing something
good. So, if God does something great through you, let it be in
secret between you and God. Do not talk about it lest the
devils should envy and fight you; in which case you will not
only lose your reward, but will also be subject to a hard war the
results of which are unknown..
5. Those were some of the harmful results that befall a person
who talks about himself.. But can you tell me of one
advantage on the other hand that may be gained from
praising yourself ?
Of course the sinful feeling which a person
feels when he sees the admiration of others for him is not an
advantage.. It is in fact a sin which needs to be cured!! But
there is a real advantage which I draw your attention to, ie. If
the desire to talk about yourself presses hard on you and you
are unable to resist it, then tell the others about your weakness
and your shortcomings.. Tell them about your falling in sins and
how you would have been like the people of Sodom had it not
been for God's help.. Ask them insistently to pray for you that
God may have mercy upon you..

6. Another word I want to tell you frankly though I hesitated
long before whispering it in your ear is that people feel
disgusted of anyone who talks much about himself
.. They
even call him the boastful or self-conceited.. Thus such a
person shall gain neither heavens nor earth..
7. Lastly, I want you to remember that the works which
fight you with self-righteousness are not all due to your
.. There are the surrounding circumstances which help
you to perform such works, the role played by others in this
concern and the abilities given you by God..
No doubt you would be exaggerating if you ascribe to
yourself all this forgetting God's work through you..
I am afraid I have annoyed you, my beloved brother, with my
frankness? Forgive me then this weakness and pray for me.

Again, my beloved brother, I want to
talk to you about your 'self; that which
you sometimes love and trust more
than God... Unless you deny yourself,
you will never enjoy the beauty of the
release of the spirit.
As love is the first commandment in Christianity, self-denial
is the main path leading to love.. You cannot love God and
people as long as you are concerned only about yourself and
your pleasures.. So, be released first from this self, for the Lord-
glory be to Him-says, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let
him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."
(Mark. 8:34).
Thus, the Lord made self-denial the first requirement.
My beloved brother, let your aim be to conceal yourself in
God so as not to have an independent existence separate from
Him.. Say along with St. Paul the Apostle, "It is no longer I
who live, but Christ lives in me. "
(Gal. 2:20).

If you ever wish to have glory, let your glory be from God
and in God's sight.. and repeat always the verse which says, "O
Father, glorify Me together with Yourself."
(John. 1 7:5). Do
not seek glory in the worldly things because ".. the world is
passing away, and the lust of it"
(1 John. 2:17). But you, who
are the son of God. ".. you are the temple of God and.. the
Spirit of God dwells in you.."
(1 Cor. 3:16). You are born, "..
not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man,
but of God."
(John. 1:13). That soul of yours is from God, a
breath of His mouth.. In every Mass, you partake of the Holy
Flesh and Blood of God to be one with Him and abide in Him as
He wants.. Why then do you neglect such a great glory to seek
another in the dust?
Why are you concerned about what others say of you and
why do you become pleased when they praise you and defend
yourself when they attack you? Why do you beg their approval
by talking about yourself My brother, I am afraid you still love
the dust and the glory of it! Is your self still an idol which you
give sacrifices and offerings to? Deny yourself, my dear, and
give all your love to God alone.. Say along with John the
Baptist, "He must increase, but I must decrease. " (John 3:30).
I hear you grumbling, 'I do not want to decrease'.. Know
then that you will not lose except the dregs that spoil your
purity, and the worldly glory which is the dust that sticks to
you.. You have to remove yourself of such glory to return clean
as God has created you and as He wants you to be always.
That concerns your relations with the others.., but I want to
talk to you concerning your look towards yourself and how you
ought to stand in the presence of God.. If you want the release

of your spirit, stand before God as nothing.. Deny any
knowledge or wisdom you have.. deny your intelligence and
experience.. Stand in God's presence as an ignorant person who
knows nothing.. But I do not mean that you feign ignorance or
pretend this because God cannot be deceived and does not like
those who pretend..
What I mean is to be convinced-in every matter-that your
self must be concealed so that the Lord Jesus Christ may
appear, not only before people, but also before yourself.. Say to
Him, 'O Lord, I judge according to the appearances.. I am weak
and cannot resist the devils.. The results of any work are in
Your hand.." Ask God to intervene and guide you, or to dwell
in you and work through you.. Then, when the required thing is
performed, thank God because it is He who did it not you.. And
when people come to praise you do not boast or pretend to be
humble but seize the opportunity and chant to them the psalm
which says, "If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
let Israel now say-If it had not been the Lord who was on our
side, when men rose up against us, then they would have
swallowed us alive... Then the waters would have overwhelmed
us, the stream would have gone over our soul"
(Ps. 124: 1-4).
When you are fought with a certain sin, do not trust your
power nor depend on your past triumph because sin, "..has cast
down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were
strong men."
(Prov. 7:26).. But, be sure that victory is the
Lord's and if He does forsake you in the slightest sins, you will
be like the people of Sodom.. Chant then that beautiful psalm
which says, " .. You knew my path. In the way in which I walk
they have secretly set a snare for me. Look on my right hand
and see, for there is no one who acknowledges me. Refuge has


failed me; no one cares for my soul.. I cried out to You, O
Lord: I said, 'You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the
living... Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger
than I...
(Ps. 142: 3-6).
My beloved brother, you are nothing, and you have to admit
this before God and before yourself.. Whenever you think that
you are able to do something, come to your self and say: "Who
am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the
children of Israel out of Egypt? "
(Ex. 3:11).
However, if God convinces you that He will be your mouth
and will speak through your tongue and that you will be just an
instrument, then proceed on your way. Though you walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, you will fear no evil;
and though an army encamps against you, you will be confident
in this.. At such time remember me, the unclean dust, so that we
may meet together.. there..

Do you know what things you ought to
escape from? Escape from the
interests, the hopes and desires...
Escape from all such things if you
really want to attain the release of the
My beloved brother, please let me go a little deep into your
heart to talk to you frankly: You have great hopes which you
are much concerned about and which occupy part of your
. They even occupy your imagination and so when you
are alone they come to you as daydreams and when you are
asleep you dream of them.. You have certain aims which you
know most and cannot deny.. You want to be of a great
importance, you want to be known by others and venerated by
them.. You have hopes regarding fame and good reputation,
authority and power, hopes regarding wealth, social positions,
knowledge, titles, future, appearances and credit.. You have
certain desires concerning residence, food, clothing and various
pleasures of the body.. You do not live in the world but in fact
it is the world that lives in you, and dominates over your heart,
your mind, your imagination and your will.. As for your spirit, it

is imprisoned within all this; it desires to be released of the
fleshly desires.. as "the flesh lusts against the Spirit" (Gal.
These hopes and interests make you miserable, my beloved
brother, because not all of them can be achieved..

This of course makes you discontented.. You long for such
things and this longing makes you unhappy.. So, you make your
arrangements and seek the means to achieve them: you think,
meet certain persons, write down papers, go and come, strive
and try hard; then you sit and wait.. You may get bored and
tired of waiting and of having hope.. You may get desperate
and become anxious or feel afraid of failure. Thus you become
unhappy and perhaps your labour and your attempts end for
nothing and you do not attain your desire and this makes you
more unhappy .
A more dangerous thing is that you may go astray because
of such hopes and desires and fall in deceit, beating about the
bush, fawning and flattery, lying or what is worse... This is what
one of the wise men once said, 'A person will certainly fall in
hypocrisy if he wants to hide something within himself.
I know that you feel tired and I pity you.. But when will you
live in the fire of hopes! What is amazing concerning such
worldly desires is that they make you unhappy even though
they are realised
. For when you attain what you desire, you
will be pleased and such pleasure leads you to seek more.. as
the Lord Jesus Christ said: "Whoever drinks of this water will
thirst again"
(John. 4:13).And when one feels thirst one seeks

water to quench one's thirst and the more one drinks, the more
one will feel thirst and desire for water..
So, my beloved brother, I want to discuss the matter with
you calmly.. Why do you hold fast to certain worldly desires
while you know that ".. the world is passing away, and the lust
of it"
(1 John. 2:17). You are-like me-a stranger on earth and
the hour will come when you will quit the world and all its
possessions.. As you have come naked from your mothers'
womb, you will return naked there (Job. 1:21). You will be
forced to leave the world with its glory, wealth and fame and
descend into a pit in the ground like any base person.. Whatever
authority, pleasures or fame you attain in this world, this will
not protect your mortal body against corruption or prevent the
worms from feeding on your body leaving nothing of it.. On the
day of judgement, you will stand before God destitute of all
worldly possessions. You will keep nothing from the world
except you works whether they be good or evil.
Therefore, my beloved brother, it is not good for you to
confine your interests and hopes to this earth. Do you not
remember that this earth brought forth to you thorns and
thistles! It had once accepted the blood of Abel the Righteous..
and the cisterns hewn in it can hold no water (Jer. 2:13).
Take the example of the father saints who lived on the earth
before us and whom the earth was not deserving to be trodden
on with their feet.. Those holy fathers did not attain that
holiness except when they emptied their hearts of the love of the
world and the worldly things.. They had no longer any desire or
lust, nor any possession in the world.. And because they did not

hold to anything in the world, it was easy for them to quit it and
they even longed for that..
As for you, my beloved brother, you still have some worldly
desires and, ".. where your treasure is, there your heart will be
also. "
(Matt. 6:21). Your heart clings to the dust and its
glory, so, the spiritual matters lose their value in your sight..
This is the same temptation with which the devil tried to tempt
the Lord of glory, ".. the devil took Him up on an exceedingly
high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world
and their glory. And he said to Him, "All these things I will
give You if You will fall down and worship me. "
(Matt. 4: 8,9).
Now, consider, if you do possess all such things and lose
your soul which you imprison in a golden cage of desires, what
will this avail you? Your soul wants to be set free...

You trust your five senses to a far
extent and if your spirit opposes these
senses, you reject your spirit.. When
will you be freed from the influence of
your senses and attain the release of the
You only believe the thing which you see with your eyes,
hear with your ears, or touch with your hands.. You suspect
anything else.. What is the reason for this!! The reason is
simply that you still live in the flesh and believe in the flesh and
its senses.
You look here and there and when you find no one to see or
witness you, you commit the fault which you avoid to commit
in the sight of others.. But do you think that really no one sees
you! There are certain eyes which look on you in compassion
and censure.. You do not see those eyes because you still live in
the body... It is God who observes you and you do not see
Him.. If you are in the Spirit, released from those deficient
senses, you will be able to say along with Elijah the Prophet,
"As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand... "
(1 Kings 18:15).

