"Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures."
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
THE FIRST AND GREATEST MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL is that it was not
written for those of a regular, human mindset. The Gospel is the Word of God, not
the word of men, so if the mind is set on the level of the Word then the Gospel becomes
understandable and readable according to the truth. The natural mind does not
comprehend what is of God, so what Paul the Apostle says is appropriate, “not everyone has faith.”1 Faith is the fruit of a mind opened by God to understand the Word of God.
Opening of the mind means it has acquired the mystery of God which he gives to his
chosen ones who persistently pursue faith.
This is the work of the Holy Spirit because the Father and Son do their work by way
of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Spirit is the greatest preparation for faith in Christ,
for he explains the Word and clothes it with light so that it no longer remains a riddle
requiring a solution, rather a light shining before the mind so that without striving it
understands every enigma. The Gospel requires no striving from man except that of
perseverance, for to those who persevere in the reading of the Word, the understanding
of it opens up within the mind, so man reads and takes delight in it. The words of the
Gospel are living and life-giving because the Word of God is written by the Spirit of
God. Opening of the mind comes not through intelligence, acumen or skill, but by the
Spirit flowing from the Word of God into the depths of the soul and spirit so that man
flourishes, for he has obtained the elixir of life.
Paul the Apostle described this as the delightful fragrance of God, which is an
expression of the Gospel that enlivens the spirit because it is from the Spirit of God.2
Opening of the mind means receiving divine and mysterious energy that reveals the
truth in the words, and truth is light and life. In the beginning a man will stumble over
the meaning of the words; they stand before him as if they are riddles. But then God in
his tenderness gracefully leads him to understanding and the mind is opened as if by
light. The words appear in clarity and are understandable and delicious, so that he no
longer finds the reading of the Gospel unpleasant. Rather, he comes to it with
enthusiasm, passion and desire.
The disciples in the beginning stumbled over the words of Christ. They asked him to
help them and to explain to them, until the Spirit of God settled within them, and they
became fluent and skillful in their words and in expressing the power of the Spirit in
them, so that all who knew them were amazed, “Are not all these men who are speaking
Galileans?”3 That is, these are farmers and fishermen and are not well-educated. When
they received the Holy Spirit they perplexed the scribes, Pharisees and priests by their
knowledge. The people were amazed at them and eventually learned they had been with
Jesus. It became clear that the words of Christ are true: “I am the light of the world,”4 “I
am the truth,” and “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”5 The disciples and
all who heard Christ “were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given”6 all
of this learning, knowledge and healing. Christ was so very true, for he handed over to the disciples his own spirit and relationship with the Holy Spirit, so they became
teachers who bewildered the scribes, Pharisees and even the priests.
In this way the disciples, like their teacher, became a beacon of instruction and of
passing it on to others, so Christ ensured that the message would continue and spread.
1 2 Thess 3:2.
2 See 2Cor 2:14.
3 Acts 2:7.
4 John 8:12.
5 John 8:36.
6 Matt 9:8.
Father Matta El-Meskeen
The Holy Spirit and the Word
(His Role as Witness, Speaker and Agent)
THE HOLY SPIRIT proceeds or emanates from the Father. In this emanation, the Holy Spirit
carries energy and movement to the entire creation. His course through the world is characterized
by precision and order. He brings to man in particular a spiritual creative power derived from
man’s being created in the image of God. This power consists of freedom, understanding and
wisdom. It is conveyed to man in various ways. First, it is conveyed directly in a mystical
manner. Here, the essence of the power is not apprehended by the recipient, but received as a gift
from God. Secondly, it is conveyed through the sacraments of the church and the intermediary of
the priest, through prayer and faith. This is also rightly considered a mystical conveyance of the
power, however, it is not conveyed directly as in the first case. Finally, this power may be
conveyed through the word as we assimilate the acts of the Spirit through the mind, the will and
It is through the Holy Spirit which we receive all the gifts of God. Without his mediation, we
could receive nothing from God. It is also through the Holy Spirit that we present our acts of
worship to God. Without the Spirit’s effusion of grace upon us, all our works would be
worthless: “So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy
servants; we have only done what was our duty’ ” (Lk 17:10). The Holy Spirit sanctifies our
works, purifying them from the element of the flesh, as we call upon him to complete these
works by his grace. It is in this way that man finds grace from God: “God is spirit and those who
worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:24).
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