The World Passes Away and All That is Therein
By Archdeacon Habib Guirgus
Contemplate about the creation - look above, below you, at your right and at your left. You will see various creatures and an unlimited number of beings. All these were created from nothing, and the day will come when they will all go back to nothing once more.
Now that you have
seen these strong bodies and beautiful eyes, wise tongues and gorgeous faces,
the fast moving feet and hard working hands, remember that all these will cease
one day. They will all turn to dust, for from the earth it was taken, and it
shall all turn into dust (cf. Genesis 3:19).
Wherever you look, or whatever you think about, if you contemplate about everything in the universe, you will discover that nothing will ever last for long, for "vanity of vanities! All is vanity... All is vanity and a chasing after wind" (Ecclesiastes 1:2, 14).
The world is but a green rod; its freshness and its beauty delight the eyes.
Even if you break it, you will find it hollow and senseless - just like the empty jar; once you knock on it you will hear its emptiness. The same is true about the world; once you experience it and try it, you will see its vanity.
All what's in the universe will pass away: greatness, magnificence, riches, glory, splendor, and everything else that cause human beings to boast and brag. They will all come to an end because they are all chasing after wind. The world will pass away and vanish, and man has to leave it willingly or unwillingly... so everything is vain.
It is vain to depend on the world, to find honor, to seek reputation. Everything existing has to vanish and go, for "the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed" (II Peter 3:10).
Where are our fathers? Where are the kings that lived in palaces? Where are the philosophers and wise men? Where are the scientists and inventors? Where are the great leaders and heroes who conquered and killed? Where are the great empires and old nations? All have been grasped by the abyss and vanished.
Did any of these take or carry any of their riches from this world with them?
Can the king who is seated on his throne say at his deathbed, "Come with me, O my palace, which I used to live in, and let my glory and honor be my companions while traveling to the path of eternity?"
Who of the rich ones took a penny with them, or one of the slaves with them?
Gain what you want, and be pleased with your riches, but let it be known that one day you will leave this world with an empty hand.
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there" (Job 1:21).
"For we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it" (I Timothy 6:7).
"As they came from their mother's womb, so they shall go again, naked as they came; they shall take nothing for their toil, which they may carry away with their hands" (Ecclesiastes 5:15).
Time in its past, present and future does not feel its endurance, but surely it will pass away and vanish.
The past was swallowed up in a big sea of vanity, where there is no existence. The future is unknown. The present is temporal, and if it lasted an hour it changes after that. Blessed are those who despise everything for the sake of Christ, and seek the path of salvation.
Happy is the man who keeps his hands clean of the world, and leaves everything and lives as a stranger on earth. It is beneficial for the man to be poor than rich, to be simple than great, and to be humble than boast.
Those who have a clear and pure conscious are far better than those who, with pride and boastfulness, know the deepest secrets and every intricate detail.
O man, why do I see you worried with things that will vanish, while being inattentive to the permanent and lasting things? Enough of this pride and slander. Open your eyes, which have been shut by sin, and wake up from the vanity of this life. Consider everything as something vain, as if it is nothing.
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