Words of Spiritual Benefit | 121-130
121- Wheat & Tares
God sent you to earth to spread goodness. As for the evil that is on earth, leave it and do not resist it.
It is a wise policy that the Lord gave us in the parable of the tares in Matthew 13. His servants asked him, "Do you want us to go and gather them up? But he said "No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest." (Matt 13:28-29).
The tares remained on earth and the Lord allowed it not only to stay but to grow and grow till the harvest. It is not for us to gather it.
As for you, are you getting tired of pulling the tares while it is still on earth. You have probably lost your spirituality in doing this. What have you gained for yourself.? Maybe you found out that your wheat was uprooted with it or it became like the tares or become like it!! in anger and the loss of peace, and perhaps in losing some love!!
If you get tired, come and let us both grow wheat together; sow the seeds of love everywhere. Let us plant new seeds and water them with the living water and pray that God may make it grow. Let us ask Him in our prayers and Masses to raise it to its measure according to his grace and to grant a cheerful touch unto the earth, water it and increase its harvest.
Sow seeds of goodness everywhere. Do not be troubled if some of it fall on stony places or among the thorns. Forget all that and rejoice in the few seeds that fell on good soil and grew. This is your portion from all your toil. It is also the portion of God.
Do not waste your time, your nerves or your spirituality in uprooting evil from earth, but be positive in making good deeds.
How beautiful is the saying, "Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle."
Light does not struggle with darkness. The presence of light is enough to make darkness disappear.
122 - Evaluation and Care
Your concern or lack of care about every matter depends on your evaluation. This shows that evaluation is of great importance.
For example, if you neglect praying, this would be an implied confession that you do not care about prayer. Whether it is the prayer that solves your problems or as means of expressing the love that exists between you and God.
Do not deceive yourself and do not try to defend. This is the truth.
As long as you put prayer last on your list - if there is time left you'll pray and if not you wouldn't - without feeling of loss or danger. If that is the case and prayer does not receive your attention, then its value in your opinion is little. Therefore, in your life, you undoubtedly depend on human hands and not on God!
If you ask me: What can I do to pray? Do I force myself? I will say that it is more important for you to feel the value of prayer, for your life on earth and for your eternity.
The same applies to other matters.
Your evaluation of people's feelings makes you care about the way you deal with them and the style and words you use when talking to them.
Your evaluation of the importance of friends and the interest in gaining people makes you care about them so you would not lose any, and to achieve this, you endure and sacrifice.
Your evaluation of eternity and its importance makes you act properly in your life on earth; you try not to sin so you would not lose your eternity.
When you sin, it proves that eternity at that time has no value in your opinion.
Your evaluation of time decides the way you are going to spend it.
The one who spends his life in extravagance, dealing with trifles, he is the one who admits that time has no value in his life.
Your evaluation of sins, the way you divide them into big ones and small ones, makes you think little about the small sins and your conscious would not trouble you when committing or confessing them.!
Would you reconsider your evaluation of many of these points.
Perhaps there are serious matters which you consider easy in evaluating them.
123 - Practising Prayer All The Time
You cannot reach at once what the saints attained in several years. Therefore, you need to follow these gradual steps:
1 - Decide, for yourself, on a short prayer that suits you. You may repeat it several times, in depth, expressing your personal feelings.
2 - Use this prayer in your leisure time to keep yourself busy without allowing your thoughts to wander over trifles or sins. That is how you can gain a double profit: praying and also resisting evil thoughts. At the same time, you use your time in what helps you spiritually.
3 - Keep your mind busy with prayer while you are among people whose talk has nothing to do with your salvation. You do not benefit from it and, at the same time, you'll be embarrassed to withdraw from them. At least, be there physically but, as for your heart, keep it busy with God in prayer without anybody noticing.
4 - You may also busy yourself with these prayers during the time you spend in public transport or waiting for it, or while you are waiting for somebody. This could also save you from worry and boredom.