Whenever you are encompassed with dangers, you look to
the right and to the left and seeing yourself alone, you become
afraid and terrified... In fact God is at your right hand that
you may not be shaken
(Acts 2: 25). You do not see Him
because your eyes cannot see everything, for they are material
and cannot attain the spiritual matters.. I wish, dear brother,
that you would release your spirit from the influence of such
bodily senses.. This spirit of yours, to "..searches all things yes,
the deep things of God"
(1 Cor. 2:10). Let is soar freely to see
God at your right hand and whisper joyfully, "... though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
for You are with me. "
(Ps. 23:4).
The poor Gehazi, the servant of Elisha was very afraid
seeing the great army of the enemy nearby and there was no
hope whatever.. But Elisha who lived in the spirit was
confident.. He saw with the spirit things which no eye could see
and heard what no ears could hear.. He felt pity towards the
young man and prayed to the Lord to open his eyes... "Then the
Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And
behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all
around Elisha"
(2 Kings 6:17).. So he was comforted..
Do not trust your senses for they are weak and cannot
comprehend the matters of the spirit
. The widow of
Zarephath of Sidon, saw with her human eye only a handful of
flour in the bin and a little oil in the jar.. She thought that was
only sufficient to make a cake for her and her son that they
might eat it and die... But Elijah, the man of God saw something
else with his spirit.. he saw that neither the bin of flour nor the

jar of oil would dry whatever she took from them.. This actually
happened as we see in 1 Kings 17:14-16.
Elisha was standing at the River Jordan. His bodily eyes saw
a river were one would drown if one walked through .. But his
spiritual eye was not confined to this vision.. He saw the Jordan
as a ground fit for walking through. So, Elisha took the mantle
of Elijah that had fallen from him while he went up in the
chariot of fire and struck the water. The water was divided and
Elisha crossed the river(2 Kin 2:14). The bodily eye would see
the mantle of Elijah just as a mantle but Elisha saw it with the
spirit as a great power given by God and not a mere garment.
My dear friend, your eyes are deficient even regarding
material things
.., for there are some substances which you
cannot see.. Though they exist, they defy your weak eyes.. You
may only see them through a microscope..
If there is not a microscope available, and you cannot see
such tiny bodies with your naked eye, would you then deny
their existence, merely because you do not see them? If this is
the case regarding material things.. what would you say
concerning spiritual matters?
With respect to spiritual matters, let your spirit guide you,
and do not force it to submit to the body.. Let it soar freely and
swim in a world of divine matters as it is said: "Blessed are
those who have not seen and yet have believed"
(John. 20:29)
Certainly, my beloved brother, you have heard before of the
visions in which the spirit swims in the world of the angels and
saints and see things which no mortal can see.. In such cases,

the spirit is released from the influence of the body and uses the
members of the body merely for its spiritual purposes.. Hence,
the senses yield to the spirit and not the spirit to the senses..
One day, someone told me that he had heard that St. George
appeared in a certain church but he did not believe. He went to
see by himself and to prove that it was only a false superstition
and he went and saw nothing..
I do not want to make any comment concerning this story
but I only present a point of view ie. such a person and others
like him cannot see any visions because of their weak faith.
They want to subjugate the spiritual matters to the senses of the
body, while God reveals to the simple only the mysteries of His

This is the first thing which the person
ought to say if he likes to attain the
release of the spirit.
I want nothing from the world.., for the world has
nothing to be desired
.. but only temptations for the beginners..
I want nothing of the world, for the world is too poor to
give me
.. If what I want is available in the world, the world
would be a heaven.. But it is still an, earth as I see.. there is
nothing in it except material things.. in fact I search for heavenly
matters, for the Spirit, for God..
I want nothing of the world, for I am not of the world.. I
am not dust as they think, I am a divine breath.. I was with God
from eternity, and God placed me on the earth.. But I shall
leave it after a while and return to God.. So I want nothing of
this earth.. 'I came forth from the Father, and have come into
the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father"
(John. 16:28).

I want nothing of the world, all that I want is to get rid
of it,
to be released from it, from the flesh and from the earth! I
want to return to God-as before-to be again a holy breath not
defiled by any worldly thing..
I want nothing of the world because I seek eternal
immortal things
and the world has nothing that is immortal..
All that is in the world is passing away, even the world itself
will perish and come to nothing..I do not seek perishable
I want nothing of the world .There is He whom I ask to
give me
.. He who is rich and powerful, in whom I have found
satisfaction and nothing is lacked .. He gives me before I ask
Him, He gives me what is good and of benefit to me.. Since I
have put myself in His hands I need nothing of the world.
I want nothing of the world, for the world does not give
me benefit but with purpose to subjugate me
.. Those who
received what the world gave them became slaves to the world..
It gave them the pleasures of the body and took from them the
purity of the spirit.. The world gave them the worldly enjoyment
and took from them the blessing of the heavenly Kingdom..
Satan gave them all the kingdoms of the world and their glory
to make them fall down and worship him.. He always gives all
that he has to make people lose their souls.. As for me, "I have
suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I
may gain Christ"
(Phil. 3:8).
This world takes more than what it gives.. It subjects those
who desire it... So I want nothing of it..

I want nothing of the world, for I am superior to it.. I am
a son of God - in the image of God and after His likeness.. I am
a temple for the Holy Spirit and a place of dwelling for God.. I
am the only creature who partakes of His holy flesh and blood..
I am superior to the world and the world is asking me to give
it.. for I have the keys of the heavens and earth.. I, whom God,
in His loving-kindness and humbleness, willed to make me the
light of the world and the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13,14).
I want nothing of the world, because I want to live as my
fathers did
; those whom the earth was not deserving to trod on
.. They lived so, received nothing of the world. On the other
hand they were a blessing to the world.. For the sake of their
prayers God sent water on the earth.. and for their sakes God
preserved the world till today..
I want nothing of the world, because sin entered it and
corrupted it
.. In the beginning God saw everything and behold
it was very good, as sin had not yet entered the world. Even
the great sea creatures were blessed by God to be fruitful and to
multiply.. But now, the marvellous picture which God has
drawn is scarred. Therefore I reject the world which loves the
darkness more than the light and I no longer desire anything of
I want nothing of the world, because I want You alone; You
who loved me till the end and gave Yourself up for me; You
who formed me out of nothing and was not in need of my
service but it is rather I who was in need of your sovereignty..

Therefore I want to be released from the world and be united to
You, who gave me the gift of knowing You .

There are some people who did not
obtain any education. There are some
who were taught by people and those
are more ignorant.. But the true
educated people are those who are
taught directly by God.
When God created man, He gave him plenty of knowledge..
and whenever He needed more knowledge he was taught by
God Himself.. If man has continued along this path, he would
have become a scholar and would have deserved to eat of the
tree of life and live for ever.. But the man accepted to take
knowledge from another source than God and so he began to be
ignorant.. His first lesson was from the serpent, and it resulted
in eating of the tree of the knowledge and thus he became
ignorant. Man seeks knowledge away from God and he only
gains ignorance upon ignorance..
Man is God's temple and God's Spirit dwells in him.. the
Spirit whom the Lord Jesus Christ said of, "He will guide you
into all truth"
(John. 16:13) and St. Paul said about Him, "For
the Spirit searches all things. Yes, the deep things of God. "
(1 Cor. 2:10).

However, due to the great misery and ignorance of the
man, he seeks knowledge not within himself, from the Spirit of
God dwelling in him, but seeks it outside, with people, and in
the books which he thinks can give him life ... !
Thus, there are many scholars and wisemen in these
generations while the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the
sight of God.. St. Augustine walked along this path for a long
time, seeking God outside himself, but when he found God, he
sang to Him this everlasting song which says * *,
`Too late did I love You, O Fairness so ancient and yet so new!
Too late did I love You! For behold, You were within, and I
without, and there did I seek You.. I unlovely, rushed heedlessly
among the things of beauty You made.. You were with me, but I
was not with you..'

When Augustine found God within him, he became a saint...
You also, my beloved brother, will lose the way if you try to
seek God outside you.. But sit alone, consider and meditate, go
deep into yourself and seek God.. You will find Him there, in
your inmost depths. You will see Him face to face and feel Him
as a pouring and overflowing fountain of love.. Only then you
will be greatly astonished and cry out in silent joy 'I have seen
This was the means which our father saints resorted to. They
went out of the world leaving behind its crowd, tumult and

* * The confessions of St. Augustine, Book X. Ch. Y-XVII-38.

noise. They left everything and sought God within themselves
and they were able to see Him through continuous
Praise and meditation.. On the other hand, the ideologists,
philosophers researchers and scientists sought God in the books
and with people and could only suffer ignorance, mystery and
While I mention this I feel pain for them.. and also for some
fathers who left the world to the desert but began to seek God
in the books or in projects and ministry. In fact God was within
their hearts wishing them to leave all these occupations and sit
with Him. He wanted to reveal to them secrets which no one
else knew and show them what no other eyes have ever seen.,
This applies not only to the monks but to all people.. Do
you know, dear brother, what is the proper way for spiritual
education? Certainly it is not to teach a person something new,
for he possesses everything and the Spirit abiding in him knows
much more than what you want to teach him.. But a proper way
is to free a person from any wrong knowledge he actually has,
ie. from any knowledge he obtained from the world or from
A child is born with a great beautiful idea about God within
his heart, mind and imagination.. Then society begins to teach
this poor child and provide him with ideas about God which
differ from what he knows, and present to him certain pictures
of God and the saints that limit his open imagination.. Thus the
idea of the child about God and holiness is replaced by
customary idioms concerning good and evil as known by people
. The child takes of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil

which Adam and Eve ate from and he becomes ignorant like
them.. Here comes the role of the true spiritual guide who must
not provide the child with more knowledge but must drive out
any false knowledge he had obtained from customs and from
the wrong concepts of people regarding religion.. When his
spirit is released from all this, he would know God the true
knowledge because God is not far from him but dwells in him.

