||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

 

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruitófruit that will last.

Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other."

 

 

John 15:16-17

Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)


 

HE FOUNDATION OF FAITH in Christ is an invitation by which Christ previously

called us. When we come to him and believe, we think to ourselves that we have

chosen Christ. But the established theological truth is that our names were known from

before time, and when the time of the covenant and grace comes Christ reveals his

invitation, which is also Godís invitation, ĎYou did not (initially) choose me, but I chose

you Öto go Ö and bear fruit that will last.í

It is in Christ that God chooses us, and without Christ no one at all would be

chosen. We also know that, in advance, God prepared good works for us the chosen

ones to do.1 This does not mean we ourselves have no work or choice. On the contrary,

we are required to receive and be content and happy with the will of God by which our

choosing took place before time and the creation of the world.2

The one who does not give God his heart, life, will and conscience, gratefully

worshiping in obedience to Godís choice, loses this choosing and falls into disobedience

to God. He joins the side of the enemies of God, which faces terrifying condemnation

and eternal punishment.3

Even if we accept Godís choosing of us and enter into faith in God and Christ, but

then do not bear the fruit of the chosen that pleases God, He deals with us as if we have

rejected the choice. The thing that shows we are chosen and that our choosing is

acceptable to God is when we answer the divine choice from the heart with a choice of

our will. We express it in love, which is the first and greatest and most precious of the

works of the choice. The richest of the works and will of man that bring joy to Godís

heart is love for God in spirit and truth, without falsehood or hypocrisy. In itself, love

for God with a sincere heart and a soul submitted and obedient, is the greatest sacrifice

and which extends from the greatness of the love of the Son for God. The value of the

love of the Son for God was shown by Christ on his cross, in sonly obedience to the

point of death.4 Its price was the exaltation of glory, the triumphant resurrection over the

world and the Sonís entrance into his glory and kingdom.

We remember the cross as the greatest sign of love to the Father so that we draw

from it our love. Our love for God the Father is in the crucifixion of self to the

temptations of the world, for the chosen are those crucified to the world and who have

crucified the world to them.

They have crucified their fleshly desires and lusts and have rejected the urging of the

flesh toward cheap pleasure and destructive comfort. They have preferred life with

Christ more than all the treasures of the world which are passing away. The one chosen

by God and Christ is able to recognize that everything in the world is passing away and

fleeting along with the rejected prince of this world and the enemy of God. On the

contrary, the fruit of those chosen in the Spirit and love does not spoil; rather, it obtains

the fullness of the new heavens and the new earth. Those chosen, whose fruit is

established and eternal and whose hearts are filled with the love of God, are

distinguished by the fact that God answers their requests. This is because Godís glory is

contained within their requests, as well as a testimony to his tender fatherhood.5 The

divine mark of the chosen is their love for one another, for love in itself is a gift from

God which he pours into the hearts of his chosen ones. It bears fruit and multiplies and

fills the world, so that the children of God will all live in the love of God.

July 25, 2005

4 See Phil. 2:8.

5 See John 14:13.

 

 

 

 

 

1 See Ephesians 2:10.

2 See Ephesians 1:4.

3 See Heb 10:29-31.

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