5 - You may repeat these short prayers while you are sitting on the table to eat. It feeds your spirit while your body is receiving its food. At the same time, you'll keep table-manners.
6 - If anyone talked to you during these prayers, do not ignore him by remaining silent and getting yourself into trouble. Answer him briefly and quietly, then go back to your prayers.
7 - You may also repeat these prayers while you are in bed before you go to sleep. This will keep your subconscious busy with spirituality, beside the work of prayer. By doing this, your bed will be sanctified and your dreams become pure.
8 - When you wake up, start also by repeating these prayers, even before washing your face. That will make your first thought spiritual and the first one you talk to is God.
9 - Whenever you find a chance to pray, take advantage of it. That is how you overcome the problem of " wasting time " and get used to prayer.
10 - All these prayers do not prevent the Agbia prayers or your personal prayers, when you stand in reverence before God.
124 - Your Relationship With The Holy Bible
=> Your relationship with the Holy Bible centres around: owning the Book, accompanying the Book, contemplating on It, studying and learning It and, above all, doing what is in It and training yourself to follow its commandments.
=> To own the Bible does not mean to keep it as a rarity on your desk but to be for your continual use. You accompany it wherever you go, in your pocket or in your hand-bag. That makes it easy for you to read in it at all times.
=> It is better to read the Bible on regular basis. It must be daily. And it is better to read extracts every morning to give room to your thoughts and meditations during the day. It fills your mind in your comings and outings.
=> Let your readings in the Bible be with understanding, depth and contemplation. Would it be accompanied by prayer, so you would say with David," Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things from your Law."
=> Let your reading be with a solemn spirit so you would benefit from it . Remember how we stand at Church in great reverence to listen to the Holy Gospel. Beware of reading in negligence or a stray thought.
=> What is important is not the amount of what you read but the depth in reading. That is when the Lord's words penetrate deep in your heart and make it touch your feelings.
=> Try to learn some verses that represent certain principles or especial effect or some of God's promises and answers to matters that bother you.
=> Repeat these verses in your heart many times in a manner of enjoyment that makes them stick to your spirit and depths.
=> Look at these verses from the practical side. Make it a subject for your spiritual training. That is how you transform the Bible into life and it becomes part of you.
=> Do not be literal in your reading but spiritual. If you need help, there is nothing wrong in asking.
=> The important thing is to receive a spiritual benefit from reading.
125 - The Element of Memorising
One of the useful practices during fasting is to practise memorising. We mean memorising psalms, prayers, chants and hymns. It could also be memorising verses and extracts from the Bible.
By memorising, you keep yourself busy with something that is useful spiritually.
By memorising, you plant in your subconscious and in your memory spiritual matters that could be of benefit to you later on, when you remember them.
By memorising, you feel you are in a spiritual atmosphere, just like that of prayer and you get a chance to contemplate on what you learned.
By memorising verses from the Bible, you will be able to find an answer for any thought that comes to you. You will also obtain an enlightened heart in divine matters and also in religious studies. The Bible becomes inside you.
By memorising psalms and prayers, you will be able to pray all the time and in any situation and any place, even among people. There would not be any need to open a book and without revealing your prayers.
By memorising, you will be able to pray while walking in the street or while on public transport. You can pray while you are in a group of people, talking about matters that do not concern you. You sit quietly, repeating the prayers you learned. They will consider you listening while you are praying within your heart, without anyone noticing you!
By memorising, you will be able to pray in the dark and entertain yourself by contemplating while on a trip or a long walk.
As a suggested programme for memorising, one may start by the common parts in the Agbia such as the Thanksgiving prayer, the Psalm 50 and the Trisagion. Then turn to some psalms and parts, absolutions and Gospels from the seven prayers, whatever pleases one's heart.
One could also memorise some known parts from the Bible, such as ( 1 Cor 13 ) about love, or (Rom 12 ) or (Thess. 5: 12- 28 ), or ( Phil 3:7 - 14 ).