The desire to be a teacher involves a
great danger.. So, avoid it, my beloved
brother, and fly from it as far as you
You want to teach people.. Well, what things do you want to
teach them?
Do you not agree with me, my dear brother, that we are not
yet mature enough nor have complete knowledge of all
There are certain things which we consider from one
point of view only and so we misunderstand them. For example
when we interfere to teach others religion, we do not teach it to
them in its true concept but as we understand it in our age and
in our particular level of spirituality and mentality.. But as we
grow older and perhaps our spirituality and mentality develop
and our understanding of religion differs.. what then would be
the state of those who learnt from us in the beginning?
For this and other reasons as well, St. James the Apostle
says, ".. let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we

shall receive a stricter judgement. For we all stumble in many
(James 3:1,2).
Jeremiah the Prophet also says to God, "Behold, I cannot
speak, for I am a youth"
(Jer. 1:6). And Isaiah the Prophet
speaking about himself says, ".. I am a man of unclean lips"
(Is. 6:5). We have St. Bachomius as another example.. when
people used to come to him seeking a word of benefit, he
refused to speak but introduced to them his disciple Tadros.
And the Spirit of God spoke on the mouth of that holy disciple..
Another old father when one of the young monks came to
learn something from him, he said to him, 'Stay in your cell and
it will teach you everything'. And the young monk returned to
his cell benefiting from those words..
There are many other stories which I leave to you to read by
yourself and take the benefit which God gives you through
them. Here, before moving to another point I want to remark
that many of the teachings of the holy fathers have reached us
by one of two means: Either one of the monks wrote down the
words of the old father during his talks with other brother
monks, or the father himself recorded his meditations for his
own benefit and they were found in his cell after his passing
away and people benefited from them.
My beloved brother, there is a very great difference
between the ministry of teaching which the Holy Bible
entrusted to certain persons and the love of being teachers
The last is of great danger.. It sometimes becomes a disguised
devil.. The love of teaching is often accompanied by a hidden or
apparent feeling of personal worthiness and of superiority to

others.. When such a person who loves to teach is given more
chances to teach, this feeling grows within him. He even enters
the church not with purpose to have benefit but to criticise and
teach even the teachers. He never feels need to take but he
always gives.. There will be a time when such a person finds
nothing to give, for what he has will dry up...
Unlike this person were the fathers who used to learn
continually and benefit from everything..
St. Anthony the great monk was able to benefit from the
words of a woman who was not ashamed to take off her
clothes to bathe before a monk..
St. Macarius also, the father of the desert of Shihit learned
a lesson from a young boy.
St. Arsanius who studied the wisdom of the Greeks and
Romans learnt also from an illiterate Egyptian..
All those fathers had souls which flew like an active bee to
gather nectar from every flower!
Another danger behind the love of teaching is to become so
involved in teaching and you forget yourself. I remember this in
regard to a Zealous person who used to read the Holy Bible not
with purpose to get benefit but in order to prepare a lesson..
When he gave alms, this was not out of love for the poor but to
be as a model to people.. He used to be cautious in his actions
not being convinced with doing so but in order not to offend
others.. Even when he sat with some people, he did not learn

something from them but his only concern was to examine what
they said as a master and then wisely explain the proper
situation.. He once said that when he stood to pray and it
happened that God's Spirit worked within him giving him a
certain feeling, or a certain meditation, he did not hesitate to
stop his prayer and sit down to record such things to teach them
to people.. Hence the means of grace have lost their objective in
the life of such a person and teaching became everything to him.
Another word I want to whisper in your ear, is beloved to
my heart, ie. What do you want to teach people? Is it religion?
Do you think that religion is mere knowledge which one may fill
the mind with? I fear most, my dear striver, that this way of
teaching religion will turn it into a subject to be studied and
people examine it like any branch of learning.. In fact, religion
is spirit and life as you certainly know..
The Zealous person then asked me, 'But I am a teacher in
the church, what can I do then? 'I answered him, "I wish you to
be alive in spirit, my dear brother. I'll tell you the truth, you do
not in fact teach those souls entrusted to you but you love
them.. Such souls which you see surrounding you are attracted
not by your teaching but by love.. the 'love' which never fails
because it is God's.

Many people think themselves rich
and think they possess many
worldly things.. ..But as for you, my
beloved brother, you were relieved of
this feeling of possession since the
time you realised that possession
restricted your spirit.
Certainly, you have come to the world poor like me, possessing
nothing in it.. You have come naked out of your mother's
womb, not even possessing the swaddling clothes which you
were wrapped in or the cradle in which you were lain...
Anything you had afterwards is only a gift given by God to
you.. This was not a possession but a charge entrusted to your
hand for a limited time ie. your lifetime.. When you pass away
from earth, you will be as poor as you entered it.. naked as you
were born.. As for the things which you thought you have
possessed in this world and which you were forced to leave
behind, someone else will claim a right to possess them and

when he also passes away a third will claim the same right and
so on...
Then you ought to know that you own nothing, not even
.. because you had no existence before. Before you
existed you were nothing, then God created you.. When you
fell, this self became possessed by death... But God purchased
this self and redeemed it with His blood, so it became His
So, as you see you own nothing, not even yourself. Thus, a
person who sins against himself is in fact committing sin against
God Himself That is because he is corrupting a soul which is the
ownership of God and corrupting a body which God-after
taking possession of found pleasure in making it a temple for
His Holy Spirit..
The same may be said of the person who sins against others..
It is a sin against God Himself whether directly or indirectly...
David sinned against Uriah the Hittite and his wife Bathsheba
but he addressed God saying "Against You, You only, have I
(Ps. 51:4). He said so not only because he transgressed
against God but also because he sinned against two persons
belonging to God..
If you become aware of this, my beloved brother, you will
recognise how dangerous is sins.. You do not possess your self
so that you may dispose of it as an owner..
Regarding property, we have explained that we own nothing,
but all we have is a gift from God.. You are just a person
entrusted such property to manage it with honesty as a good

steward. You will be asked about it when God says to you,
"Give an account of your stewardship" (Luke 16:2).
Therefore we find a very rich king like David realises the real
state of matters and says, "I am poor and needy" (Ps. 70:4)..
According to the wrong human measure David the King was
not poor.. but in fact, according to a spiritual eye, he owned
Therefore also, the holy fathers vowed to live in voluntary
poverty and considered this one of the main bases on which
their monastic life depended.
This gives you the true meaning of doing charitable
.. You do not give out of your own property but you do
give God's creation out of God's property.. If you know this,
you will find no cause to feel self-righteousness or pride.. You
will find no cause also to avoid the praise of others by praising
yourself in a concealed way as by giving some money under the
name of "a good doer".. Once I found a donor who wrote in
place of his name "an evil doer who asks your prayers for him" I
admired such a person..
The only One who can give of His own money to people is
So, I do not like to consider a charitable deed a virtue
because it is not a favour done by the giver.. He is just a means
to carry God's grace to others..
What is said about charity applies also to other good deeds
which cannot be considered as a favour offered by anyone.

Another point attached to the charitable deeds is receiving
thanks for them.. Let me ask you, my brother; 'how can you
agree to let people thank you for something you have not given
out of your own money. It is God's property, how can you
receive thanks for it? How can you accept thanks? Give glory
to God and hide yourself that God may appear who did all the
The feeling of possession restricts your spirit and makes you
feel what you do not really have.. So, to escape from this
feeling does not mean that you deny yourself but it means that
you recognise the truth about yourself.. I pray that God may be
with you...

Be released, brother, from the
bondage of the self.. And know that if
you can agree with yourself and be free
within, no surrounding circumstances
can influence you.. For in such a case
you can say that you have attained
the release of the spirit..
Do you think, my dear brother, that the world has any power
over you? Or that the offences and temptations can be the
cause of your fall? No, you will be wrong if you think so.. The
world or its temptations may be of some effect.. but the real
cause of your fall is your inner self.
Unless you accept sin, love it or welcome it, you will not

Joseph the Righteous lived in a sinful environment and he
was encompassed fiercely by sin but he did not fall.. The reason
was that he did not let the temptations enter into his pure heart..
So, it was easy for him to conquer the outer causes because he
conquered his inside.

Do not say that you fell because the world is full of
temptations but rather say that you fell because your heart
yearned for such temptations and accepted them.
Take as an example two persons, each of them passes by a
wine-shop.. One of them cannot resist the sight of the wine-
bottles; so he enters and drinks till he becomes drunk... The
other one passing by the wine-shop is not even aware of its
existence or of the wine in it.. The wine does not offend him, it
has no influence on him nor does it tempt him... There is one
reason for this- because his heart is void of the yearning for
wine and of its love.. His heart is pure within and nothing can
affect it from without..
To conquer your spiritual life depends essentially on the
result of the inner fight between yourself and you.. If you can
crucify the self in you, you will deal with the outer world with a
simple eye that sees everything good and beautiful as the
apostle says, "To the pure all things are pure" (Tit. 1:15).
Some people avoid offensive surroundings.. This is good
because God prevented us from standing in the path of sinners
and from sitting in the seat of the scornful (Ps. 1:1).. But it is
wrong that those people only avoid these surroundings and
leave the beast lying within them full of the lust of the world
and the things of the world... Such persons may succeed for
some time but will soon fall under the pressure of the trial and
the temptations that break into their lives... They love sin
though they do not commit it... and the person who loves sin
will fall in it-even after a while-though he tries to avoid it..

Such persons avoid evil doings thinking that they make a
sacrifice for God's sake.. In fact they are the same like the
sinners in that they think that evil is pleasant and sin is good and
desirable.. They still see the tree good for food, pleasant to the
eyes and desirable (Gen. 3:6).. But they differ in one thing
which is that they do not take of its fruit and eat... They did not
conquer their inside.. God has not yet dwelt in their hearts, so
they find in the world what tempts and offends them.. They find
in the world their beloved desired sin though they escape from it
fearing to fall..
It can be said that - in practice - those people obey God's
commandments but do not love such commandments or
even love God..

Such persons-if they are steadfast in striving-may be saved
yet so as through fire (1 Cor. 3:15) But they may not be able to
continue with their striving.. So they fall a great fall because
their house is not built on the rock..
The right thing then is to set the spirit free so as not to be
under the bondage of it and love of sin.. and to be free from the
effect of evil.. When a person reaches. such a point, things
which tempt others will not tempt him.. His holy nature does
not approve of such things, so he does not respond to them.. On
the other hand, he averts from them easily without any striving
on his side.. Practically, he has stopped negative striving and
began a positive one through which he tries to attain the depth
of the spirit and the knowledge of God..

