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

Straighten for us the way of godliness


Many spiritual fathers, religion teachers and

spiritual guides think that the way to repentance is

through advices and teachings which are difficult to

follow. Such advices are useful for those who are

growing in the grace not for beginners who might feel

that spiritual life is too hard to follow so they just stay

away. Whereas on the other hand spiritual life is not as

difficult. Jesus Christ rebuked the scribes and

Pharisees who make things hard as they “For they

bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them

on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will

not move them with one of their finger” (Mt

23:4). He also said “woe to you, scribes and

Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of

heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves,

nor do you allow those who are entering to go in” (Mt


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Jesus Christ cared for the needy so that they

might enter His Kingdom.

In the Parable of the great supper the master said

to his servant “Go out quickly into the streets and

lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the

maimed and the lame and the blind…” (Lk14:21). No

doubt those poor, maimed, lamed and blind are

symbol of the needy whom by the grace of God are

able to enter into His kingdom.

Also in the parable of the vineyard workers; the

landowner gave the laborers who were hired about

the eleventh hour the same wage as that of the

others (Mt 20:6-10).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

There are many examples of God’s kindness in

treating the sinners:

As how he treated the Samaritan sinful woman who

had five husbands and the one whom she was with

was not her husband (Jn 4:18). God treated her

gently, was not harsh with her on confessing to Him,

He rather encouraged her to seek the living water and

to worship God in spirit and truth. He also said to her

“You have well said, ‘I have no husband…in that you

spoke truly”. He didn’t force her to tell details about

her sins…and so the woman believed that he is Christ

and went to preach the people of her city…

And with the same kindness He treated Peter the

apostle who denied Him three times, and told him

“Feed My lambs…Feed My sheep” (Jn 21:15-17).

And with that same kindness He also treated

Thomas the apostle who doubted His resurrection, He

appeared to him and showed him His wounds and

made him touch them saying “Do not be unbelieving,

but believing” (Jn 20:26-28).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

We contemplate as well on how He treated

David and Jacob the son of Isaac:

David made a big and diverged sin, for which he

repented in tears. Then David died and Solomon

became the king whom the bible says about “his

heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the

heart of his father David” (1 K 11:4). God punished

and said “I will surely tear the kingdom away from

you and give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will

not do it in your days, for the sake of your father

David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son.

However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I

will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My

servant David” (1 K 11:11-13).

How amazing is the way God honored David His

servant and considered him an intercessor for

Solomon without even asking for it, God even spoke

about his heart which was perfect before the Lord.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

As for Jacob who sold his birthright to his brother

for a stew of lentils (Gn25:29-34) , then deceived

Isaac his father who was blind at that time and told

him “I am Esau your firstborn; I have done just as

you told me; please arise, sit and eat of my game,

that your soul may bless me…Then he said, “Are you

really my son Esau? He said, ‘I amso he blessed

him” (Gn27:18-26).

And though Jacob’s deceived his father, God

appeared to him in a vision and blessed him.

God appeared to him in a revelation where he

beheld a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top

reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were

ascending and descending on it and said to him “your

descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you

shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the

north and the south; and in you and in your seed all

the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I

am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and

will bring you back to this land” (Gn 28:12-15).

God once more blessed Jacob when he struggled

with Him and changed his name telling him “for you

have struggled with God and with men, and have

prevailed” (Gn 32:28,29).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

For that and for other reasons as well, David

chants his beautiful song saying:


“Let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His

mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the

hand of man” (2 S 24:14).

That was what also happened with the woman

caught in adultery. She fell into the hands of the

Scribes and Pharisees who wanted her to be stoned,

but the Lord saved her from them all so they left her

and went away, then He said to the woman: “where

are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned

you?... Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no

more” (Jn 8:2-11).

Also the fig tree planted in a vineyard, which had

no fruits for three years and they wanted to cut it

down, as why did it use up the ground? But the

tender heart said: “Sir, let it alone this year also, until

I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit,

well. But if not, after that you can cut it down” (Lk

13:6-9). That is how God works: He is so patient with

the sinner giving him a chance during which the grace

works in him preparing him for repentance and for

bearing good fruits

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

God seeks the sinners, asks for them and draws

them to repentance.

If you are defeated, don’t ever be desperate of

your defeat. If you not able to save yourself; God is

capable of saving you if you put yourself into His

hands and tell him “Restore me, and I will return” (Jr


If you are not able to do spiritual work and do not

want to repent; there is the apostle says “for it is God

who works in you both to will and to do for His good

pleasure” (Phil 2:13). Seek the Lord so that He might

give you the will, the desire and the power to work

and He will work in you with His Holy Spirit…

The Lord says “for the Son of Man has come to

seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk 19:10), He

didn’t say that He came to save who made a mistake

or who fell; he rather said a phrase which is full of

hope “come to seek and to save that which was lost”.

