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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 the Initiator


The story of salvation, God had commenced it  himself. He explained the means by which it should be implemented when He said that the seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the Serpent. (Gn 3:15)


God also is the one who prepared the Virgin which

will give him birth. He is the One who sent her

Archangel Gabriel preaching her that she will conceive

in her womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His

name JESUS. And when she said "I do not know a

man", the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy

Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the

Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that

Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of

God.(Lk 1:26-35).

And God also prepared the "messenger before His

face, Who will prepare His way before Him"(Mk 1:2).

And sent an Angel to preach Zacharias the priest and

said about John that he will "be filled with the Holy

Spirit, even from his mother's womb." (Lk 1:15).

And because He intended in his incarnation to be

"the Son of David, the Son of Abram" (Mt 1:1), He

prepared Abram and prepared David…

As in one day that Abram did not know and did

not even wait for, the voice of God came unto him, as

sudden as that, saying "Get out of your country, From

your family And from your father's house, To a land

that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I

will bless you And make your name great; And you

shall be a blessing… And in you all the families of the

earth shall be blessed." (Gn 12:1-3).

And in one of those days, which David did not

even know about, and did not wait for what was going

to happen on, David was called to the house of his

father as he was pasturing the few little sheep in the

wilderness. And there was Samuel the prophet "Then

Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the

midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD

came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel

arose and went to Ramah" (1S 16:13).


In this way, God has prepared for the story

of Nativity thousands of years ago…

He prepared them, and characterized them with

virtues till "when the fullness of the time had come"

(Ga 4:4).

Abraham and David didn't ever dream, thought or

even worked for the fact that they would be the

grandfathers of Jesus. John the Baptist also didn't

ever dream of being this messenger who will prepare

the road in front of Him, and who will be the one who

baptizes the Lord. Virgin Mary didn't ever think that

she will become a mother; she became the mother of

the Savior of the world…!!

But God is the one who wanted, who commenced

in implementing this plan, from the point when Adam

and Eve fell into sin, till "when the fullness of the time

had come"… God Himself is the one who prepared the

"fullness of time" and set its timing.

And when "the fullness of the time had come",

God has already prepared everything concerning

the Divine Incarnation. He prepared prophesies

and symbols, in the Law, the prophets and the


He prepared that He will be conceived by a virgin,

and shall be called Immanuel (Is 7:14).

And that "the government will be upon His

shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful,

Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of

Peace."(Is 9:6). And that He will be born in

Bethlehem Ephrathah (Mic 5:2), (Mt 2:5). Prophesies

had mentioned His arrival to Egypt (Is 19:1), and his

sufferings in details (in the story of salvation) as

mentioned in (Is 53). (Ps 22).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

God is who commenced the reconciliation, as

in the Incarnation in general and as well in the

individual reconciliation with every person…

He is the one who led the Samaritan woman, who

had fallen into sin, to faith and repentance, when He

chose to meet her at the well, and talked to her about

the everlasting water, worshipping God truly in soul,

and brought her to confessing her sins… (Jn 4).

God is the one Who led Zacchaeus the chief tax

collector to repentance. And said to him "for today I

must stay at your house" and said also "Today

salvation has come to this house, because he also is a

son of Abraham" (Lk 19:5-9).

The Samaritan woman had never dreamt of

repentance and salvation, neither had

Zacchaeus dreamt that Jesus Christ might come

into his house. It is God who started all this.

The same happened with Saul of Tarsus who was

"breathing threats and murder against the disciples of

the Lord" "bring them bound to Jerusalem" (Ac 9:1,

2)… Saul who said about himself "although I was

formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent

man" (1Ti 1:13) and also said "For I am the least of

the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an

apostle, because I persecuted the church of God."

(1Co 15:9).

Calling Saul to repentance started with him when

suddenly a light shone around him from heaven on

his way to Damascus, and he heard a voice blaming

him and saying "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting

Me?" (Ac 9:4). God had commenced all this with Saul

long ago, before he was born, as when Saul said to

himself "But when it pleased God, who separated me

from my mother's womb and called me through His

grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach

Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer

with flesh and blood" (Ga 1:15, 16)…

So God was the initiator with Saul in calling him

into the path of repentance.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

So is the call, in its various examples, as

long as the caller is God, definitely the initiator

who commences it is also God himself.

We knew how God called Abraham (Gn 12) and

David (1S 16).

