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

He Opened Their Understanding that They Might Comprehend and be Enlightened


In the meetings the Lord Jesus Christ had with

His Disciples before ascending to heaven, it was said

that “He opened their understanding, that they might

comprehend the Scriptures…” (Lk 24:45). This

happened with the eleven disciples and with the two

disciples of Emmaus, “And beginning at Moses and all

the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the

Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Lk


He enlightened their minds to understand

prophecies and symbols and their indications. And in

spite the fact that they were apostles, the gift of

understanding the secrets of the Old Testament was

not granted to them yet. Therefore, they needed their

minds to be opened so that they understand.

This is a lesson of humility to all of us. So that it

may not happen if someone reads some books that

he thinks he realized everything and became a

scientist and start giving people doctrines and

thoughts!!! While St James the apostle says: “My

brethren, let not many of you become teachers,

knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For

we all stumble in many things” (Jas 3:1, 2).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

What happened with the disciples also

happened with the Ethiopian eunuch.

He was in his chariot, reading Isaiah the prophet.

Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake

this chariot." So Philip ran to him, and heard him

reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you

understand what you are reading?" And he said, "How

can I, unless someone guides me?" (Act 8:29-31).

So St Philip opened the mind of that eunuch to

understand what is written in the scriptures and he

understood, believed and got baptized on the same

day and he went on his way rejoicing.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Many people read the bible and do not

understand it or at least do not understand the

depths of what is in it regardless of their level. That’s

why we pray in the psalm (119) saying: “Open my

eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your


That’s why, one may, many times, pray with the

psalms without understanding all what he says in his

prayers. And from time to time, he may see that God

opens his mind to understand some sentences. So

let’s pray that the Lord grants us this understanding…

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

There are people who have open sights, as

the Lord said to His disciples:

“But blessed are your eyes for they see”, and He

did not mean that they can see material things that

everyone see according to the strength of his eye

sight. But spiritual things that not everyone’s eyes

are open to.

Balaam, in his purity time as a prophet, said

about himself: “The utterance of Balaam the son of

Beor, The utterance of the man whose eyes are

opened… Who sees the vision of the Almighty…” (Nu

24:3, 4)… And not everyone is of that type with eyes

wide open…

The Virgin, St Mary, appeared on domes of her

church in Zeitoun. Tens of thousands and sometimes

hundreds of thousands of people gathered there,

many saw her and some could not. Each according to

his faith or humility because secrets of the Lord are

revealed to humble people, but those with pride, if

were to see a vision they might have more pride

because of what they see. Therefore Mar Isaac said:

“If the Lord grants you a gift, ask Him to grant you

the humility to bear it, or ask Him to take this gift

away from you”.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Prophet Elisha was once in Dothan. And the king

of Syria sent horses, chariots and a great army there,

and they came by night and surrounded the city, so

Gehazi, the prophet’s disciple, was terrified, so Elisha

prayed for him saying: “LORD, I pray, open his eyes

that he may see…” (2 K 6:13-17). And the Lord

opened his eyes and he saw the Lord’s soldiers

defending them and they were stronger and more in


Sometimes we are in a certain hardship and

internal aching because we cannot see that those who

are with us are more than those who are against us.

May God open our eyes so that we can see his

support and feel safe.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

God used to open the eyes of our fathers the

apostles in certain occasions so that they see…

An example is that, once, a man named Ananias

came to St Peter the apostle to offer the price of a

possession he sold (and he kept back part of the

proceeds). Therefore St Peter said to him “Ananias,

why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy

Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for

yourself?” (Act 5:1-3). And he placed a sentence on

Ananias then the same sentence on his wife Sapphira

when she came after him and repeated the same lie.

In this story the Lord opened the eyes of His

servant Peter to see what Ananias and Sapphira has

done in secret so that this reveal becomes a lesson

for others. Therefore, “great fear came upon all the

church and upon all who heard these things.” (Act


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

“Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things

from Your law”.

This verse from the psalm gives an idea

about the gift of meditation…


Do not think that reading the bible for the first

time is enough to discover all the meanings. As we

read we understand new meanings that we did not

notice before. Therefore he who reads God’s words

should be patient and should not think that he

reached the understanding of everything from his first

reading. And truthful is Prophet David when he said

to the Lord in the Grand Psalm: “I have seen the

consummation of all perfection, But Your

commandment is exceedingly broad.” (Ps 119:96).

