Monthly Archives

November 2012

2012, Articles, Raiati

Justification by Faith / 25.11.2012

“Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law”. By “faith”, Paul means the faith in Jesus Christ. For him, this is the perfect faith. Before that, there was the Law, i.e. Moses’ Law. Under this law, we were enclosed while waiting for the faith in Jesus. Here, Paul used metaphorically the image of a “pedagogue” which refers to the servant that used to accompany a child to school. Before the faith in Christ, only this servant (the Law) used to direct us towards Christ.

Now we have become “children of God through faith in Jesus Christ”. Paul gives faith here the image of a cloth that is attached to us i.e. that we have become united with, and he says: “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ”. There exists nothing else, and this is why there is no difference anymore between a Jew and a Greek (i.e. a Gentile) and between the free and the slave (in Paul’s time, Roman citizens were divided to slaves and free people, and the slave didn’t have any legitimate personality). It is not important whether a man was a slave or free and whether he was a male of a female.

Each one of us (a slave or a free man, a male or a female) stays the same on the legal level. The social or racial differences are removed however, “for you are all one in Christ Jesus”.

Before embracing Christ, we were like kids that are “subject to guardians and trustees and in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world”; i.e. we were away from faith. “But when the set time had fully come (i.e. the time in which God’s plan is fulfilled, the perfect plan), God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law (the Jewish Law), to redeem those under the law”. “Those under the Law” are the Jews; even if it is not only them who were redeemed, but the Word of Salvation was sent to them at the beginning. The purpose of redemption is to gain “adoption to sonship”.

In Apostle Paul’s mind, we were the sons of rage because of sin, i.e. we didn’t recognize that we are sons of God in his plan. The Lord made us sons through Christ’s sonship to the Father and our communion with Christ. We are brothers with Christ; and as the Son is the Son of God in essence, we have also become His sons in grace. Our sonship to the Father is gained while Christ’s sonship to his Father is essential and came before all ages.

Our sonship to God is a divine favor and not a fruit of our effort. However, through grace we can behave as sons knowing that God has made us sons through His love. We do not make our sonship to God. We recognize it and then behave according to it in our obedience to the Lord. We achieve our sonship through our love and obedience to the Lord. We enter the family of the Father and become aware of our belonging to God. We become deified as the Son became a man. Man, through adoption, becomes a son and “sits – with the son – on the right hand of the Father”.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “التبرير بالإيمان” –Raiati 48- 25.11.2012

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God’s Love and Our Love / 24.11.2012

This world is a bunch of disappointments if you expect the love you give to be given back in return with “loves” (from others). God did not command in His Book that you seek to be loved by others. Your job is to love like His Son loved; till death. You are a sower who sows in hope, but the Lord does not say that you are sowing for yourself. He is the Harvest of the good that you give others. No one might pay your good work back, and you should not expect that. You are comforted with what you give and not with what you expect since your obedience (to God) might be returned with rejection (from others).

You give freely and you hope that the one given will return his thanks to God. You should not give others with the expectancy that they will give you back. You should give others for the sole reason that they would improve their relationship with God. You give others for their own salvation and that in turn increases your lot in salvation. As you give, you should hope for salvation for yourself and for the others you give to. And this comes to you from the gratuitousness of the Divine Gift that has descended on you and inspired you to love.

You know from what has been mentioned that you are in need of God alone since others can give you only from what they have; and what they have might only be the very little. When Jesus speaks of reciprocity in love, He means that your reward is in Heaven in the sense that it is He who takes what you think you have given to a human and as such the Lord sees Himself as the One who has taken.

If you are not always aware that what you need is God alone, you will drown in disappointment. The giving of those who give you is real only when they feel that when they give you, they are giving the Lord. You are not rich in yourself. You are rich in God and so you distribute His grace on others. He who gives you and does not reckon that in that he is giving God, or he does not consider that the money he gives you of is from God, he then enslaves you. No one has a thing to squander. One is entrusted with what God has given him. The human being seeks the bounty of the Lord, and when he obtains some of that, he shares it with other people. And he who offers others gifts should make them feel that he is God’s steward in distributing His gifts and when people thank him for what he gives, he has to bring them to offer thanks to God. What you spend of money or mind or love is only a bridge between God and those whom He visits. The only feeling we have the right to have is to bring to the Lord those on whom we pour our love; He is to be thanked for what we grant people and that is due to His love for them and also for us.