As for the young, they may learn to memorise many verses according to the alphabetical order. They could also learn some chants, hymns and Agbia prayers as far as it is within their level.
Competitions could be held at Sunday Schools and exchange reciting among friends.
126 - Do Not Postpone
If the grace of God worked in your heart and felt a strong desire to repent, do not hesitate not even for a few minutes.
You do not know, perhaps the motive might cease, also the outside effect, then the desire to repent goes away and you try to look for repentance and you cannot find it.
Your deferment for repentance gives Satan a chance to be prepared for you and put obstacles in your way. When he knew of your intention to repent, his wars will become fierce and he will make it difficult for you.
The Bible considers your rejection of the voice of God, a kind of hardness of the heart. The Divine Inspiration says, "Today if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." (Heb 3:15).
Such deferment, or the non-response to the voice of God is considered negligence of the work of grace.
God might allow His grace to be taken away from you, or deliver you to the hands of your enemies in order that you may know the value of the grace you rejected and not to refuse to accept the work of grace for repentance.
The prodigal son, when he came to himself, he said, "I will arise and go to my father." (Luke 15:18). Immediately he arose and went he seized the spiritual warmth before it became cool in the heart and before it was snatched by the enemy.
The Bible says, "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." (Eph. 5:16). Therefore, benefit from a time when you feel a longing for God; turn such a desire into a practical fact showing that you seek God as He seeks you.
Many of those who delay repentance, they never repented. Or when they tried to repent later they found it very difficult. What is worst, many of them did not want to repent.!
Every time you delay repentance, say to yourself what is the meaning of this? Does it mean that you forsake God's reconciliation?! Or do you prefer to continue resisting Him?! Or do you not mind the strife with God and wound his love?
127 - How To Confess
(in preparation for the New Year)
1. First, you must be convinced that you have sinned, so that you confess that before God and the Confession Father. He who justifies himself or sees that is right in his action, naturally, he will not confess.
2. At confession, you confess your sins and not the sins of others. Do not put the blame on others as Adam and Eve did.
3. Sit first and make up an account with yourself in order not to forget.
4. Concentrate in your words in order not to waste the time of the confession father and the other waiting confessors.
5. Confession is not to tell stories but to mention where you sinned, because confession is to judge yourself before God in the hearing of the priest.
6. Mention the sins of work, thought, heart, tongue, senses and intention specifically not as stories.
7. Mention your wrongdoings in relation to worship and all means of grace such as praying, reading, fasting and spiritual meetings ... etc.
8. Speak of your wrongs in relation to the main virtues, such as faith, humility, love, gentleness and the remainder of the fruits of the spirit.
9. No objection that you make a comparison with the previous point to find out if you are in a spiritual growth, or tardiness, suspension or lukewarmness.
10. Go to confession with the spirit of repentance and submission, and wholeheartedly determined not to return and keep away from the causes of sin.
11. Make your confession day an ideal day with a special treat, either in preparation for or after the confession, taking no action that makes you lose your spiritual warmth.
12. In your decision to repent, beware of depending on yourself, but continually pray that God gives you strength.
13. After confession, the devil might contend with you to let you fall, put you in despair and spoil the new beginning that you started. Take care and pay good attention to any combat. If you fall, do not say 'no use' but stand up with more strength and true will.
14. Give more importance to fight the repeated sins.
128 - I Want.
On New Year's eve, Lord, I do not want to make many promises, as with my previous experience, I know that I shall not fulfil any, or I will start but not finish.!
I do not want to rely on myself; I know my weakness. I know I have many good intentions, "but to perform what is good I do not find" (Rom 7:18).
The first thing I want Lord is to talk to you openly.
I want to present you my heart as it is, not as it should be. I want to put to You my weaknesses, as they are, so that with Your grace and Holy Spirit, You take charge of them.
I do wrong if I undertake that I will repent, but I cry out to you "Restore me and I will return."(Jer. 31:18).