This also shows the type of grace that the Lord

grants to the speaker and the listener as well. As for

the speaker, the grace gives the understanding gift

and for the listener, it gives the gift of benefiting from

what he hears. It gives to one open eyes and to the

other open ears.

May each of us have the open eye with which he

sees danger before it occurs. And open sight with

which he knows how to act with wisdom because

separation and wisdom are gifts granted by God to


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Therefore, we see in the absolution of the Prime

prayer a nice statement that the prayer says which is:

enlighten our minds, our hearts and our

understandings, O Master of all

Therefore do not think that you have reached

enough cleverness, knowledge and insight to be

satisfied with but say to the Lord in your prayer:

enlighten or minds, our hearts and our understanding

to know how to do well…

One of our imperfections is that we get satisfied

with our understanding and never ask. And maybe

some of us pray with the prime prayer statement

“enlighten our minds, our hearts and our

understandings” and never realize the depth of its

meaning and that one really needs from God to

enlighten his mind, heart and understanding.

This enlightenment can also be remembered

when we say in the psalm “The commandment of the

LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes”. This way a

person becomes enlightened not only in secular

cultural areas but also from the side of the Holy Spirit

who enlightens our minds and our understandings.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Therefore, we also say in the Prime Prayer:

let the luminous senses and the bright thoughts

shine within us, and do not let the darkness of

passions hover over us.

So, bright thoughts are a gift from God that you

ask for. And God gives you bright thoughts and

luminous senses and keeps away from you darkness

of passions. And what is meant by passions is the

passions of spiritual fights that hurt the soul and the

spirit. And it is considered darkness because it is far

from true enlightenment.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

You ask the Lord to open up your mind, heart and

understanding, so the supplication that some say:

“May God open up for you...” is good…

It does not only mean increase your income

sources as some ask for. But it also means open up

doors of the heart, mind, luminous senses and bright

thoughts and gives you enlightenment in the heart.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

The bible asks us to have this enlightenment

when saying: to be sons of light and sons of


And the first statement we say in the Midnight

Praise everyday is “Arise, you, O children of the light,

to praise the Lord of Hosts”. And here we may ask:

how can we become children of the light?

God, originally, is light. An unapproachable light,

and has no darkness whatsoever. And as long as we

are God’s children, we are children of the light (in our

spiritual life).

The Lord said to His disciples: “Walk while you

have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who

walks in darkness does not know where he is going.”

(Jn 12:35).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

What did He mean with: “Walk while you have the

light, lest darkness overtake you”?

Good deeds are always done in the light. But if a

person wants to do an evil deed, he does it in the

darkness where no one can see him and no one can

discover his sin. It is a hidden, in disguise act that is


And so was said about evil people: they “loved

darkness rather than light, because their deeds were

evil”. They do their deeds in darkness so that nobody

can see them.

Darkness can also be used to describe sinful

feelings that one may hide in the heart, mind and

intentions and others do not know about.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Some people think that darkness covers

them and hide their deeds!

This is how scribes, Pharisees and chief priests

were preparing conspiracies against the Lord Jesus

Christ. That’s why He said to them: “this is your hour,

and the power of darkness.” Therefore, every

arrangement that is done in secret is an arrangement

in the darkness.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And you ask God to enlighten your mind to

remember that today is a Holy Day because it is

a fast day or a communion day.

And according to our prayers in the Agpeya we

consider everyday to be a holy day. Thus we say: “to

grant us to complete this holy day, and all the days of

our life, in all peace with Your fear.”

And enlighten, O Lord, my mind to understand

that I am a temple for You and that Your spirit dwells

in me (1 Co 3:16). And enlighten my mind to

understand that I was created in Your image and

according to Your likeness and it is inappropriate to

lose this divine image.

And enlighten my mind, O Lord, to know that the

sin is against You alone as David said in the psalm:

“Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this

evil in Your sight” (Ps 51:4).

Enlighten my mind to understand all these things

so that I do not sin against you.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

One of the fathers said: “Each sin is preceded by

either desire, ignorance, or forgetting”. Therefore,

enlighten, O Lord, my mind so that I do not forget

Your commandments and enlighten my understanding

so that I never forget how I should be.

The first work for You, O Lord, in the six creation

days was that You said: “Let there be light"; and

there was light. And You saw the light, that it was


Therefore, God, say it again: “Let there be light”.

And enlighten our minds, hearts and understandings

so that we live in the light all our days.

And make us think, as one of the spiritual fathers

said, as if all our thoughts are written with letters of

light on the clouds of the sky, seen by everyone…

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

||    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