If we do not remain grounded in our need for God, we cannot receive anything from Him. That is why our relationship with others is one version of our relationship with God. Yet our relationship with God can be tested in its authenticity and trueness only through our relationship with other people. They are God’s face (presence) to us. If we accept them we would have accepted Him and if we reject them we would have rejected them. That is why people who attend Church-services are not necessarily people of God. Of course every love, be it divine or human, requires to be expressed; and our love for God is expressed through our love for people. We encounter Him in people. They are the true altar of our worship for Him. That altar, as John Chrysostom says, is more significant than the altar on which we present the offerings (sacrifice). Love is the offering.

The love of people for each other may reflect God’s love for Man. If you ascend on the path of your love for the Lord, you would be able to love people with a serenity that descends on you from above with a freedom from any sense of gain from the others. If your love for them becomes a reflection of God’s love for His creatures, your love then would be unadulterated and free from any sense of utility or self-pleasure.

The love of people for one another, when it is from God, may be fused with emotions. It is not bad if you purify yourself. And the love you grant to others without expecting anything in return, is often inflamed with what is human; that is not wrong. When we love in a Godly way, our Godly love mixes with what is human; and that is not harmful. Godly love in us is not due to mere human motivation. The meeting of Divinity and humanity in us is one of the mysteries of this existence. We have to make it in the image of the meeting between the Divinity and humanity in Christ. The fusion between us and what is of the Deity in us, remains a mystery that we accept and receive but do not explain. I am certain that I can use the word “fusion” which denotes a meeting of what is human with what is human. That is how the Deity that is “humanized” in us meets with our humanity in its ascension to the Divine that dwells in us.

That is the Saints’ experience which, though I see it from far, I try to interpret to myself and the reader in human language. I wish the Lord would grant all of us to receive that experience in our lives as much as the Lord’s Grace wishes for us. The Lord gives a taste of that to those who truly try.

What came above is sufficient for us to understand the experience of the Saints. The Saints use the language of the mind only after they have gained the Vision (of God). The mind cannot fully understand and interpret the life of the Saints except in the areas that are in its scope.

In those who obtain the above Vision, sin does not necessarily obscure it unless they give themselves to it; then they return to being merely dust, and dust has no vision of anything. And such Vision (the above mentioned) is poured on those who seek and strive on-goingly so that no trace of anything except God remains in their soul.

Such seeking as the above does not find its strength in alienation from others. You do not “see” God unless you “see” the brethren and come with them to the embrace of Christ so they can lean their head on His chest and listen to His heartbeat and listen to words that cannot be uttered. And when people are in His embrace, they bring their brethren with them to Him so that the Kingdom sets in, and thus we all rejoice in Him together. This is so because the Kingdom is not a meadow, it is the King who has come to give us the good news that God is love and we are called to recognize His love for us and appropriate it; as such others recognize the Lord when He comes towards them and gives them to taste His love; for in this, His bounty and love towards us are shown.

Translated by Riad Moufarrij

Original Text: “محبّة الله ومحبّتنا” – An Nahar – 24.11.2012

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2012, Articles, Raiati

God’s Temple / 18.11.2012

When Paul said: “Christ is our peace”, he added: “He has made two groups one” and by that he meant the Jews and the Gentiles. Jews used to hate Gentile nations as the Scripture said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy” (Matthew 5: 43). They understood that only the Jew is your neighbor while strangers are enemies.

The Apostle clarified that this opinion is no longer valid by saying that the Savior destroyed with his body, i.e. his death, the dividing wall of hostility that separated the Jews and Gentiles. Jesus showed that he created “one humanity out of the two” in Himself. This means that, through his death, he made them “one new humanity” after being disputed and made peace between them through his blood and conciliated them in one body by becoming, through their faith in Jesus, one body with God.

They became united through the Cross because they were together in Christ and not far. You became able to pray together to the Father who is the ultimate of everything. The Holy Spirit – that was sent by the Savior after his Ascension to heaven – unites you.