Another clear example is Jeremiah the prophet,

when God said to him: "Before I formed you in the

womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified

you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations" (Jr

1:5). Also Moses the prophet, God called him when

he was at the Burning Bush (Ex 3). Neither Jeremiah

nor Moses had ever dreamt that one day they would

become prophets! Moses himself said to God, "O my

Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You


have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech

and slow of tongue." (Ex 4:10). Also Jeremiah said

"Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a

youth" (Jr 1:6).

God's calling was also to Matthew the tax

collector when he was sitting at the tax office and the

Lord said to him, "Follow Me." (Mt 9:9). Also Simon

Peter and Andrew his brother, when they were

casting their net into the sea, God said to them,

"Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Mt

4:18, 19). The same happened with James the son of

Zebedee, and John his brother (Mt 4:21, 22)… and

also with the rest of the Apostles.

Paul the Apostle explained this when he said: "For

whom He foreknew, He also predestined … whom He

predestined, these He also called" (Ro 8:29, 30). And

said about Priesthood: "And no man takes this honor

to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron

was." (Hb 5:4).

God is the initiator who commences the call to

Priesthood as well as all the issues concerning the

church service. He who said to his Apostles "You did

not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you

that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit

should remain" (Jn 15:16).


God's voice reaches whomever God chooses

from among people…

The most important thing is that we

recognize His voice, and respond to it…

God's voice reached Samuel the child; he did not

recognize it at the beginning, and thought that it was

the voice of Eli the priest. But he then finally realized

that it was the voice of God and thus replied: "Speak,

LORD, for Your servant hears." (1S 3:9, 10). He

listened to the message and delivered it.

The same voice reached Saint Anthony through a

verse in the bible in which God says: "If you want to

be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the

poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and

come, follow Me." (Mt 19:20). And he followed what

he heard and lived a life of worshipping. On the other

hand, the Rich Young Ruler who heard that same

verse uttered by Jesus himself, "went away sorrowful,

for he had great possessions." (Mt 19:22). Therefore

how good is what the Apostle said: "Today, if you will

hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the

rebellion" (Hb 3:7, 8).

Saint Anthony, at the beginning of his life of

worshipping, as he was sitting by the river side, he

heard an advice from a reckless woman who told him:

"if you are a monk, then do not stay here, go to the

inner wilderness." He considered these words as the

voice of God, and went and did so…

The most important thing is that we recognize the

voice of God, as Saint John the beloved says in his

first Epistle: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but

test the spirits, whether they are of God; because

many false prophets have gone out into the world."

(1Jn 4:1).

Herod the king heard the gospel about the

nativity of God from the wise men. He did not

respond to it, "he was troubled, and all Jerusalem

with him."(Mt 2: 3). He then started to think about

tricks and deceits to kill Jesus the child!

And another Herod, after 30 years, heard from

John the Baptist that it is not lawful for him to have

his brother's wife." (Mt 14:3, 4). And he did not

respond to the voice, but put John into prison, and

finally killed him.

Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees and Priests, heard

the word uttered by Jesus himself more than once.

They did not respond to the voice of God "And the

light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not

comprehend it." (Jn 1:5). "And men loved darkness

rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (Jn

3:19). They all harvested the consequences of their

refusal and were miserably destroyed…! Also

Jerusalem which Christ mourned and said "O

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets

and stones those who are sent to her! How often I

wanted to gather your children together, as a hen

gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not

willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate" (Mt

23:37, 38).

God was He who commenced, he started by

himself for the sake of their own salvation but he did

not force them to accept salvation. That is how they

were lost, for they did not accept this salvation… And

thus the Lord mourned this city saying "because you

did not know the time of your visitation" (Lk 19:44).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Brother, God might call you at any time, and

his voice might reach you.

May be you will hear His voice while reading the

bible, hearing the Gospels, praying Psalms prayer, or

listening to the Liturgy Prayer. You might also hear

his voice during visiting a patient, seclusion, from a

preacher or at any time. And as the bible says that

"The kingdom of God does not come with

observation" (Lk 17:20). But it will definitely come.

The most important thing is to recognize it,

acknowledge it and respond to it. Do not be like the

virgin of the song who said "It is the voice of my

beloved! He knocks" (Sgs 5:2). And despite that she

did not open the door for him at once. He was the one

who started, and she was the lazy one. That’s why, at

the end, she said sorrowfully "I opened for my

beloved, But my beloved had turned away and was

gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought

him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he

gave me no answer" (Sgs 5:6).

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