However, as we said before, a person cannot attain such a
level unless he is purified within, and unless he conquers
fighting the self which lusts against the spirit.
A person must be utterly convinced that sin is bitter and
awful while God is good and life with Him is a joy..
In this internal war, a person must discipline his body and
bring it to subjection (1 Cor. 9:27). He must even crucify the
interests and desires of the self within him and not leave it
crying out to make his heart lean due to its cries and
enticements.. If he looks to the self according to God's
measures, he will find it contemptible and shuns it saying with
the apostle, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I
who live, but Christ lives in me"
(Gal. 2:20). This is what the
Lord Jesus Christ wants us to do, for He says, "For whoever
desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for
My sake and the gospel's will save it"
(Mark 8:35).
Yet, this cannot be realised except through a special help
from God.. So, striving with oneself, must be accompanied by
wrestling with God. Wrestle then, brother with Him in humility
saying along with the righteous Israel, " I will not let You go
unless You bless me!"
(Gen. 32:26). Say also, "Purge me with
hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter
than snow"
(Ps. 51:7). And be sure that if you do conquer in
such a war, no evil power can defeat you even though they
gather up against you.
Therefore, to do all this, my beloved, you need a period of
seclusion, a thing which was essential in the lives of God's
children.. In such a period they could sit with themselves and

with their Creature and could come out with new weapons for
their spiritual life which would push them along into the depth...
Examine your life then and think carefully perhaps your need for
such a period of seclusion is the cause of your fall.
A person who does not experience seclusion, does not know
his real self.. He is often carried by the current not knowing
where he is going.. He thinks with the mentality of the group
following their path.. So, he falls and continues in his fall till he
comes to himself and becomes aware of his fall..
As for you, do not be that person.. but give yourself certain
times in which you can examine your conduct and remember the
sublime principles which you were convinced of a long time
ago.. You can also recall to your mind the lives of the holy
persons who conquered and nourish yourself with God's words
and with the sayings and stories of the lives of the fathers.. In
such times, you can pour yourself fervently and deeply before
God and take for yourself the daily bread which you cannot
dispense with..
May God be with you, give you holiness from high and forgive
us our sins .


'Do you think that I shall be condemned
alone for my sins? No, but you also will
be condemned with me...for if the
church had taken care of me, I would
not have reached this condition'
Puffing the smoke of his cigarette into my face, a man said,
'Perhaps you are astonished of my condition now!' I looked to
his long bright dressed hair, his hollow eyes, yellow teeth, and
his fingers shaking nervously and I felt much compassion upon
him... He is one of those whom the Lord Jesus Christ redeemed
with His blood..
Before I could answer him, he continued bitterly, 'As you
know I was not like this before... I was strong in spirit, of good
character, attending the church prayers and meetings regularly...
Then I became gradually languid until I stopped attending the
meetings.. But no one from the church came to visit me or tried
to make me return... My absence continued and I became more
languid, my will became more weak and I descended step by
step from my high level... and again no one came to visit me...
At this point the devil visited me... when he came he found my
heart empty, swept and put in order (Matt. 12:44) and my

will weakened.. The devil found no Bible beside me, no prayers
nor spiritual fathers... Thus I was easy prey and I began to walk
in darkness, the lovely darkness which people loved rather than
light (John. 3:19), 'Here he shook his head calmly and said,
'Now I buy four cigarette packets every day'..
I whooped in astonishment and pain but he continued, 'I go
to the cinema three times a week, and read impolite stories, I
amuse myself with rude songs and make my company with a
group like the devils of hell.. At the beginning of my fall, I
resisted but I failed because my will was weak... But now, I do
not resist at all..' Then he laughed in a sneering way and said, 'I
may rather say that sin now resists me but fails because of the
weakness of its will!'
All this time, while he was talking I was very sad but he
looked to me in cruelty and said sharply, 'Do you think that I
shall be condemned alone for my sins? No, but you will be
condemned with me... for if the church had taken care of me, I
would not have reached this condition'.
It is not important to tell you, my dear reader, the rest of the
story of this youth for it resembles many other stories. But I
want to tell you that I returned that night to my house filled
with severe pain for him and for myself.. I began to ask myself
frankly how many persons like him tumbled as a result of my
neglect and not visiting them or caring for them? I began to
review the names of the persons whom I did not visit for a long
time and I felt great fear and dismay.. I feel very uneasy
concerning them. I asked myself whether being in the ministry
hindered ministry! The words of that youth rang in my ears,
'you will be condemned with me' I remembered also the words

of St. James the Apostle, "My brethren, let not many of you
become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter
judgement. For we all stumble in many things"
(James 3:1,2).
As this trouble continued for some time, I asked to be
excused from the ministry but as they refused I prostrated
myself before God and wept bitterly because I recognised how
wretched I was..
I am wretched because I agreed to be a minister and did not
say as Jeremiah the Prophet had said, "Ah, Lord God! Behold I
cannot speak, for I am a youth"
(Jer. 1:6). I am also wretched
because 1 thought a lesson in the Sunday Schools was just a
lecture which I had to deliver and leave calmly.
My dear readers, may all of you pray for me, and for
every teacher in the Sunday-Schools
because they also are
wretched and needy like me.
Feeling all this pain and complaining of the responsibility of
a small class, what would I rather say, my brethren, about the
father priests? Are they not far more wretched than me? What
can a priest do for five or ten thousand persons in his charge?
What answer can he give when God calls him saying, "Give an
account of your stewardship"
(Luke 16:2).
In the first church of the fathers, the priest was aided by a
group of deacons who worked with him, helped him in his
ministry and ate like him from the offerings given to the church.
But nowadays, a priests works alone. He needs your prayers
that God may help him perform his duty..

And you, father priest, what made you seek priest hood?
Did you aspire its superiority or its responsibilities? Do you not
know father that you are responsible for all your flock, whether
grown-ups or young, men or women, young men or young
women.. You are not responsible only for those who attend the
church but also for those in the places of entertainment and
corruption, for every reckless youth in the roads, for every
drunken in a bar and for every dispute within a family.
Yes father, if you do not know that you are wretched, you
have to recognise this now... Go into your private room and
weep bitterly... Put the whole matter in God's hands and say to
Him that you are weak and the burden is heavy.. Strive and
keep watch ".. lest, coming suddenly, He find you sleeping"
(Mark 13:36).
If this is the case of the father priest, what can we say
about the father bishops
each of whom will be asked by God
about nearly two hundred thousands or more whether priests or
lay-men? Are not they very Wretched indeed? May you pray
for them earnestly that God may help them carry out their
duties?.. As for you father bishop, what thing made you desire
this position? Is it the prestige or the responsibility? Did you
desire the position and the authority, the tittle of "His Grace" or
the membership of the holy synod? Or did you desire to save
Let me ask your grace further about your responsibility.. If
you compare the condition of your diocese when you first took
it in your charge with its condition now.. is there any
improvement or is it still the same? You have to go into your
cell and weep bitterly, father bishop.. Remember how the holy

monks used to escape from this position because of its fearful
responsibility. And when one of them was taken by force and
ordained as bishop he cried out weeping before God and saying,
'O Lord, you know that I left the world and went to the
monastery to seek my own salvation.. But now I return to the
world though I have not attained salvation yet and is required to
save others also.. O Lord, I am not able, You act with Your
power' And God did act...
What about our fathers the Patriarchs , each one of
whom God will ask about ten million in Egypt and much more
in Ethiopia, Sudan and the Five Western Cities which are
mentioned in the Holy Mass... What is to be said of those and of
their serious responsibilities? Are not they also wretched? My
brethren, you ought to pray for every Patriarch that he may be
able to perform his duties and give a good reply to God when
He asks him about his own soul and the souls of the bishops,
priests, deacons, monks and laymen... and about keeping the
church laws and spreading the Orthodox faith all over the
You also, who may be nominated to the patriarchate someday,
you ought to refuse it and escape for your life.
But if you are called by God, remember its responsibilities
and go into your cell and weep bitterly before God.
And you, my brothers the readers, do not look to God's
ministers and to those who hold any responsibilities just like
spectators praising them when they do good and condemning
them when they do wrong... You rather pray for them that
God's work may succeed through them..

You also, God's minister, be concerned with the responsibility
not with the position... and when you feel the burden heavy for
you, "Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you"
(Ps. 55:22).
Close the door and argue with Jesus,
in the darkness of the might.
Fill all the night with prayers with
wrestling and tears.

`Those persons devoted all their lives
to God.. They spent every minute of
their time in the ministry.. .They
considered the spiritual ministry their
main work and other worldly affairs
as secondary'
It happened on that night that I was alone in my private
room, stretched on my seat and looking at nothing when a sinful
smile passed on my lips... Perhaps I was thinking of myself as a
minister... But something strange happened, I do not know
whether my head became heavy and I fell asleep, or my
thoughts strayed and turned into dreams, or God showed me a
revelation.. The only thing I know is that I looked and saw
before me a group of angels of light who carried me on their
wings and I went up...

I looked down on the earth below me and found it
diminishing little by little until it looked like a tiny luminous spot
in space... I listened also to the noise of the world and heard it
decrease and then turn into silence.. I felt my body becoming
lighter and lighter until I felt as if I were a spirit without a
body.. I looked around me in bewilderment and saw many

spirits swimming like me in the limitless space. I saw also
thousands and tens of thousands of angels, the Cherubim each
with six wings and the Seraphim full of eyes. The voices of all
rose in wonderful harmony saying, "Holy, Holy, Holy". I found
myself unconsciously chanting with them, "Holy is God the
Father... Holy is the Only-Begotten Son... Holy is the Holy

I woke up from my chanting on hearing a holy faint tune
which no ear has ever heard before.. I went towards the source
of the sound very eager to see what was there... I found, before
me, at a distance, a beautiful luminous city hanging in the
heavens and echoing hymns and songs.. Every tune filled my
heart with joy and my soul with longing... Inside the city, far
off, there were shadows that looked more beautiful than the
angels.. There was Moses, Elijah and all the prophets.. There
were St. Anthony, St. Athanasius and all the saints.. I saw also
my fathers the bishops and priests - and my confession father..
There were also some of my colleagues the teachers of the
Sunday Schools... I could not wait to see , I rushed towards
that luminous city.. But.. to my amazement, I could not proceed
because there was a valiant, awful, venerable and dignified angel
who stood in my way saying, - 'Stop where you are! Where are
you going?' - I answered, 'I am going into this great city, my
master the angel, where I see my colleagues, my brethren and
my fathers the saints'..
But the angel looked at me in astonishment and said, 'But
this is the city of the ministers.. are you one of them? When I
replied positively, he said, 'You are wrong my friend.. Your
name is not in the list of the ministers'