Then, Paul continues his thoughts by saying: “you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household”. Before your baptism, you were strangers and not members of God’s household; however, now you have become citizens with the saints and one with all believers. The Church has become for you the heavenly home that descended from above.

“You were built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets”. By apostles, he refers to the Twelve Disciples and by prophets he refers to the Prophetic Books of the Old Testament that are four Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and Ezekiel) in addition to those who are called the “Minor Prophets” that also wrote books of the Old Testament. He also refers to prophets that didn’t write any books.

By the expression “building”, Paul means the arch that we build in the east which is made of connected stones that have nothing between them such as lime. Those stones are united together through what the apostle calls “the chief cornerstone” and what we call in common Lebanese language “the closing stone”. In such a building, every stone lies on the other and all stones meet in the closing stone.

Paul compares Jesus Christ to this stone because through him all the building is joined together (this is what we do in the eastern building). The building that you have become grows and becomes “a holy temple in the Lord.  And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit”. The expression “a holy temple in the Lord” is interchanged with “a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit (i.e. the Holy Spirit that dwells in you)”. We have an invisible temple which is the Church that God made it a dwelling for Him. You are this dwelling through the Holy Spirit that lives in every person through Baptism and Myron.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “هيكل الله” –Raiati 47- 18.11.2012

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Hatred / 17.11.2012

“They hated me without a cause.” (Psalms 29: 15). And in a more recent translation, “They hate me fervently”. Was the one who translated that into Arabic aware of what it entails to consider hatred as the antonym of love? Is not it much worse than that? There are degrees in love. But hatred is enmity itself in such a way that not one iota of love remains in the one who hates.

Primarily it is the severance of the other from yourself and it is the in-harboring of his death in you even though you do not mean to kill him physically out of fear of the consequences it might incur on you legally; or that you do not have enough courage in you to destroy the other. But the desire of killing is there in you at any rate. There is no ‘half hatred’ or‘quarter hatred’. There is a sense of murder in you that you are afraid of accomplishing. The ‘self’ in you, and here I mean your inner core, dislikes the one you hate; and you do not get together even in the imagination because for you, even in that, he does not exist. Deep in yourself you think of destroying the other. As such there are those who hate. The love that is poured down on them makes no effect in them. There are those who are closed in with hatred and those who are open to love. This is what Paul says is the mystery of evil and we do not get to know how people get closed in their darkness and why they welcome such darkness to start with. We notice that this happens because people get hurt from others treat them harshly or offend them with words; they cannot tolerate that and so they see the other as killing them and destroying them and as a result they read the existence of those who offend them negatively as if they (the offenders) want to annihilate them.

There is a reason for the above offenses happen, but the cause is a major one that is not considered as a psychological defect but is understood to be the inner passions that unleashed themselves wantonly between the offender and the one offended. In that case, there is a digression from what is normally rational or familiar, as such getting into a whirlpool of passions that cannot be understood by logic since we cannot find a link between the offense that took place and the reaction to that offense. When the link between what the offender does and the response of the one offended is absent, then that means that we have digressed from the normal and reasonable and entered into the world of madness.

Here we have departed from the realm of rational judgment, of reason and gotten into the realm of utter emotion and whims. That is why the Bible says “they hated me without a cause”. And the cause became over dramatized to the point that we can say that “they hated me without a cause”. What is the path that brings one to hatred? Here St. Dorotheos of Gaza comes to my help; he says: “Rancor is one thing and hatred is another” And then he speaks also of disaffection and annoyance. Our ascetics knew what sin is down to its minute details. And from their knowledge of sin they got to what is like the science of psychology.

In the Old Testament, anger and hatred are associated together as if anger is an outward expression of hatred. Anger is likened to fire. It burns the one who harbors it and the one on whom it is poured. There also is talk about the anger of God, but this is only a simile. There also is hope in that Book. No doubt that, for those who are righteous, it is possible to get free from the passions; and the way I see it, hatred is a great passion that only a storm of love that comes down from the Lord can hit it; this is so because the heart is by nature susceptible to be bombarded by hatred, and strongly so.

