†ďBut we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.Ē
The Second Epistle to the Corinthians 3:18
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
THE LAW, physical commandments, and rites of the Old Testament were as a veil hiding the true glory of God, suggesting to those who follow it that they were seeing God and speaking to Him. As Moses was very close to God, and due to his exceptional obedience not restricting himself to matters of the law, it was given him to see God and the light of Godís grace mirrored in his face. Godís people revered Moses and were afraid of him, so they cried out asking him to cover his face with a veil so as to hide the light of Godís glory reflected upon him. Moses agreed and placed a veil on his face so that the people would not look at the light of Godís glory reflected in him.
The Apostle Paul found it was the Law and commandments the people had received that hid the light of Godís glory from the people of Israel.1
When Christ, the Son of God, came and was incarnate, Godís glory became ever present through Christís presence. But once again the peopleís preoccupation with the law and corporal commandments, instead of with Christís presence, was exactly like wearing a veil. Consequently Christís light and glory were hidden from them.
It is for that reason that the Apostle Paul reiterated his call to Godís people not to return to the physical commandments and rites they had created, and which had hid them from the light of the glory of God shinning in Jesus Christís face. Because whoever looks with the revealing spiritual look in Jesusí face, the light of Christ will be reflected in him as if looking into a mirror! He will thus see Christís face reflected in his face, or rather he will not see his own face but will see the light of the face of Christ!
The truth of the matter is that Godís light, Christís light, is a true light. Any preoccupation or looking to oneís ego or to worldly matters, behind which the devil hides himself, will immediately hide from man the true light and Christís face of glory will disappear. In the same way he who is distracted by rites and old customs in the belief that through them he pleases God, the light is hidden from him on the spot. Why? Because rites and old customs are created with the body, and peopleís concern with them is restricted to their form and letter without looking to the essence of Divine truth that is attached to the being of Christ and firm faith in Him.
We do not call for the annulment of rites and old customs because they were handed down to us by the Lord and the saints. We rather call for rites and old customs not to be limited to the physical approach and instead to spring from them spiritually in the freedom of truth and faith that is the only essence of Christianity. This is what St Paul declares to remove the old veil from our hearts, faces and consciences and enter freely into the glory of Godís children. Soon after the light of the face of Christ will be reflected in us without obstruction.
Thus from within the rites and old customs the truth of Christ will be revealed, and His glory will be reflected in us when these rites are no more an obstacle to the freedom of the glory of Godís children, but turning them into a hymn elevating the spirit and conscience before Godís throne. Because we, through a strong searching spiritual look, will see the angels and heavenly hosts themselves controlled by a certain system and certain rites they adhere to. Truth, light and life will appear in it with praises lasting eternally.
From whom did we learn Mass? Is it not from the heavenly seraphim saying: ďHoly, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!Ē2
We are called in the Kingdom to learn Mosesí hymn and the hymn of the Ďhostsí, heavenly rites that should not be divulged. We will also be called with the twenty four elders to learn constant worshipping, and to lay wreaths at Christís feet, with ceaseless cries continually confessing the slaughtered lambís right to receive honor and glory before the angels and heavenly hosts.
The physical rites here are cold, but inflamed divine rites exist there. The law and rites we practice with spirit and body here are those which will lead us to reveal the Divine heavenly law and the angelic rites above.
17 June, 2005
1 2 Cor 3:14, 15.
2 Is 6:3.
|| The Orthodox Faith (Dogma) || Family and Youth || Sermons || Bible Study || Devotional || Spirituals || Fasts & Feasts || Coptics || Religious Education || Monasticism || Seasons || Missiology || Ethics || Ecumenical Relations || Church Music || Pentecost || Miscellaneous || Saints || Church History || Pope Shenouda || Patrology || Canon Law || Lent || Pastoral Theology || Father Matta || Bibles || Iconography || Liturgics || Orthodox Biblical topics || Orthodox articles || St Chrysostom |||| Bible Study || Biblical topics || Bibles || Orthodox Bible Study || Coptic Bible Study || King James Version || New King James Version || Scripture Nuggets || Index of the Parables and Metaphors of Jesus || Index of the Miracles of Jesus || Index of Doctrines || Index of Charts || Index of Maps || Index of Topical Essays || Index of Word Studies || Colored Maps || Index of Biblical names Notes || Old Testament activities for Sunday School kids || New Testament activities for Sunday School kids || Bible Illustrations || Bible short notes
|| Prayer of the First Hour || Third Hour || Sixth Hour || Ninth Hour || Vespers (Eleventh Hour) || Compline (Twelfth Hour) || The First Watch of the midnight prayers || The Second Watch of the midnight prayers || The Third Watch of the midnight prayers || The Prayer of the Veil || Various Prayers from the Agbia || Synaxarium