I was overwhelmed by astonishment and cried in the face of
that angel, who was in guard of the city, saying, 'How is that?
Perhaps you do not know me, my master the angel! Ask about
me in the Sunday Schools, in the meetings of the youth, in the
churches and the assemblies.. Ask about me even in the city of
the ministers itself, for many of my colleagues, the teachers of
Sunday Schools know me well.'
- He answered me, 'I know you well.. and they also know you..
Yet you are not-in God's judgement-a minister'.
I could not bear these words and I fell on my knee weeping
bitterly.. when another angel came and wiped away every tear
from my eyes and said to me gently, 'My brother, you are in the
place from where sorrow and sighing fled away. Why are you
sorry then? Come and let us reason together. And we sat
alone.. reasoning together.. He said, 'Those whom you see in
the city of the ministers devoted all their lives to God.. They
spent every moment of their time in the ministry
. Do you
not agree with me that the lives of St. Paul and other apostles,
the lives of the bishops, priests and deacons and the lives of the
saints? As for you my friend, you were not devoted to the
ministry but you served the world.. All your spiritual ministry
was just one hour every week in the Sunday Schools.. And
sometimes your service in other fields made you give God
another hour.. For those two hours then you want to be with
the apostles, the prophets and the priests in the city of the
ministers?' During all this talk I was bowing my head in shame
but I tried to overcome my bashfulness and dared to ask the

- But I see in the city some of my colleagues the teachers of the
Sunday Schools who did the same service like me'
- Here, the angel replied, 'No, they are not like you.. Though
they served one hour or more in the Sunday Schools, they
spent the whole week getting ready for that hour
.. They
spent much time preparing the lessons, the illustrative media,
and the means which would make the persons ministered to
desire to hear the lesson, and above all praying for all this..
They also gave much care to examine the state of each pupil
separately and to think of a way to reform him.. Add to this
their involvement in visiting those persons, and inventing useful
means to fill the time of those pupils during the week.. Besides
they had other concealed services which you do not know.
They considered the spiritual ministry their main work and other
worldly affairs as secondary.. This does not mean that they
neglected their responsibilities and worldly duties; No, for they
were very faithful and successful in performing them. Such
worldly affairs even comprised some service! Thus God
counted them consecrated'
- I wondered at these words and asked him, 'How can I be a
minister though I am busy with my worldly work?'.
- The angel replied, 'Perhaps, my brother, you have forgotten
the generality of the ministry! You ought to serve God at any
time and in any place
whether in the church, in the street,
amidst your family, in the place of your work or wherever you
go or exist..

There must be no separation between one's job and one's
ministry.. In the city of the ministers we have teachers who
were able to attract their Christian pupils to the Sunday Schools
and could reform them and gave them continuous care.. We
have also in the city, physicians who did not practice medicine
merely for profit but were concerned first of all about the health
of their patients whatever their financial condition was. They
sometimes treated the patient and sent him the medicine free.
They even established hospitals and dispensaries which offered
medical care free of charge.. We have also employees who
encouraged their colleagues to go to church, to confess and
partake of the holy sacraments.. There are also, engineers,
lawyers, artists, merchants and manufacturers.. who served God
while, practicing their works.. Where you like them?
I was ashamed of myself and gave no reply.. But the angel
continued blaming me severely,
- 'That was concerning your ministry within the scope of
your job.. What about serving your own family! Joshua
whom you see in the city said, "As for me and my house we will
serve the Lord"
(Josh. 24:15).. What about you? You did not
serve your family but rather disputed continually with them..
You failed to be ' a model for them to follow.. What did you do
for your friends, your neighbours and acquaintances? You used
to visit them on the Nativity and Easter days but never talked to
them about these occasions, about the new regeneration and the
rising from sin.. On the other hand, you took part in their
worldly joys and wasted many opportunities given to you to
serve them... Do you consider yourself-in spite of all this-a

I bowed my head in shame for the third time, but I tried to
give a reply saying,
-'But, my master the angel, you know I am of poor talents
and it was impossible for me to perform all this service.'
The angel was astonished at my words and seemed as if
hearing such a view for the first time. He addressed me sharply,
'Talents! Who said that without talents you cannot serve!
My brother, there is what is called silent preaching.. You were
not required to deliver a sermon but to be an example.. When
people look at your face they learn meekness, cheerfulness and
simplicity... When they hear you talking, they learn chastity,
truth and honesty.. When they deal with you they find leniency,
faithfulness, sacrifice and love of others. Thus they love you,
imitate you and become godly though you did not preach them
or deliver a sermon .. You could have prayed for them and your
prayers would have benefited them more than your preaching'
For the fourth time I felt ashamed and confused and could
not reply.. And again the angel continued , By silent preaching,
you ought to have avoided offences. You ought to have
refrained from any behaviour though it be innocent outwardly, if
people were to misunderstand it and be offended by it.. Thus,
you would have been blameless before God and people as the
Holy Bible tells us, putting before you the words of St. Paul the
" All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful"
(1 Cor. 6:12).

I contemplated on my life and found that in many cases I
made others-though unintentionally- sin.. Here the angel cut my
reflections saying leniently"
- 'This is not all... I want to tell you besides, that I pitied you
much, my dear human friend... I pitied you more when you
were in the world.. and particularly at the times you suffered
from self-righteousness.. As you looked at your numerous
services you thought of yourself an example of ministry while
you were not counted as a minister at all.. You may remember
many other faults you made.
For example, yours was a formal service.. You used to go to
the Sunday Schools as a weekly habit.. and to lead the prayers,
take down the names of the present and the absent, and give
prizes to the pupils who attended regularly and neglect the
absent as if he was not in your charge.. Your service was void
of the Spirit and love and so could not touch the hearts of the
children. Your words and acts were not coming from your
heart.., your chanting lacked the spirit of joy.., your prayers
were not humble, meditative or imploring and your orders
lacked the spirit of love.. Thus your service was not effective..
Even when you preached in the church, you did so because the
priest asked you, and you promised and had to fulfil your
promise.. Your main concern was to divide the subject into
sections and put them in order in such a form that might attract
the admiration more than gain the salvation of the souls.. Your
voice-though being loud, harmonious and clear-was cold and
had no life in it..

You felt happy when anyone praised you even though you
did not show this, but you were not concerned about whether
your words gave such a person new life or not..
Do you not see, my friend, that you served yourself rather
than God and people! Do you not remember that you
welcomed the service in famous great churches crowded with
people rather than the service in small unknown churches! This
is yet another evidence against you?
Moreover, your ministry lacked two things : the love for
the ministry and the love of those whom you ministered to..

As for the love of the ministry, it is evident in the words
of the Lord Jesus Christ
, "Blessed are those who hunger and
thirst for righteousness.."
(Matt. 5:6) Were you hungry and
thirsty for the salvation of the souls? Were you dreaming all the
week of the hour which you were to spend with your children at
the Sunday Schools? Did you feel pain for anyone who did not
come and longed to see him not calming down until you met
him and explained to him the lesson which he missed! As for
the second matter which is the love of those ministered to
Did you really love them, and love them to the end as the Lord
Jesus Christ did for His disciples? Did you feel compassion
upon and give them abounding kindness? And the pupils
themselves, did they love you likewise? Or were you all the
time rebuking and punishing them by not giving them prizes and
pictures? Who told you that this way was fit for reforming
them? Love, my dear the man, is the main basis for ministry..
Unless you love those whom you minister to, you will not be

able to serve them.. and unless they love you, they will not
benefit from you'
Here, my real self being revealed to me , I was ashamed but
the angel looked at me very sympathetically and lovingly and
- 'I want to tell you an important fact which is that you ought
to have spent a long time getting ready and filled up before
starting the ministry.. But because you started early without
having sufficient spiritual experience, you fell in many faults'
I looked at him inquiringly as if finding it hard for me to
make any faults while I was responsible for correcting the faults
of others.. The angel observing my look said,
- 'There was a boy whom you dismissed from the Sunday
Schools for his disobedience and for not following the
discipline; this made him more obstinate and led him to the
street and to wicked company.. Thus he became worse and
many serious harms befell him due to your behaviour..
especially after he had lost guidance and care.. Certainly you
were responsible for that because it was your responsibility,
- I answered the angel, 'But sir, he used to interrupt the
lesson and was a bad example for the others!"
Here the angel replied bitterly,
- 'Then, you dismissed him for that reason? Oh, you are
poor! Did the Lord Jesus Christ send you to call the righteous,
or the sinners, to repentance? Your blessed pupils, who were

the cause of your feeling self-righteousness, had their
blessedness from God.. He worked within them.. But this
naughty boy ought to have been taken care of by you.. For such
a type you were called by God.. I tell you plainly, had you
devoted all your efforts to reform that boy alone without doing
any other service, that would have been sufficient to let you
enter the city of the ministers.. You ought to have recognised
the value of that soul and ought to have had much long-
A minister of the Sunday Schools who lacks these two
qualities does not deserve to be a minister..'
- I said to the angel imploring, 'What do you think I ought to
have done for that boy?
- He answered: 'You ought to have served him as far as you
could.. to have examined his interior and dealt with him
according to his state.. You ought to have prayed much for
him.. and if you had done all this but it was useless, you ought
not to have dismissed him but sent him to another class..
Perhaps another minister would have succeeded to achieve what
you have failed to do.. If this solution had not been of any
benefit, you could have allocated one or more classes for such
naughty children where they could have had a special care
according to their condition.. Such children ought to have been
visited frequently and given sincere care making them near to
your hearts.. and not dismissing them in any case.. They were
not more wicked than Zacchaeus, the Samaritan woman or the
people of Nineveh in their bad state.. Who ministers to God
never knows despair as long as he has humility in prayers and a
loving heart.'

I regretted my past actions but the angel continued,
- 'There was another boy in your class who was absent for a
week or two and you did not visit him.. You behaved like an
official employee at the Sunday Schools and just wrote his name
down as an absentee.. The boy, seeing that you did not visit
him, came no longer and you, seizing the opportunity, wrote off
his name from your list'
At this point the angel looked firmly at me and said,
'Why did you not visit him?' I felt weak before him due to his
sharp voice and firm look, so I kept silent in fear.. But he
repeated the question more harshly this time, 'Why did you not
visit him?' I felt as if a storm was crushing my head and did not
reply while the angel trembled and said in agitation,
- 'His spiritual condition now arouses pity.. and if he
continues so, he will...'Here the angel's voice quivered, he
stopped a little, then said,
- 'I and many other angels pray for him that God may save
him.. However, if God responds to our prayers and sends him
another minister who may be honest and the boy is saved, you
will not be excused.'
His voice was faint and distressed.. I could not bear hearing
it.. so I felt everything revolving before my eyes and I fainted
and fell down..