The rancor of those who hate has often fallen on us due to envy. There are those who do not want to see you as gifted or successful or beautiful or eloquent or pure or saintly. So they haul on you all the drawbacks which they invent in order to destroy you in a “nice” way. And often they gossip against you so that they can spoil your reputation making you a robber, and thief, and a liar, and do not be surprised at that even though none of what they say applies to you. There are those who have the desire to destroy others though what they say wrongly of them might not spread much. Few turn away a lie; most people are naïve and simple so the false accusation against you might remain for tens of years; no one turns it away.

Many of those who are honest are not believed for what they say; it is easier to believe those who lie. Quite often you are a victim forever, and God alone “sees” you (know you in that) and He alone justifies you. And that might never get known by the others in this life. And you have to be content with the justification of the Lord so that you do not fall into sorrow and as such you weep alone, and only the Lord wipes away every tear from your eyes.

You hold the one who hates you with the only power you have. Forgiveness. Though nothing ascertains that forgiveness would heal the enemy, but you have no other way; it was said: “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you and do good to those who persecute you …… for if you love those who love you, what reward do you get?” (Matth. 5: 44-46).

Our hope is that healing would come to those who hate so that the world will become righteous. “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” But that does not bring us to despair, but would lead us to great suffering because we desire that people be saved.

The salvation of the world is a strife and non-ceasing prayer on the part of those who sanctify themselves. Love has the victory in the end though we might not behold that during our lifetime. Hope is also a strife and we are saved on Hope.

We cannot antagonize the evildoers. We do not hate them. We hate the evil they do. We do not hate those who hate. We do not despair of their repentance; and when they return to the Lord, nothing gives us joy as much as that does because only their repentance saves their souls from their sins. O for the day when those who hate get into the Resurrection!

Translated by Riad Moufarrij

Original Text: “البغض” – An Nahar – 17.11.2012

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Who is my Neighbor? / 11.11.2012

The expert in the Law wanted to test the Master therefore he asked Him a theological question: “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

The Lord didn’t answer, but replied with another question: “What is written in the Law?” The man answered: “Love the Lord your God…” This is the first commandment which Luke took from Deuteronomy 6: 5, while the second commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself” was taken from Leviticus 19: 18.

Jesus said to the man that came to test Him: “Do this and you will live”. Then, he asked Jesus: “Who is my neighbor?” This wasn’t an easy question for the Jews because they didn’t use to love strangers.

Jesus answered that question with a parable, i.e. a tale, and told him about a Jewish man that was descending from Jerusalem to Jericho and he fell and was hit by robbers. They left him “half dead”.

Two other Jews passed on that road; one was a priest and the other a Levite. Levites were named this way since they came from the offspring of Levi the son of Jacob. Their job was to carry the tent wherever they went and set it wherever they stayed. Those two passed by the wounded man and then a Samaritan – who is from a different race and religion – came. The Samaritan took pity on the man that was thrown on the road.

The question was: Who is my neighbor? The Lord didn’t answer. He replied with another question: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” Jesus didn’t indicate the “neighbor” of the wounded man, but asked about who became his neighbor? This means that, through love, you would make any person that you serve a neighbor for you.

If you had an act of mercy towards any person, you would become his neighbor. Jesus returned the question: “Who is my neighbor?” The question became: “Who shall I make my neighbor?” This takes us back to the Lord’s words: “Love your neighbor as yourself”.

By noticing the other, serving him and loving him, you would be making him your neighbor. Do not search for a “neighbor” among your relatives or the sons of your village. No human being is created as a neighbor for you. You make him so if you went to him and offered what he needs.

Jesus’ words mean that you should become a neighbor for every person you meet on the road of your life by taking care of his needs.

Spiritual kin is created between hearts through working for the benefit of the other.

It is above all other physical kin and above every benefit. It is a complete giving without asking for anything in return. You do not expect anything from the person that you love. You love him so that he could become closer to his Lord.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “من قريبي؟” –Raiati 46- 11.11.2012

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Beauty / 10.11.2012

Beauty exists in itself and you experience it as something outside you and you capture it through your ears and eyes. It becomes in you after it has been in the universe outside you. Why does it become yours and in you while others do not comprehend it? Also why is it that there is a distinction between the subject of beauty and you though it has become in you and you have realized what it is? Why is it that something in you has caused that separation? Is the comprehension of beauty inevitable if you are one with those who are able to contemplate it? And if there is a difference between you and them, how do you explain that difference?

