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Easter Message for 2010 Pope Shenouda III, Patriarch of Coptic Orthodox Church

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  • frjohnbrian@priest.com
    Easter Papal Message for 2010 in English Pope Shenouda III Patriarch of Coptic Orthodox Church
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 2, 2010
      Easter Papal Message for 2010 in English

      Pope Shenouda III
      Patriarch of Coptic Orthodox Church
      http://www.copticpope.org/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=62



      My beloved sons in the lands of immigration, priests and congregation.

      Peace and grace from Our Lord, hoping that God may bless your lives and
      sanctify them and may every work that you do be successful.

      We thank God Who granted us to complete this Holy Pascha in peace and has
      brought us to the joys of His Resurrection. Our joy is not merely the joy of
      the Feast after ending the fast. Our joy however, is a spiritual joy, as the
      apostle said, "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice."
      (Philippians 4:4)

      I wish that you meditate well on this phrase and practice rejoicing in the
      Lord and on how it should be. We rejoice in the presence of the Lord with us
      during this period, to strengthen our faith and to speak to us about matters
      pertaining to the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). He gives us the feeling that He
      is with us all the days and to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

      These are the feelings of the holy fifty days after the Resurrection. Do we
      have such joy and contemplate on its reasons as a principle for these fifty
      days, focusing all our thoughts on matters pertaining to the Kingdom of God?
      Do we examine what are these matters and how to live by them?

      I hear so often some people, whilst being perplexed asking me, how can we
      keep our spirituality during these fifty days when we have been deprived
      from fasting and prostrations during these days and also from the liturgies
      that begin in the afternoon and end at sunset? Whereas some say more than
      that, how can we overcome lukewarmness during these days? Here I say to you
      that every season has its own spiritual nature. Fasting and prostrations
      were the nature of the Great Lent. However, there are other spiritual means
      for the holy fifty days. What are they?

      In the period of the fifty days, the focus is on prayer, spiritual reading,
      contemplation, praising and hymns, deep spiritual meetings, exercises of
      repentance and spiritual growth.

      This is what each individual as well as those who are responsible for the
      ministry should be concerned with. It is inevitable to present spiritual

      nourishment to take place of the fast. Spiritual nourishment was the aim and
      the means of the fast, "Every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."
      (Matthew 4:4)

      If fasting includes self control and strong will, we should continue in
      these two virtues with various and many exercises.

      With respect to food, it is not appropriate to lose control when breaking
      the fast. We should eat with self-control and not with gluttony. We should
      not be like those who after breaking the fast cause upset to their stomachs,
      or those who destroy and lose all of the benefits of the virtues of fasting
      without wisdom or discernment by the way they eat.

      One of the exercises of self-control during the fifty days after Lent, is
      lack of eating between meals. It is a useful spiritual exercise, as it is at
      the same time useful for the health of the body. Whereas this may be
      difficult for some with respect to the many visits and banquets that they
      attend and host, this can be minimized by lack of eating as much as we can
      between meals, except when necessary.

      We do not fast during the fifty days after Lent according to the saying of
      the Lord, "can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is
      with them?" (Mark 2:19) The reason therefore, is our feeling of the Lord's
      presence with us or our presence with Him. This will take place through the
      continuity of prayer or through the remembrance of the Lord.

      Through this, the fifty-day period after Lent is a period of prayer,
      contemplation and our feeling of being in the presence of the Lord, as were
      the disciples after the Resurrection. "Speaking to one another in psalms and
      hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the
      Lord." (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16) It is a period in which praising
      increases. There is no doubt that this also agrees with the saying of Saint
      James the apostle who said, "Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms."
      (James 5:13) Some beneficial spiritual exercises are memorizing psalms and
      parts of praise and using them as an opportunity for contemplation, in order
      for them to originate from the heart as prayer. That is why the apostle
      repeats the phrase, "singing in your heart to the Lord" "making melody in
      your heart to the Lord."

      May the Lord grant it to be a period of spiritual joy for you my beloved, in
      which you rejoice in the Lord and to make the Lord rejoice by your pure
      lives that are filled with God's love. Hence, the period of these fifty days
      was also a period of repentance, since by repentance heaven and earth
      rejoice according to the Lord's saying, "There will be more joy in heaven
      over one sinner who repents." (Luke 15:7) How much more so if he also grows
      in grace.

      Therefore, be a source of joy to God, His angels and to heaven. Be also a
      source of joy for us when we hear about your righteous life, your growth in
      grace, ministry and in every good work. The Lord be with you and wishing you
      a happy Feast of the Resurrection.

      Shenouda III

      The Feast of the Resurrection April 2010
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