Forget What is Behind
H.H. POPE SHENOUDA III
St. Paul the Apostle said,
"...forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those
things which are ahead. I press towards the goal." (Phil.3 :13). By referring
to what is behind St. Paul did not mean sins but righteousness; that he put
his virtues behind and was pressing forward.
Therefore, it justifies the saying, "A good man forgets all the good deeds that he has done as he is too busy in the good deeds that he is still doing..."
The saints never put their good deeds in front of them, but behind. They forget such deeds and never talk about them. And if it happens that somebody mention their deeds in their presence, they change the subject so that this person would forget this too...
If they remember their good deeds, they might feel self-satisfaction about their present state and forget about the work of grace in them. But if they forget these deeds and remember nothing but God's grace that works in them, then they will reach forward, feeling that there are wide spheres ahead of them, leading to the desired perfection...
I wish you would forget the past completely, not only the righteousness you did in it but also all hardships and troubles you faced therein. Forget also the evil which spoils the purity of the heart when you remember... Instead of that, reach forward in positive steps towards the love of God... and towards eternity...
Poor are those who limit their thoughts to the past with all its troubles, mistakes or its sweet dreams. There would not be any time or strength left for them to do something for the future.
They talk about the beauty of the past, the greatness of the past, either boasting in it or grieving over it. As for the present, there is nothing about it, it does not exist, the same goes with the future... etc.
The beautiful past cannot satisfy you if the present is troublesome. Therefore, do not live on sweet memories but reach forward. Let your present always be better than your past...
Do not remember from the past except what could make your present better and gives you a push forward in repentance or in growth...
You Yourself Be Good News
People need one who makes them
happy and alleviates their troubles. With the hope that he has, he can let in
light to shine amidst their tribulations making them disappear and giving a
You too, be like that. If you have a joyful word, give it to people. If you have inconvenient word, postpone uttering it in order not to cause trouble to others.
Blessed are the words of the Bible, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things." (Rom.10 :15).
Be cheerful with everyone and do your utmost to spread happiness among people.
Meet people with a gentle smile and a sweet word, for people do not like frowning or angry looks that make them lose the peace of heart and quietness.
Make people happy to meet you, make them feel that you bring them joy and that your arrival is good news to them.
Look how people draw a good omen and rejoice in a happy word that they read in the horoscope or fortune-book. It could fill their heart with joy and boost their morale although nobody knows the future except God. What made them happy was nothing but a word...
Can't you see that the word Gospel means Good News?! Preaching the Gospel was the announcing of the Good News which the Angel gave to the shepherds, "I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people." (Luke 2:10).
Look how the Lord Jesus Christ said to the people, "Come to me all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt.11 :28).
So, if you are unable to carry people's burdens, at least do not cause them troubles.
Look how the photographers ask people to smile before they take their photo. They want the picture to be a happy one. You too should be smiling so that your face might be a source of joy for people...
Some wrongly think that religion means a gloomy face and that gloominess indicates seriousness! Religion is in fact joy, and gentleness and joy are the fruits of the Spirit. (Gal.5 :22).
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