Considering Da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, all of us agree on its beauty. Maybe not all see it as his masterpiece, but I never came across someone who refused to consider it as one of the chef d’oeuvre (rarities) of this world. Then there is in it a splendor that imposes itself on you unless you are illiterate in the field of Art. Its splendor is self imposing because it exists in it and there is no place as such for interpretation or explanation especially that it is static and immobile in the sense that it is the beauty in it that comes to you and you receive it without embarrassment or hesitation.

That means that there are principles that artists have drawn out concerning classical beauty because they see it in the subject they contemplate without much emotionalism and thus they hang on to the principles that artists have agreed on concerning that art (classical beauty) which is an “imitation of nature” as Aristotle has said.

From that perspective, I think that those who are cultured in classical art and those who are ignorant of it are not so distant from one another in their evaluation. They assess a work of art through what they know of the natural around them and as such the touch of beauty of the artist imposes itself on them. Of course the judgment of those knowledgeable is more credible than that of the amateurs; that is why the professionals can evaluate art differently from how the average person does. There is variance among those who evaluate art but Classical Art imposes itself in the same way the Nature, from which art comes, does so.

But modern art, being sophisticated since the impressionist school started, has people at unequal distances from it; in that people have different tastes and opinions. Modern art conceals ideas behind it or it can be interpreted in different ways and understandings.

That does not prevent those people to penetrate to what they think the artist wants to say especially if they know the mindset of the artist who places his own mind and experience in the product of his art. And as such it will be said of those, that they were able to capture the message behind the art. That does not mean that you have comprehended it since Modern Art is not bound to rational understanding. Such art should penetrate your heart as you savor it and thus is not contingent to reasoning.

The fans of Modern Art do not find it necessary that beauty should be expressed and viewed through reasoning. They are not bothered to draw a body without a head. They want you to see a body different from what we see with our eyes. They want to convey to you what they feel inside themselves so that the piece of art is felt in whichever way you may and produce it a painting the way you perceive, without a principle; and as such the art comes forth from a mysterious sense in the artist who conveys to you whatever he conveys; and the artist is not concerned as to whether you agree with him or not and he does not argue with you as to what you see in his art; he only wants you to accept it.

So art is not a language the contents of which are agreed upon; a language that is explicable. The one who reflects on Art can recognize whether he has received something from it or not. There are those who see Art as a means of communication. The question is as to whether there is communication through feelings without the mediation of the mind or not; that is without clarity. There is also the harmony in color which is a form of music but not a subject.

The realm of beauty in modern times is beyond the realm of reason; that is beyond the coherent human whole. Perhaps modern Man might not experience the necessity of cohesiveness between one’s reason and feelings and he accepts to live by emotional or instinctive reactions which are not ruled by the purified human mind.

We have taken from Plato the concept that the human being is like the Polis (the city state) based on beauty, virtue and truth; and that this trinity is indivisible. So the defeat of reason by beauty is like the defeat of virtue which is what purifies us; and the defeat of truth, without which our humanity does not exist, makes us like inner storms making us wallow in turmoil that cannot be quieted.

Beauty is linked to the senses as its source and as its receiver. This is the case if we ignore spiritual beauty which belongs to the realm of Holiness. Beholding beauty with the senses only makes our capturing of it prone to fragility and mixed with our passions. When we receive beauty through understanding and feeling, we are constantly in need of purity of heart and thought so that it does not get mixed with what is against virtue and truth. And of course that is a delicate process.

In other words, if we seek to receive beauty in us, we have to seek virtue and truth. If the aforementioned trinity is divided thus scattering beauty, virtue and truth away from each other, we become adrift. Without the inner harmony of the above three elements we lose the human equilibrium in us and we fall in the terrible falsehood which calls for the separation of beauty from virtue and truth.

