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


Our lives a series of Trials


Every one of us goes through a group of trials on

which his personal evaluation depends and his

position in eternity is decided.


What is important about this is not the type of trial and its duration, but its depth and indication.



John the Baptist for example, his testing period

was short, maybe did not exceed a year or less, but

through it he showed a great success in service, in

humility, self denial, courage, daringness, and

abundance of fruits. And thus, God was satisfied with

this short period of testing and testified that he is the

greatest of those born of women. And took him while

he was around thirty two years old…

It was a short testing period, but it was


The same situation applied to the testing period

of St. Maximous and St. Domadious, who departed to

Paradise in their youths. And the same happened with

St. Missael the Hermit, who reached the hermit level

when he was fifteen years old.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Someone may wonder saying: Why, O Lord, do

you take these pure souls at this early age?! And the

answer is: they passed their trials and the effort they

spent in fighting was sufficient…

And the same happened with testing some of the

martyrs and testifiers…

Their faith and their persistence on it and

suffering for it was tested … Maybe in days or

months. And that was sufficient so they got the

martyrdom crown.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

In general, life may be taken as a whole as a


Because some may go through a period of

weakness or of lukewarmness, that does not indicate

the nature of his whole life, and grace may help him

correct his path. And God, may His name be blessed

– does not surprise people with death while they are

in a state of falling, but gives them a chance to

repent… as what happened with St. Augustine, St.

Moses the Black, St. Mariam the Coptic and St.


And so the bible says: “considering the outcome

of their conduct…” (He 13:7).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And the trial that the person takes may be

easy or hard.

Adam and Eve were tested through the

commandment of not eating from one tree. As for our

father Abraham, he took a harder commandment: to

go away from his family and country and his father’s

house (Gn 12) to where he does not know about. So

he went out not knowing where he is going (He

11:8). And so he passed the trial and God blessed


Then he went into a harder trial, which is the

Lord’s saying to him: “Take now your son, your only

son Isaac, whom you love… and offer him there as a

burnt offering on one of the mountains” (Gn 22:2).

And the saint did not hesitate in obeying the order, so

he got more blessings and the Lord saved Isaac.

As for our first parents, as they failed the trial, they

got a punishment from God, they were expelled from

Heaven, and were given the death command, until

they were saved through salvation.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

So it is not the type of the trial that is

important, but it is the position the man stands

of it.

Whether it was a single trial or many ones.

Joseph the virtuous was tested through the

enmity of his brothers towards him and their selling

him to Ishmaelites (Gn 37:28). He never had hard

feelings towards them, on the contrary, he did good

to them and told them “you meant evil against me;

but God meant it for good” (Gn 50:20). And he was

tested through being a slave in the house of Potiphar.

He never complained, but was fully loyal and

succeeded in gaining trust until he became overseer

of Potiphar’s house…

Joseph was also tested through his master’s wife

seduction to him, he refused it and passed that trial.

He was also tested by being thrown in prison unjustly,

and he did not object. The result was that the prison

keeper left everything in his hands… and the Lord

rewarded Joseph by making him succeed in whatever

he did. And he came out of prison to become the

second man in the kingdom, and became “a father to

Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler

throughout all the land of Egypt.” (Gn 45:8).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

There are many types and sources of trials,

some of which come from the envy of devils.

As when Satan envied Job the virtuous who “was

the greatest of all the people of the East”, he was also

perfect and straight in his ways. God permitted the

first plague to be brought upon him; he lost all his

wealth and all his sons yet he passed the trial and

said to the Lord "the Lord gave, and the Lord hath

taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job


Job's second trial was even more difficult as a

plague was brought upon his health, he also lost

everything even his friends' respect to him and his

wife's too…then Job was patient and God blessed him.


God returned everything back to Job and even more,

as the Lord blessed the years which he lived as he

"died, being old and full of days" (Job 42:10-17).

St. James the apostle said about him "Ye have heard

of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the

Lord" (Jas 5:11).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

A trial might come from other people's

annoyances or their persecutions.