When I came to myself I found the angel looking at me
compassionately.. This encouraged me to speak.. I said,
- 'Please forgive me sir, there were thirty boys' in my class
and I was not able to visit them all.'
- But he replied me, 'You also were tempted with the same
temptation.. that of the number of those whom you minister to?
God does not measure any service with the measure of the
numbers.. but rather by the number of those who are actually
renewed and saved.. I know it was difficult for you to take care
of thirty boys with respect to discipline, visits, care and teaching
It was even difficult for you to learn their names by heart.. You
could not say as the Lord Jesus Christ said, 'I know My sheep,
and am known by My own".
(John. 10:14). Why then did you
not confine your service to ten only for example?..'
Finding no answer for his question I preferred to keep silent..
But he continued,
- 'Do you know the main reason for your failure besides
what we have mentioned? It is self-reliance.. You forgot to fast
and pray for the ministry.. Your colleagues in the Sunday
Schools, who are now in the city of the ministers, used to pray
and to fast for their classes.. Every day they mentioned their
children before God asking Him for each of them separately..
They used to ask the father priests to raise prayers in a special
Mass for them.. Did you do that?
That was concerning your spiritual ministry.. What about
your material service? Did you consider it a secondary matter?
Did you not remember how the rich man perished because he

did not have compassion upon poor Lazarus? Did you not hear
the words of the Lord Jesus Christ addressed to those on the
left hand, "... I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was
thirsty... naked... sick... ".
(Matt. 25:42,43). What did you do
of all this? Did you not insist to have certain luxuries while
your brethren were in bad need for necessities? Did you not...'
I could not bear more and cried out in pain 'Please sir, stop..
I realise now that I was not deserving at all to enter the city of
the ministers. I was self-conceited.. to a far extent.. But now,
having known everything, I ask for another chance to behave as
a real honest minister'
The angel said to me, 'You had your chance but you did not
make good use of it.. Now your days on earth have ended..."
I entreated him and wept and begged but he looked at me
compassionately and lovingly, then left me alone and went away
while I was still crying out, 'I want another chance... I want
another chance' But he disappeared and I fell on my knees still
crying, 'I want another chance', everything turning around me
and 1 fainted again..
A long time had passed before I came to myself.. I opened
my eyes to find myself, to my great astonishment, alone in my
private room, stretched on my seat.. I looked around not
believing, I looked again but it was true..!
Oh, how merciful You are God! Is it true I have another
chance to be a good minister! I got up and raised my heart with
a deep thanksgiving prayer.. I decided to tell my brethren the
ministers everything to strive in order to deserve to enter the

city of the ministers. Thus, I took some papers and began to
write, 'It happened that night...'.

HIS OWN,.... " (JOHN. 16:32)
He Stood Alone:
He, the loving and kind-hearted, "went about doing good"
(Acts 10:38). He moved from one village to another and from
one city to the other, ".. preaching the gospel of the Kingdom,
and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease
among the people"
(Matt. 4:23).
However, he passed a life full of suffering. He was left alone
by all in His kindness He left none.. Thus He was alone in His
troubles and pains and faced oppression and persecution.. No
one defended Him or supported Him.. He had trodden the
winepress alone (Is. 63:3).
In the Garden in Gethsemane He prayed and spoke to the
Father earnestly "And His sweat became like great drops of
blood falling down to the ground"
(Luke 22:44).. He cried out
in agony, "Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me"
(Luke 22:42)... But, His disciples, who were His friends and

beloved ones,.. left Him alone and slept.. Three times did He
return to them and ask them to watch but they could not watch
one hour with Him (Matt. 26:38-45).
When He was arrested, His disciples were scattered, each to
his own and left Him alone as He had said before (John 16:32)..
And when He was questioned, no one defended Him though He
defended the most wicked sinners... In His passions, no one
came to comfort Him.. It is indeed a lesson we take from the
Lord when we find ourselves persecuted by others and left by
all, even by our disciples.. and find ourselves standing alone..
Not only in His passions was He left alone but throughout
His life also.. Once He was in the temple talking to the Jews
about giving them His flesh and Blood but many of His disciples
could not understand this; so, as St. John says, "From that time
many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
Then Jesus said to the twelve, `Do you also want to go away'"
(John. 6:66,7).
Another time, He invited some persons, but one of them
asked to be excused because he bought a piece of ground and
wanted to go and see it, the other asked to be excused because
he had bought five yoke of oxen and was going to test them..
And the third was busy because he had married. The three
made excuses though the invitation was for their own good
(Luke 14:18-20).
The time would fail me, dear brother, to tell you about the
Lord Jesus Christ who stood alone, "He came to His own and
His own did not receive Him"
(John. 1: 11)... He was the light

that "had come into the world and men loved darkness rather
than light"
(John. 3:19)..
All this took place in the past and still takes place now.. The
same old picture: the Lord Jesus Christ is standing, the world
involved in its pleasures, its delights and trifles, no one cares for
the Lord Christ, not even one.. No one sits at His feet as Mary
the sister of Martha did or leans on His bosom like John the son
of Zebedee or washes Hist feet like the woman who was a
sinner.. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself feels this loneliness and
knows that the majority are away from Him... He even wonders
saying, " ..when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith
on the earth?"
(Luke 1 8:8).
What about you, are you also leaving the Lord Jesus alone?
Is there anything taking you from Him? Ask yourself..
He Was Unique With His Thoughts:
Few only thought of Christ.. Even those who thought of
Him, talked with Him and listened to Him, those also had their
own way of thinking which opposed that of the Good Teacher..
When the Lord went to a village of the Samaritans and they
did not receive Him in that sinful city, the two disciples that
were with Him (James and John) said to Him, "Lord, do You
want us to command fire to come down from heaven and
consume them.."!
But He rebuked them and said, "You do not
know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did
not come to destroy men's lives but to save them"
(Luke 9:52-

Those two disciples were thinking in a way which differed
from that of their Good Teacher because He knew that He had
many chosen in that city.
This feeling of enmity towards the Samaritans was implanted
within the disciples from their contemporaries the Pharisees, the
Scribes and the others... But the Lord Christ was unique in His
way of thinking.. He loved the Samaritans, pitied them and
wanted to attract them to Himself... So, He told the people
about the good Samaritan, and walked a long distance to
restore the Samaritan woman who was a sinner.. He talked to
the people of that city also..
The Lord had His own way of thinking concerning the
gentiles as well.. Those were despised by the Jews but the Lord
Jesus Christ praised the Roman centurion openly saying,
"Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not
even in Israel!"
(Matt. 8:10). He praised also the faith of the
woman of Canaan (Matt. 15:28).
In dealing with others, the Lord often had His own way
while all others had a different way..
When the Jews gathered around a woman caught in adultery,
in the very act, wishing-with one thought-to stone her; He was
thinking in a different way, He said to them, "He who is without
sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first"
(John 8:7).
So, all of them withdrew and He said to the woman, "Neither
do I condemn you ; go and sin no more"
(Matt. 8:11).

The Lord Jesus Christ was alone with His loving heart while
the world, the cruel world which cared only for appearances,
was amazed at Him... This is quite evident from the following
two events: (The two blind men, and the children).
Once, the Lord was departing from Jericho, when two blind
men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by cried
out, saying, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David".. Here,
the multitude with their worldly thoughts feared that their cries
would disturb the Lord of Glory, so they warned the blind men
that they should be quiet.. But the Lord Jesus, the kind-hearted,
called them and opened their eyes (Matt. 20:29-34). He does
not get annoyed because of the cries of the people or their
requests as others do.
The same happened when one day the children surrounded
Him.. The disciples rebuked them thinking that He might be
annoyed.. But He said, "Let the little children come to Me, and
do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven"
(Matt. 19:14).
He Understood The Ministry In A Unique Way:
While all the people thought that the Lord came to rule over
Israel as a sovereign king who would deliver the Jews from the
persecution of the Romans.., the Lord Himself was thinking of a
spiritual kingdom by which He would rule over the hearts of the
people.. He told them on many occasions, "My Kingdom is not
of this world"
(John 18:36).

Thus, He understood the ministry to be a cross carried by
the one who ministers along a land wet with sweat and tears...
But such thoughts were not grasped even by the disciples..
So, we find that when He began to show His disciples that
He had to go to Jerusalem, to be delivered to the hands of the
people and be killed and buried, Peter the Apostle took Him
aside and began to rebuke Him, saying "Far be it from You,
Lord; this shall not happen to You!" But the Lord-glory be to
Him-turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan!"
(Matt. 16:22,23).
I wonder how the world would have been saved, had the
Lord followed the advice of the poor Peter the Apostle.!
On another occasion, while the Lord was putting before Him
the cross, the disciples were discussing among themselves who
would be first..! Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to
Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking Him that the two
sons might sit, one on His right hand and the other on the left in
His Kingdom! But the Lord trying to explain to them the true
concept of ministry, said, "You do not know what you ask. Are
you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be
baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with?"
(Matt. 20:20-22).
The Lord was unique in His knowledge of the true ministry..
When He received the multitudes and spoke to them the words
of grace for long hours, the disciples came to Him, when the
day began to wear away, saying, "Send the multitudes away,
that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food"
(Luke 9:12, Matt:14:16).. The disciples were not yet mature in

their thoughts... It seems that they thought the ministry was
mere words said to the people! not love shown through works!
So, the Lord replied, "They do not need to go away. You give
them something to eat".
He Was Serving Alone:
The world is crowded with those who serve it.. and even
those who rival each other.. Every enterpriser finds many to join
him and assist him.. while the Lord-glory be to Him-is standing
alone.. He said twenty centuries ago and still says "The harvest
truly is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Therefore pray the
Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest"
(Matt. 9:37,8). No one assists the Lord in His work, everyone
says, "Am I my brothers' keeper?" (Gen. 4:9).
Dear brother, here are some cases * * I have seen myself...
� A family consisting of a poor woman and her husband
and eight children.. The eldest was a rash youth and the next
one was a young lad.. The income of the family did not exceed
a few cents which the husband earned from selling lemons or
something alike and which sufficed only for some bread which
did not fill the hunger of the children.. They often had nothing
to eat and the mother carried some of them to an orphanage or
benevolent institution to beg some food for them. I need not tell
you also about their clothes which covered only a little of their
bodies.. God knows how they could bear the cold of the winter
and the heat of the summer!.. Add to this the rent of the room

* Theses cases happened in the late forties and early fifties.