The worship of beauty in itself without sticking to virtue and truth is a terrible heresy. Without these last two energies in us, beauty becomes a destruction of one’s self rendering one’s self a tomb for beauty.

The resurrection from the death of the soul is in keeping the unity of beauty, virtue and truth; that is the trinity that the Greeks have viewed before the Gospel dwelled in the heart of Man.

Translated by Riad Moufarrij

Original Text: “الجمال” – An Nahar – 10.11.2012

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The Status of the Bishop in Church / 04.11.2012

Believers know that the bishop is the head of the archdiocese which is the local Church and contains all the characteristics of a Catholic (universal) Church. It is holy and apostolic; it is not divided. This united Church under the leadership of the bishop exists in each of our parishes; the archdiocese takes decisions in all places. The bishop takes the decisions everywhere. Being a father, he decides with love and according to the benefit of the local parish; he decides after discussing with the priest and the parish council because love is the bond between us and he who loves, does not oppress.

We have taken great steps together so that parishes don’t take decisions alone. Without any doubt, the Lord’s spirit exists in all places; however, until this moment, we haven’t reached perfection which is the constant consultation between the priest and his council and the bishop so that all our works could be fulfilled with decency and organization as the apostle says.

This means that we should ask for the bishop’s blessing for every work. Starting from construction, every work such as restoration, changing the church’s building, drawing on the walls requires a clear permission from the spiritual authority. Is it acceptable for the bishop to visit a parish and see new things that he hasn’t heard of before?

The canonical existence which is theologically based is that of the archdiocese as a whole, and this archdiocese has a leader. This is the position of the Orthodox Church. We are one, and this unity is based on consultation and agreement and the divine blessing is transmitted to the believers through the person that has received the spiritual leadership. Surely, some of our brothers carry an isolationist disease and a disease of feeling that they are free in their village’s Church. They say that their fathers established it and the believers inherited what they have given to the Church. According to the Gospel, a giver must give freely and not ask for anything for himself or for his children and grandchildren. It is a grace from his Lord to give. It is a blessing for him and the only thing that he should get from us is our thankfulness. However, this doesn’t give him or his family an authority over the Church.

The local Church exists through the efforts of all people. Its members consult each other hoping for a constant work. However, the spiritual leader is who commands the work. We hear such words sometimes: “Church properties are ours. We do whatever we want in our village”. Actually, according to the civil law, those properties are for the whole sect, and the delegate, in front of the state and the law, is the head of the Church.

From the spiritual aspect, the property is only for God. The whole Church, i.e. the Church of the archdiocese, represented by the bishop, is responsible of dealing with these properties.

In addition to that, there are technical things which only specialized people know about. Therefore, the archdiocese is surrounded by experienced people for the benefit of all. If we became brothers or sons, the bishop’s opinion wouldn’t be isolated anymore.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “مقام المطران في الكنيسة” –Raiati 45- 04.11.2012

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Gratuitousness – Giving Freely / 03.11.2012

“Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt. 10: 8). The Lord meant you to love Him, with a love that you can enjoy and be reared with while He gains nothing from you. He takes initiative in loving you so you can benefit from His love’s continuity in you, so that you become “love”; that is you become able to receive His compassion forever since His tender mercies are all what there is. You get formed if He dwells in you in the sense that He is the one who makes each of you human.

And the Lord knows you as His sons and daughters. And He has created you with that attribute and you remain children of His because His Fatherhood remains forever; and the only thing He wants from you is that you love one another so that you come into being through that bond of love and He sees you as several pieces making one necklace all coming from His good pleasure.

That is how the Creator deals with all His creation starting with Man. He gives freely and Man is not able to pay Him back with anything except obeying Him, such obedience which in fact benefits Man. “What can I pay the Lord for all what He has given to me?” That is a question which Man poses to himself after having tasted the compassions of the Lord. And after Man has realized that he can pay back nothing to the Lord He says “I accept the cup of salvation and I call on (invoke) the name of the Lord”. And the cup of salvation is from the Lord and to the Lord. And the invocation comes from Man’s heart where God dwells; in a sense the Lord is addressing Himself when Man invokes Him or calls on Him.