He also said “I have not come to call the

righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Lk 5:32).

He used sometimes to sit with the sinners and tax

collectors to draw them to Him and to the life of

righteousness, and when the Scribes and Pharisees

complained against Him he told them “I have not

come to call the righteous, but sinners, to

repentance” (Lk 5:31).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Examples of how God seeks the sinners to

bring them back are:

His seeking Zacchaeus the tax collector who

was famous to the Jews for his sins, God entered his

house and the Jews complained and said “He has

gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner”, and

God defended him saying: that he also is a son of

Abraham and said “Today salvation has come to this

house” (Lk 19:9).

By this kind treatment Zacchaeus repented and

said “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor;

and if I have taken anything from anyone by false

accusation, I restore fourfold” (Lk19:8). As God goes

for the sinners, by that He restores them to the life of


And that was what God did on seeking the

lost sheep and the lost coin:

The lost sheep was lost due to ignorance and lack

of perception, that same sheep God sought him till He

found him then He laid it on His shoulders rejoicing

(Lk 15:5-7).

As for the lost coin, it was someone else who

caused its loss; it was also searched for till it was

found and there was a reason for rejoice (Lk 15:8,9).

Luke the evangelist concludes these two parables

by God’s saying “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in

the presence of the angels of God over one sinner

who repents” (Lk 15:10).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

God cares for the sinners, He saves them

from exile and captivity.

God says in the book of Ezekiel the Prophet “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” (Ez 34;15,16) he also says “I Myself will search

for My sheep and seek them out… and deliver them

from all the places where they were scattered… I will

feed them in good pasture… There they shall lie down

in a good fold and feed in rich pasture” (Ez 34:11-


David the Prophet chants with this patronage and

says” 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. He restores my

soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness…

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the

shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are

with me” (Ps 23).

Jesus Christ our Lord says in the prophecy of

Isaiah the Prophet “The Spirit of the Lord God is

upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me to

preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me

to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to

the captives, and the opening of the prison to

those who are bound” (Is 61:1). So if you are one

of those poor, captives or those who are bound;

you have hope in the Lord’s work for your sake

and for saving you from whatever you are in…

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

God, in His tenderness, cares so much for

those who are so much weary.

He is the comfort of the fainthearted; the harbor

of those in the storm.

That is why the book says “But where sin

abounded, grace abounded much more” (Ro 5:20).

And here we see God’s promise “I will keep you from

the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole

world” (Rev 3:10). He also gives the trial along with

the way to escape out of it (1 Co 10:13).

No matter how bad has the sinner become; God

takes care of him as the bible says “Remember the

prisoners as if chained with them—those who are

mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body

also” (He 13:3) . So if you are chained with a sin and

it has come over you don’t be desperate as the

church is praying for you…

And if you are not able to fulfill our debts to God

so remember what God say in the parable of the

debtors “And when they had nothing with which to

repay, he freely forgave them both” (Lk 7:42). Be

sure that God-as the chanter says- “He has not dealt

with us according to our sins, nor punished us

according to our iniquities” (Ps 103:10).


Many have been granted forgiveness, with

God’s love and kindness, not with their deeds.

Some have been given forgiveness by only one

word, others were given forgiveness not by crying but

with their tears.

Some were given forgiveness by their remorse, or

by being silent. God accepted all of them and granted


The right thief who was crucified with Him, he

only said one phrase “Lord, remember me when You

come into Your kingdom” and at the same time he

heard the saying of the Lord “today you will be with

Me in Paradise” (Lk 23:42, 43).

And the tax collector who stood afar of the temple

and said “God, be merciful to me a sinner”, and God

said about him that he went down to his house

justified. (Lk 18:13).

God perceived the heart of every one of those

two, and the sole phrase was sufficient as it was

coming out of a remorseful heart without other


The sinful woman who washed God’s feet with her

tears and wiped them with the hair of her head, she

didn’t say even one word but her tears though spoke

for her so God forgave her and said “her sins, which

are many, are forgiven, for she loved much” (Lk


It is the state of the heart which matters not how

much we talk.

The woman caught in adultery; what did she do

for forgiveness? Nothing except feeling of remorse

and in silence, hence God told her “Neither do I

condemn you” (Jn 8:11).

And the Samaritan woman: what did she do for

repentance? Nothing, she just responded to what the

Lord God said to her and believed that He was the


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

So you’ve got to pray saying “How long, O Lord?

Will You forget me forever?

How long will You hide Your face from me? How long

shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my

heart daily?... How long will my enemy be exalted

over me?” (Ps 13).

Or you can say to the Lord “If You, Lord, should

mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is

forgiveness with You” (Ps130:3) “Do not enter into

judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no one

living is righteous” (Ps 143:2).

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

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