Where they lived and which they often were not able to pay and
thus had to face the insults and curses from the house owner
and threats to turn them out.
� Another woman, a widow and her children, who worked as a
seamstress for a religious institution.. She fell ill for two
months-perhaps for being weak due to malnutrition and as a
result the institution dismissed her.. I do not know how she
found medical treatment or how did she get the cost of the
medicine.. but when she became well she found herself alone
surrounded only by darkness.
� A third example, a young widow with two children who
lived in a humble damp room downstairs for which she paid
thirty cents as a rent. They were liable to have tuberculosis
and other diseases.. Moreover, she was liable to abandon her
faith, to fall in corruption and deviate.. How would she earn
her living then? Would she work as a washerwoman? But
she was weak because of malnutrition and could find no one
to employ her..
There are many similar instances but the Lord Jesus Christ
stands alone taking care of all, giving them food, relieving them
of their pains, comforting them and teaching them patience and
long-suffering.. He wants some of us to share with Him the
honour of such a service though we are sinners... However, He
finds the harvest truly plentiful and the labourers few.. He finds
all of us scattered, each to his own leaving Him alone..

Who Suffers The Loss Of Leaving Him Alone:
Not the Lord Jesus Christ of course, because He is not alone
but the Father is with Him.. Besides He is not in need of our
being His servants but we are in need of having Him as our
When He calls us to stand beside Him in His loneliness, He
seeks our good because "If God is for us, who can be against
(Rom. 8:31).. Certainly who walks with Christ will find a
spiritual pleasure. Therefore it is said, "I sat down in his shade
with great delight"
(Song 2:3). With the Lord one fears no evil
as the psalmist says, "..though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me, Your
rod and Your staff, they comfort me."
(Ps. 23:4) and also,
"Though war should rise against me, in this I will be confident"
(Ps. 27:3).
Behold, Christ is still standing at the door and knocking,
waiting for you to open that He may come in to you and dine
with you and you with Him (Rev. 3:20).
Do you still insist to leave Him standing alone.?


"In the beginning God created the
heavens and the earth. The earth was
without form and void; and darkness
was on the face of the deep. And the
Spirit of God was hovering over the
face of the waters. Then God said,
`Let there be light'; and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was
good; and God divided the light from
the darkness. God called the light Day,
and the darkness He called Night.
So the evening and the morning werethe
first day."
(Gen. 1:1 -5).
O Lord, You did not say, 'Let there be no darkness' but
You said, 'Let there be light' and there was light, but the
darkness remained and both existed together..

Why did You not put an end to the darkness since You
found that the light was good? Why did You keep it? Why
did You give it a name? And why did You give it power as
You said, "But this is your hour, and the power of
darkness" !


Why did You not make all the times day and light being
Yourself the true Light, the unapproachable Light! Why did
You allow the darkness to exist and be loved by people ' rather
than the light? You could have abolished the darkness entirely
as if it had not come into existence or could have prevented its
existence... Yet, You let it be though it does not conform with
Your nature. For what reason did You do that?
You let the tares and the wheat grow together until the
time of harvest when the tares would be burnt.. Does the
darkness also have time in which it will end?,
at which time
the sons of light will live in the light which they were unable to
approach while they were in the darkness? But is it not true
that the wicked will remain for ever in the outer darkness?
Then the outer darkness is also eternal! but certainly it is
outside the heavenly Jerusalem, far from God's children and a
deep pit separates them..
When did the darkness come into being?
"..darkness was on the face of the deep". This was in the
very beginning of creation, before God said, "Let there be
light"! Since when then?

When God was alone in eternity, there was no darkness
because there was nothing at all.. God was alone.. and He is
Light.. Then the darkness came into being? When did this
take place?, and how?, and for what reason? Please God,
give me an answer for I do not know...

Did darkness precede light in the process of creation? What
is the relation between this and the theory of nebula? No doubt

light came first.. while darkness-as a physical phenomenon-
came into being as a result of the effect of the heat of the solar
system on the face of the deep.. Thus, the vast waters
evaporated quickly and this formed a thick layer of mist which
veiled the light of the nebula.. So, there was darkness...
However I do not like to think in such a material way but I shall
meditate on the light in a spiritual way as I ought to do...
"..darkness was on the face of the deep".. This means that there
was the deep. (ie. the waters), the earth and the darkness..
Neither the earth nor the waters knew God.. was
darkness ignorance concerning God?

The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters
but the waters did not recognise Him; was that what the apostle
meant by saying, "And the light shines in the darkness, and the
darkness did not comprehend it"
(John. 1:5)? Then God said,
"Let there be light" and there was light.. Was that light" the
motive behind the beautiful verse which says, "The heavens
declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His
(Ps. 19:1) ?
Was that the first light that entered into the world? But
though it existed, the darkness did not end.. Why then was there
darkness? O Lord, I do want to know.. Please let me
understand.. Enlighten my mind and my heart to grasp Your
words which give life...
There are other lights as well.. The sun, the moon and the
stars are said to be lights..; the Lord said to His disciples, "You
are the light of the world", the Son (God Incarnate) is Light out

of Light, He dwelt among us and we beheld His glory.. The
Father whom no one has ever seen is then the unapproachable,
Light.. Man's acceptance of God's action within him is called
enlightenment.. Good in general is called light; righteousness,
wisdom and knowledge are called lights as well..
In the beginning God created the light as a physical
substance recognised by the senses... and God saw that the light
was good.. But this light was the inferior degree of light, for
there is another light which works in the living creation until it
finds the person who can, through the Spirit, attain God
Himself.. What is the nature of such light found in all kinds of
plants and animals? How do they differ from the inanimate
creation and surpass it? What is the relation of this creation
with God before and after the creation of man ? God is the
Light; He pours from His light upon the nature to be
illuminated, and upon the mind, the soul, the senses and the
spirit to have light.. But their light comes from the abundance of
His light not from the essence of His light.. The same can be
said concerning life.. God is the life..; He gave life to His
creation, but this life is from His abundance not from His
essence.. God is also an intellect and Spirit.., He gave man
intellect and spirit as a gift of His abundance not of His
essence... and so on..
But why did God see that the light was good? That is
because it conforms to His nature... God is the Light and no
darkness is in Him.. nor does He exist in the darkness otherwise
it will be light.. Moreover, those who submit to darkness, will
be cast into the outer darkness which means, will be far from
enjoying God's presence..

Now, I'd like to ask, since God has divided the light from the
darkness, how did it enter into man? How did it take a firm
hold of him? How did man come to love it rather than the
light? I leave the answer to these questions and the like to the
meditation of everyone of us...


O Lord, it is indeed a blessed hour when I sit alone with
myself.. When I do sit alone with myself, it is in fact with You I
sit because You are within me though I don't see You . This is
not strange, for You were in the world but the world did not
know You...
One of my great sins when I was living in the world was
avoiding to sit alone with myself.
I had no time to sit alone with myself or more truly, I wasted
the time You gave me, my Lord .Oh, for my foolishness, during
such times, I sought a new involvement or a new responsibility
to fill my time! as if sitting with myself was laziness!
When I was in the world I was aware - from a theoretical
point of view-of the importance of being alone with oneself, but
in practice I gave no heed to this... I would rather say that the
devil did not allow me to do so for I was always busy,
continually busy..
Therefore, O Lord, I was not aware of the treasure within
me which is You..

When I sometimes did sit alone with myself, and did see a
glimpse of that shining treasure, I used to conceal it under the
pretext that I wanted a longer time to be alone with it.. In fact I
wanted to go first to bury my father, to see my land and test my
But at last, Lord, when You did allow me on a certain day
which I cannot remember exactly, to sit alone with myself a
long calm time, I discovered the treasure that was hidden within
me. Only then I sold everything and bought that treasure which
is You.. And since that time I had You for myself..
Here I confess to You, my Lord:
Each time I sit alone with myself I feel that myself is more
precious than the whole world as You have said, 'For what will
it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own
(Mark 8:36).
And whenever I feel the value of myself, I look disdainfully
upon the world and take from You the power to renounce
everything.. And when I do renounce everything I look and find
You before me encouraging me with Your words, "Do not fear,
for I am with you"
(Gen. 26:24).
Whenever I sit with myself, O Lord, and discover its interior
and see what the strangers within it dared to do defiling your
holies in it.. I confess to You everything and ask You to deliver
me from the hand of foreigners.. The time passes quickly and I
still have many things to tell You and to tell myself.. Thus my
human comfort seems of little value.. I do not seek the
company of others to have pleasure but rather have comfort in

loneliness, seclusion and calmness. This does not deprive me of
being alone with myself which is very necessary for me and
which creates within me humiliation and purity..
Sometimes, my Lord, when I sit with myself and examine it
more profoundly, I find in the corners serpents and scorpions
lying and resting within me.. They rather try to eat my very
heart silently or stealthily and spit their venom into my blood,
my thoughts and my feelings without being aware...
When I look at these serpents and scorpions they wake up
and bite or sting my conscience, so I leave them asleep so that
they may not make me suffer! But what is the use of leaving
them so and closing my eyes in order not to see them and feel at
rest! In fact I deceive myself and escape from it...
Is it not better to bring those serpents to light and fight
them? O Lord, have mercy upon me for I am weak and I am
aware of my weakness and inability to fight even the least of
them... It is better for me to reveal them to You, my Lord, that
You may fight for me, "You will stretch out Your hand against
the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me"
(Ps. 138:7).
When I sit alone with myself, O Lord, I discover my reality
and recognise that I am dust and ashes in Your presence.. So I
am humiliated and feel that the glory of the world is just a false
outer paint which cannot change the self in any way...
When I sit alone with myself and feel how weak it is, I hold
more fast to You realising that without You I can do nothing..
And the more I hold fast to You, the more You reveal Yourself

to me so I can see how fairer You are than the sons of men..
This makes me love You and love to sit with You rather than to
sit with people... Each time I discover something new about
You and my soul clings more to You...
Please, Lord, help me to leave people and be concerned
more about myself to attach myself to You.. Then help me to
forget myself and make You my only concern...