I will be at fault if I promise to make many good deeds, but I ask you to strengthen me so that I can do. I want you to work in me in order to do what you want me to do, "For it is God who works in you both to will and to work."(Phil 2:13).
Lord, at the beginning of this year, I want you to take charge of every day in it and I want you to take this life yourself and shape it in the way which conforms with your good deed and your holy will.
I want you to uncover your will in my life. "Teach me your statutes. Make me understand the way of your precepts." (Ps. 119:27) "Open my eyes , that I may see wondrous things from your law." (Ps. 119:18).
Tell me what you want and give me the strength to do it.
If I do wrong and fall, excuse my weakness and hold my hand to rise.
I do not ask only for myself but for those whom I love, as well as those whom you like most, because you chose them temples for your spirit. "Holy Father, keep them through your name, Sanctify them by your truth." (John 17:11&17).
Fill them with your Holy Spirit.
I want their names to be written in the Lamb's book of life.
129 - Do Not Despair
No matter how weak your spiritual life is, do not despair, as desperation is one of Satan's wars by which he wants to weaken your morals, abolish your ability, to fall in his hands.
If you despair of yourself, never despair of the grace of God. If your deeds do not lead you to repentance, God's work for you might do.
Sometimes, in your spiritual life, the cause of despair could be the placement of ideals above your level, or taking steps which do not comply with the necessary gradual progress.
As you cannot achieve what you want, you despair.
Therefore, it is better that you put before you a gradual system in the limits of your power and abilities. Be aware that God wants only one step from you and if you take it He will lead you to the next and so on.
You might despair because you cannot stand before the Lord unless, first, you make yourself better.
It is preferable to say to Him I cannot reform myself and then come to You, but I come to You so you can make me better.
Do not despair if you feel that you do not love God. Do not say what is the use of all my works if I do not love Him!
Say: if I do not love God, it is a comfort that He loves me and with His love He can make me love Him.
If your are using the spiritual means and you do not have a true relationship with God, do not despair.
Keep on the spiritual readings, even if it is without understanding. Keep on praying, even if it is without warmth, also in confession even if it is without penitence. Perhaps because of your perseverance, the Grace of God will seek you and give you the understanding, warmth and penitence.
Your pure perseverance in the spiritual means puts God in your mind even without repentance! but if despair and repeal these commandments, you might go downwards and forget God completely.
Even if you are in a weak state, do not despair. It is better for you to stay as you are, than being pushed to the worse.
130 - The Other Half
=> He who complains, perhaps, he sometimes produces half the truth, so he seems unkindly treated. Mostly, he does not produce the other half; the cause of such assault. He therefore does not give a complete picture of the truth. By investigation, it is possible to uncover the other details which explain the situation.
=> An open person mentions everything - the "ins and outs" - by that he puts all the facts without hiding.
=> He who praises himself, he too gives half the truth, i.e. the white spots in his life. There are other adverse spots - if put together - they give a full picture of his personality, character and actions.
In the same way, we speak about the mother who praises or defends he son; or the subordinate who always commend his boss.
=> Any person who gives a bias to a certain body, or to be prejudice against an idea, course, philosophy or a trend, he mostly applies half the truth; he only quotes the good points concerning what he likes or whom he admires, but the other half of the truth could be said by the opposing side.
Prosecution represents half the truth, and defence represents the other half, and with the two together, the truth comes out.
=> Further support represents half the truth, while the opposition submits the other half, and the full picture is complete with the combination of the two.
What you see in yourself is half the truth, and what others see in you, is the other half.
=> The visible facts are part of the truth and the hidden ones are another part, which could be the major part.
=> What you pronounce of your principles, ideas or aspirations is merely a part, but the other part is what you perform of these principles.
=> Your personality outside your home and among people is half the truth. Perhaps your life with your family is another thing. Your inner heart, thoughts and feelings are a third thing. You are the three together.
=> Until when will people live with half the truth?
Perhaps the other half the Lord will declare on Judgement Day.