And the Bible says “The Spirit helps our spirit with groans too deep for words” (Romans 8: 26). That means that when you address the Holy Spirit in your prayers, the Spirit would then be addressing Himself. In other words, He would be praying in you and He would take your humanity into His divinity so that no uncleanness would cling to your humanity. In other words, the Lord “lends” you Himself so that you carry yourself back to Him then He would be at rest in you and you would rest in Him. You as a human act like a trader in matters of your piety and holiness, but God is not a trader of “things”; He trades you with Himself. You cannot appease God with anything; you can only please Him with faith; that is you give Him back what He has given you. And He gives you afresh every day and you taste Him anew because your God is always new through the Fountain that is in Him; and you, according to His grace, feel that you have become a new being as if you have been born with the dawn of each new day as if you see the Lord as your life-giver morning and evening since He does not want you to settle with a sense of “oldness” and does not find pleasure in you dwelling in spiritual death so He brings forth life (resurrects) in you as if you did not die in a sin, which He forgets and erases from His memory which keeps a record of only your “return” to Him.

And He wants you to spend yourself for people not asking for gratitude in return so that you do not end up as a trader in dealing with them. When you are poor in Spirit, you are in need of no one except God and when someone gives you something, you consider that he offers you from what God has given him. For you, it is right to thank all for whatever they give you. But when you thank them, it is not to consider yourself as owing them, but so that they would know that they owe all to the Lord. Do not forget to get people to return to the Lord. It is not acceptable that they have done you a favor (when they give you). That is trade. It is important that they believe that they have served and loved you by the Grace of God. If they know that they are God’s loved ones, they would, through giving you, be coming back home to the Lord.

We would be obeying His commandment when we love one another; and that makes us grow in Him. But the question is: whom do we love when we love? In reality we desire the others to become Godly. It is true that we make a community of those who love God. God spreads Himself, we can say, in the sense that He makes Himself present through me and you. He does not move from one place to another. He resides and dwells where He is welcomed. He does not invade, nor does He usurp. He reveals Himself in your humanity and in those He chooses. He is hidden in you and He makes you speak on His behalf. But beware of forgetting that you are “borrowing” His words which become yours in the sense that you use them out of obedience. The splendor of your course in life is His word. And the words which He said were not put in books for you to read only, but so that you become His word. On the last day, He would see to it whether you have become His word or not; and if not then you would have remained “illiterate” spiritually.

He wants us to become one “word” in love though in appearance we are many and different. And if we say that we have become one “word” then let us consider ourselves to have become one “life” in the mystery (sacrament) of communion which makes the believers all one. When such unity exists among us, God is revealed to us as one and that revelation makes us a unified humanity existing in His love, the love of Him who has given us His only beloved Son.

In that vision, Divine love becomes existent in us; that is it descends upon us from Him who first loved us and made us His. And if He made us only His, it is for our wellbeing, so that we can grow in Him and walk towards Him or better to say our walk in Him.

We do not only grow in His grace, but we become His grace. One of our Fathers said that in His love we become eternal. That, of course, is a mystery that cannot be understood by intellection, but through your belovedness you will understand all and understand that grace impregnates you when you obey, until your mind finds its home in your heart.

That was the purpose of the creation. And since God is not in need of the creation, He then created you to flood you with His love so that you become a being in His image and according to His likeness.

Would it be left for you after that to imagine a society of love? Surely that was His purpose in the creation. You have no other aim since you have no other nourishment unless you are in communion with others. Such communion you establish through the power of giving which is in you.

As such is the community of the saints of whom some have been taken up to Him and some are still on this earth, yet in His Kingdom. Those He has taken up to Himself after having reached that image, and those whom He has kept on this earth after He has sculpted them with His grace, are the sons whom He favors; and those who have not yet arrived at the beauty of that image, He has mercy on them so that they can understand and become that image. They would become that image when they realize that He has given them freely all the Beauty they have, so they thank Him; and He, in His faithfulness to Himself, profusely gives them so that they feel that they have taken freely from Him and as such they expand themselves to Him until they touch His throne; and there they remain.

Translated by Riad Moufarrij

Original Text: “المجانية” – An Nahar – 03.11.2012

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