O Lord, It is not I who come to You, for I do not know the
way well.. My mind is limited and my soul restricted.. I am
still in the flesh hindered by many things such as my lusts and
desires.. My will sometimes stands in my way when I want to
come to You!!
O Lord, I am also busy with things not pertaining to You!
Many interests hinder me.. but, due to my great misery and
foolishness, I do not try to rid myself of these interests but on
the contrary I add to them every day.. So, it is You Lord who is
able to come to me.. Come Lord, reveal to me Yourself and
visit me who am a son or a servant.. You are all love.. You are
even Love itself..
O Lord, it is not I who build for you a place in my heart to
dwell in because "Unless the Lord builds the house, they
labour in vain who build it."
(Ps. 127:1) ... Who am I to build
for You a holy temple that Your Spirit may dwell within me? It
is You Lord who built Jerusalem.. Come and do not wait for
me.. lest You should wait and I come not...
I cannot know You by myself. O Lord, it is not through
any effort on my side but through Your help... not through my

power but through Your grace.. You reveal to me Yourself in
Your love...
But You will not reveal to me Yourself unless I love You..
Tell me then how can I love You unless You reveal to me
Yourself.. So, please reveal Yourself to me so that my love for
You may increase... because the more I see of You, the more I
love You and the more I am attached to You... For how can a
person love truly another being whom he does not know
anything about nor has seen him or has only mysterious
knowledge of him?
So, I pray to you to reveal to me Yourself for this is the only
source by which means I can know You truly.. not through the
others or through books but as the apostle said, ".. we have
seen with our eyes.. and our hands have handled.."
(I John. 1:
I cannot know You through perfect knowledge through.
books or through those who knew you, for even those cannot
describe the inexpressible attributes which they saw in You and
which no tongue can utter.. All that they can do is to fill the
person who hears or reads about You with longing saying to
him, "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good " (Ps. 34:8)... But
they cannot give a clear idea about our true nature! it is out of
their power..
However, If You, Lord, do reveal to me Yourself how
would I see Your countenance since without holiness no one
can see the Lord!
Holiness is beyond my ability because they
have increased who trouble me and prevailed over me.. I am

weak before all of them, the world, the flesh, the devil the
desires, the lusts and the thoughts..
I often fall and stumble.. Holiness is a dream which I long to
have realised but how can I attain this! Does this mean that I
shall never see You! Please, Lord, give me that purity of heart
by which I can see Your countenance.. "Purge me with hyssop,
and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than
(Ps. 51:7).


Why do I pray? Why do I fast? Why do I seek seclusion?
And why do I read?
Is it in order to be a man of prayers, or fasting or to be
known as a lover of seclusion or a man of knowledge?
Do I like to be a worshipper? Is this a lust I have for a
certain purpose?
Do I want to be exalted or to see myself a great man and the
means is to succeed and surpass the others along this way?
Am I concerned about myself; what is my position? How can I
attain it and when? How can I be promoted?
Do I really love God Himself or the way which leads me
to Him?

For example, do I love prayers or love God to whom I pray?
Sometimes I notice many imperfections in me:

When I recite all the psalms required from me, I feel happy..
not because I was talking with God but because this proves that
I am successful in performing my worship duties as a monk!!
On the other hand when I fail to recite all the required psalms I
feel sorry... not because I did not enjoy talking with God but
because I am unsuccessful monk... I feel the same regarding my
fasting, my watching and my readings..!
It is absolutely a personal matter.. it is an evident selfishness
which fills me with the desire to be exalted in my own eyes
irrespective of my relation with God'!
When will the time come when I do not pray even one
psalm, yet I feel happy because in spite of this I am abiding in
God through other means of worship?
Do I pray to feel the pleasure and enjoyment of talking with
You and to feel the happiness of being in Your presence? Or
do I pray so that I may acquire a virtue by which I attain eternal
life? Perhaps I do pray to talk with You and ask You to give
me that life?
Is the prayer-from my own point of view-an objective or just
a means?
For example when one interrupts my privacy and my prayer
I rage against him, I lose my internal peace and I lose my peace
with people. Consequently I feel disturbed within me and lose
my peace with God also.. This means that the prayer is an
objective not a means and in order to attain this objective I must
deviate and behave in a wrong way!!

Worship is just a way that leads to God.. but God is the
aim.. Love is a way, ministry is a way but the aim is one
ie. God..
Why then do we lose God in order to keep Him! and the
way that leads to Him is in the form of desire!
Let us then love the way not because it is desirable-for it is
indeed so-but because it leads us to God.. Let us hurry along
the way and cross it quickly to arrive to Him..
It is perfection to make God Himself our way because He
Himself is the way as He said (John. 14:6)


This article is not for everybody. It
represents a certain spiritual level and
anyone who does not attain such a level
cannot benefit of it.
O Lord, it is my nature to interfere always with things not
pertaining to me.. I do not mean with the affairs of others and
how they behave or how You act towards them though I
sometimes fall in this mistake.. but I mean I interfere with my
own affairs.. In fact my own affairs do not concern me but
rather concern You!
My self is not my own.. it is Yours.. You have bought it
with Your precious blood
, so it became Your own - I no
longer have the right to interfere with its affairs because You
take care of it according to Your good holy will.. I have to
look and give glory to You.
When shall I stop to interfere with my own affairs and leave
this to You.. wherever You lead me I go.. and however You
change me I turn to be? When shall I be satisfied with what
You chose for me and not press on to change it as if You were
not seeking my benefit?

When will my prayer turn from requests into thanksgiving?
Or when shall I find nothing to require because there is nothing
better than what I actually have?
When will the time come when my only work will be to do
nothing but leave myself in Your hands and forget myself there..
and to remember nothing but those hands that made me and
formed me, those hands that whoever they touched was healed..
When shall I have full faith in You that I may trust my life
into Your hands to manage it as You will.. because You are the
benevolent.. Then I shall not interfere with Your work or watch
secretly what You will do for me and how!! or think whether
Your action is acceptable or not!! and whether I ought to
interfere or not!
Ah, my Lord, how rude I am towards You! Though I am
ignorant I interfere with Your wise actions trying to stop them
and carry out my foolish counsel!! It would have been wise of
me had I kept silent and looked as a spectator not as a partner..
Then I would have seen wonders of Your wisdom...
O Lord, I think much of myself and not a little of you.. I
trust myself very much and does not trust You even a little.. My
self is my idol.. when will it be broken that I may worship You
truly? Since I cannot break this idol by myself because it is
beautiful in my eyes and beloved by me.. please Lord, destroy it
Yourself.. Then there will be none to rival You in my heart..
Thus I love You.. and there will be no rival for You in my faith..
thus I worship You..

O Lord, if I think of You as far as I think of myself.., if I
depend upon You as far as I depend upon my own power.., if I
do love You so much as I love myself.., then I shall be like
those saints who denied themselves to know
When will You, Lord, release me of the self When? not to be
a saint but to find You..
When will You bring my soul out of prison and let Your
servant depart in peace? (Ps. 142:7, Luke 2:29). When shall I
lose myself for Your sake that I may find You? Then I shall
find myself again in You.. When shall I destroy myself for Your
sake? then it will have life through You.. When shall I look
upon myself and find it not but find You? When shall I look at
myself and see You? When shall I look upon the world, upon
people and see You? When will You be for me all in all and no
one else?
"They will perish but You remain; and they will all grow old
like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will
be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not
(Heb. 1:1 1, 12).
I was told to know myself and to go deep into myself.. but,
my Lord, this self is the cause of all my troubles.. When shall I
go into myself and find it not!
How often did I look and find myself hung motionless on the
cross.. but when I looked more attentively I saw You and I felt
happy.. I was not happy because I shall inherit the Kingdom but
because I found You..

I think that I shall find You every time only there, in the
valley of the shadow of death.. because though I walk there 'I
will fear no evil, for You are with me"
(Ps. 23:4).. You created
us to have life but through our sinning we chose death for
ourselves.. However, You, who are simple and everything is
chaste before You, You sanctified death and made it a way to
life!! Yea, the only gate to life.. for You say, "He who finds his
life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find
(Matt. 10:39), and, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let
him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me"
(Matt. 16:24).
In the first year of my monastic life, I read from some of
Your saints that monasticism is to be released from all and
attached to the One.. So, as far as I could, I was secluded away
from the world and people but this did not lead me to be
attached to You.. Perhaps the reason is that I did not choose
seclusion for Your sake, but for my own sake.. so that I might
be content with myself or gain people's approval...
In the second year I understood the release from all in
another way.. ie. to be released from myself because it was for
me all in all..
I wonder how shall I understand these words in the following
years? I do not know.. I would hope that I forget them and
forget thinking about their meaning because of being occupied
with You..
When I met with the brethren in the monastery, I used to say
that our meeting here on earth hindered us from being occupied

with God.. and perhaps would prevent us from meeting
together with Him in eternity! But now, I would rather say
that sitting with myself hinders
me more!
I feel from time to time when I sit alone with myself in need
to say to it, 'Leave me now, for this is good for us' Leave me so
that I may be alone with God and deserve to enjoy His promises
"to abide in Him".. Only then I can sit, not with myself, but
with God who abides in me..


O Lord, You are present.. the weak are aware of Your
presence and feel comfort... while the strong tremble when they
remember that You are present.. Therefore the words "Our
Lord is present" give delight and fear, give comfort as well as
However, in spite of Your presence many people are not
aware of it.. An example of those is Solomon the Wise who
said, "Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is
done under the sun: And look! The tears of the oppressed, but
they have no comforter..."
(Eccl. 4:1). Why then, O Lord, do
You look and keep silent?
O Lord, show us Your mercy; give evidence of Your
presence. Do not let them reproach us saying, "Where is the
Lord your God?" Why, Lord, do You wait till the last watch of
the night while the disciples are troubled in the boat and the
waves beating fiercely into it? Why do You wait though the
Holy Bible says that You will come and will not tarry?

* * This article was published in 1965

Make haste O Lord, make haste .. Even David the Prophet,
complained of this tarrying and said, "Make haste, O God, to
deliver me! make haste to help me, O Lord!... You are my help
and my deliverer; O Lord, do not' delay."
(Ps. 70: 1,5).
We know that Your mercy will come, and that it is not for
us to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His
own authority (Acts 1:7). So we shall wait always as the
psalmist said,
"My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for
the morning"
(Ps. 130: 6)..
Here we are waiting, O Lord, with full confidence of Your
presence. We are sure that You will act, powerfully, wisely and
in the proper time which Your limitless loving kindness will
determine.. We have before us the beautiful words of our Lord
Jesus Christ, "My Father has been working until now, and I
have been working" John. 5.1 7
Work then, Lord; work for Your love , justice and
goodness.. Work, that people may have rest and deliver their
lives into Your hands... Then, they will meditate silently on
Your action or chant while meditating-this beautiful song, "The
Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace"
(Ex. 14:14).
They will meditate on Your works and sing in confidence
saying, "Our Lord is present". Yes', truly "Our Lord is

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