As the era of martyrdom during which a plague

was brought upon the church in the Romanian rule,

the church endured and passed the trial, God made

the church spread and expand to all parts of the

world giving her talents and ability of working

miracles. God made all that persecution come to an

end and was concluded by the decree of Milan which

was issued by Constantine the King on 313 AD.

Maltreatment is another kind of a trial which

might take place within family members, at work

between superiors and subordinates or any where in

society. In this trial one's qualities are recognized;

how much he can endure and at which point he loses


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

A trial in general, if a person succeeds

through it; he then is granted crowns.

In God's messages to the seven churches

mentioned in the book of Revelation (Rv 2, 3), we can

see many examples of those crowns which God

prepared them for those who had gotten the victory.

all who win which means all those who succeed in

their trial they will be granted awards in the eternal

life and may be on earth as well, St. Paul the apostle

says " Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of

righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge,

shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but

unto all them also that love his appearing" (2 Ti 4:8).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

God mentioned a trial in the parable of the

two houses one of which was built on rocks and

the other on sand (Mt 7:24-27).

The trial came upon both kinds (the good and

bad) and it was said "And the rain descended, and the

floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that

house". The house which was built on the rocks didn't

fall but the other house which was built on sand soon

fell and great was the fall of it.

Therefore a person should be ready to face his

trial: through the strong faith, pure heart and

of the Holy Spirit…so that he won't fall but instead

could stand still and might even grow more in the


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

A trial for a person is for his own good and

for others as well.

During trials a person is tested as regards his own

capabilities and efforts, on the other hand he himself

gets to see the work of God with him hence God's

grace enters his life. This person acquires more

experience in spiritual life than before, experience

about wars of devils, of temptations and also of

winning throughout those temptations.

St. Anthony, in his solitude in the wilderness and with

all temptations he went through, he gained

experience and strength, he even was granted power

over devils. And after his disciple Paul had lived some

time with him, St. Anthony then guided him to start

living in solitude so that he might experience wars of

devils …

And so, experiences of the fathers became

lessons for all of us to benefit from as the more we

read biographies of saints the more in depth we

acquire our knowledge. We even learn from the

stories of others who fall into temptations; knowing

the reasons why they fell and consequences which

follow make us more cautious of similar

circumstances and be ready to face them.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

A trial might sometimes touch someone's

point of weakness.

As the story of the rich young man who kept the

commandments since his young age, still he got a

point of weakness which was his love to money and

when the Lord tested him saying " If thou wilt be

perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the

poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and

come and follow me" (Mt 19:21). The book says

about him " he went away sorrowful " and failed in

that test "for he had great possessions ".

So, search for your point of weakness and work in

the way of correcting it so that a trial might not be

brought upon you specifically on that point.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Someone might also be tested by sickness or


So that in this trial a person appears if he

complains, if he loses his faith in God's mercies or

instead faces all that with calmness, cheerfulness and

prayers? Does he in his illness gets ready for his

eternity? Or does he during such afflictions says with

Paul the apostle "As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing"

(2 Co 6:10).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

The person may be tested by having his

prayers not answered, or having them delayed

in being answered.

St. Paul the apostle was tested but his prayers

not being answered when he asked that the throne in

his flesh may be removed from him so that “lest he

should be exalted above measure by the abundance

of the revelations”. So God kept this throne and told

him: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is

made perfect in weakness”(2 Co 12: 8, 9)

As for God delaying answering; it is like when God

delayed giving Abraham a son. And the result was

that him resorting to human ways, and took Hagar to

get a son through her…

And the trial may be through power or


There are some people who when they rise in

level through a power they gained, their hearts rise

from inside and they look to others from above and

their treatment to them change!! And thus said St.

Antony that baring honoring is harder than baring

insult… And money and richness are like honoring

too. The poet said:

When my friend became of the people

I realized I lost my friend

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Gifts, is another source of testing: does the

heart rise when having them or keep its


An example of that is those who take pride in

talking tongues (If it was real), and consider it a sign

of filling!! Or, as the bible said about Hagar that

“when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress

became despised in her eyes” (Gn 16:4).

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