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

God is Present



The sermon given in the Cathedral on the

evening of Wednesday 22-12-1004


I would like to thank you all brothers and

beloved. I am not only present with you now but you

are always in my heart. I lived all my days in your

hearts and I am still living there… And when I went to

the monastery I took you all with me in my heart and

mind. For you I am here, and for you I go there… I

took you in my heart and my mind, you and your

pains and problems to put them all before God and

before those who are in charge… And I thank God a

lot because some of these problems have been solved

and some are still remaining and needs solution…

And the students or the youths who are in jail,

without any fault committed from their side, I will

continue to be sad for them and I will keep praying

for them until they are all released from jail… And

whatever people can not solve, God will solve. And

God accustomed us to the fact that He is always with

us and we trust Him and believe in His work and wait

for the Lord…

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

You know that in every hardship I say three

statements: God is present, Everything works for the

good, and it is destined to end.

And tonight I would like to talk to you about the

statement [God is present].

From the theological and dogmatic point of view,

all believers around the world believe that God

exists… But I would like to address this subject from

the point of God’s presence in our life and from the

point of our feeling of His presence and work in us.

(God is present) means God sees, God hears,

and God knows what is going on. God will

handle it and act and will never leave matters

the way they are…

God is present everywhere, with everyone, and in

every occasion. And we are used to see God’s hand

clearly in our life and all what we face. We saw God in

every time stepping-in in our life matters and this is

our belief.

We do not deal with people a lot but we deal

more with God himself.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

God is present as the Pantocrator. And we

mention this characteristic a lot in our prayers.

The Pantocrator, meaning that all is under His

hand, all is under His control… All people are in God’s

hands. Believe me, even the devil himself and all the

evil powers are controlled by God himself, who draws

limits for them. Otherwise, if the strong ate the weak,

people would have never lived on Earth, unless if God

was interfering and interfering strongly too.

God created the universe and did not leave it but

He manages all its matters…

And I constantly say to everyone: You are not

alone. You are living life and God is with you. He

never leaves you for a single moment nor for a

twinkling of an eye.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

(God is present) for He is the Shepherd of us


And so the chanter say in the psalm: “The LORD

is my shepherd; I shall not want.” “He makes me to

lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the

still waters.” And says “Yea, though I walk through

the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;

For You are with me;” (Ps 23).

And the Lord says in the book of Ezekiel: “I will

feed My flock, and I will make them lie down… I will

seek what was lost and bring back what was driven

away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was

sick… and feed them in judgment” (Ez 34:15, 16).

And we trust in God’s care to us. We trust Him in

everything. Even from the side of His rod and staff we

say “they comfort me”…

We trust in the Glorious Lord’s saying about His

flock: “neither shall anyone snatch them out of My

hand… and no one is able to snatch them out of My

Father's hand.” (Jn 10:28, 29).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And when we say (God is present) we mean

that he is the preserver and the supporter.

And we always chant a phrase from the psalm

“The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall

preserve your soul. The LORD shall preserve your

going out and your coming in From this time forth,

and even forevermore.” (Ps 121). It is a phrase that

the guardian angel says to every human while he

prays. Or the praying person says to himself to

comfort himself, calm down and assure himself.

Because the Lord said to our father Jacob:

“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever

you go, and will bring you back to this land” (Gn

28:15). He also is the one who preserved prophet

Jonah in the fish’s belly and saved the three young

men in the burning fiery furnace so that the hair of

their head was not singed (Dn 3). And saved Daniel in

the den of lions so that he chanted his loving song

“My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths”

(Dn 6:22).

God is the one who saved the righteous Joseph from

his brothers when they threw him in the well, saved

him when he was sold as a salve and served in

Potiphar’s house, saved him when he was thrown in

jail and gave him back his honor multiplied so that he

finally said to his brothers: “you meant evil against

me; but God meant it for good” (Gn 50:20).


We believe that God saves us from the devil, from

sins and from tribulations. He saved St Athansious

when he was exiled four times, saved St John in his

exile in Patmos Island and appeared to him and

showed him many visions. Even the children, He says

about them in the psalm: “The LORD preserves the

simple” (Ps 116:6).

We get too troubled if we forget that God is

present and he preserves us.

And God’s history in keeping us is a long

history that we will not forget.

I wish that every one of us sits with himself and

remember how many times God preserved him. And

praise the Lord saying: “Bless the LORD, O my soul;

And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless

the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:”

(Ps 103:1, 2).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

In the phrase (God is present) we remember

that God is the one taking care of all.

He said: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are

heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11:28).

Thus, the bible says: “Cast your burden on the LORD,

And He shall sustain you” (Ps 55:22) and the psalm

says: “May the LORD answer you in the day of

trouble” (Ps 20:1).

Yes, God, in whom we believe, has a great

characteristic which is (the comforter of the

troubled) so “Wait on the LORD; Be of good

courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I

say, on the LORD!” (Ps 27:14) for God is the one

caring for all.

He even takes care of animals and birds,

even the worm that moves beneath a stone…

“He gives to the beast its food, And to the young

ravens that cry” (Ps 147:9). Even the birds of the air

who neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns “your

heavenly Father feeds them” (Mt 6:26). And He says

about sparrows: “Are not two sparrows sold for a

copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground

apart from your Father's will.” (Mt 10:29). And after

this He says: “But the very hairs of your head are all


God took care of animals and birds in Noah’s Ark

and took care of Noah along with animals and beasts.

He also took care of butterflies and gave them

beautiful colors. “Even Solomon in all his glory was

not arrayed like one of these” (Mt 6:29). And He took

care of singing birds and gave them beautiful voices

without them asking Him for it. He took care of the

bee and gave it the art of making honey and

organizing its work. He cared for the peacock and

gave it beauty in its feathers.

If it was so with animals and birds, then He cared

for the human much more!

God cares for us more than we do for


And we live this faith. He says: “I will not leave

you nor forsake you” (Js 1:5). Therefore, we rely on

Him and His promise that states: “If a woman forgets

her nursing child I will not forget you”.

And He cares for us through His angels and

their protection to us.

The psalm says about that: “For He shall give His

angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.

In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash

your foot against a stone.” (Ps 91:11, 12). And in our

daily prayers we say: “Surround us by Your holy

angels, that, by their camp, we may be guarded and

guided”. And we believe in the guardian angel who

guards every human. And we have a constant

relationship with angels. And the day before

yesterday we were celebrating the feast of Archangel


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And in saying that (God is present), we

remember God’s tenderness and kindness.

If God was tender with birds and insects, then

how much He is with the human. It is of God’s

kindness to the human that He gave him mind, soul

and will. And gave him conscience, gave him the

divine response and promised him the eternal life. He

gave him the blessing, the authority, the

perseverance and gave him what he did not ask for

and more than he asks for. And that is, if he cries,

God will wipe away every tear from his eyes…

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

If God is so in His kindness, then why does

He allow trials to come?

God allows trials to come because of their

benefits. St James says about that: “My brethren,

count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (Jas

1:2). And we should know the reasons behind every

trial coming on us and how to deal with it.

􀂙 Among the benefits of trials is that they

gather us in one heart compassioning with one

another. And I, in the last ten days, in the

monastery, met with more than 1800 reverend

priests from all dioceses, and with 63 of the reverend

bishops and metropolitans other than those who

called me on the telephone. And this is how the trial

gathers us all together. We think with one mind. And

see what our problems are and work on solving them

in one spirit. And in today’s meeting 45 reverend

metropolitans and bishops and 240 reverend priests

are attending with us.

􀂙 Also among the benefits of trials is that

when a trial come upon us we start checking

ourselves from inside for each to settle an

account with oneself, and reconcile with God if

we were far from Him. And in trials, we see that

people in their fasts, prayers and taking communion

were reconciling with God so that they ask Him

without shame. This is according to the Lord’s saying:

“Return to Me, and I will return to you” (Ml 3:7).

􀂙 Among the benefits of trials is that they reveal

things to us and give us a clearer vision. As the poet


May God bless tribulations

By them I distinguished my enemy from my


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

􀂙 Also among the benefits of trials is that

through them we see God’s hand working with

us and with others. In trials we gain a spiritual

experience by which we see that God is present.

We, brothers, practically recognize God and His

work, not through theology books or doctrine books

but in our whole life path.

We do not only believe in God about whom the

books talk, but we believe more in God who we see in

our life exactly if He is present in front of us. And we

see how He works and we admire His power and

wisdom. God is blessed in all His work with us…


􀂙 Through trials we then gain spiritual

experience with God and the events. It is a school

that we call the school of trials. A spiritual school. And

every person going through trials grows in

knowledge, wisdom and experience. And goes into a

training on how to deal with matters and see how

they are solved in front of him.

􀂙 And in trials we see the verse saying: “With men

it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all

things are possible” (Mk 10:27).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

􀂙 And when we meditate in trials. We see that

they are all for the good. As the bible says: “all

things work together for good to those who love

God” (Ro 8:28).

And trials, my brothers, are not a type of

abandonment because they come with help. The

trial is always in the bounds of our capabilities to bear

it. It also comes with an outcome as the bible says:

“but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be

tempted beyond what you are able, but with the

temptation will also make the way of escape, that you

may be able to bear it” (1 Co 10:13).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And we always face the trial with a peace of

heart… The matter, of course, needs wisdom in

acting, with the peace of heart.

We are trying to find a solution. And when it is

hard to find one, we put the trail in God’s hands. Or

we put God between us and the trial so that we see

God and do not see the trial. And we feel that God is

present with us. We leave our problems between His

hands and we believe in His loving kind hand…

􀂙 Therefore, we ask God to handle the remaining

matters. And we hope that He solves them.


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