Serving in Egypt was a wonderful experience. I was told many times that it would be hard on the nerves, and painful, but I did not find that to be the case necessarily. I saw people that were very poor, sick, or disabled, or didn't have a roof over their heads, but many of those people were very simple, and very content. Many of the poorest people that I saw were happy because they had God in their lives, and many people that I saw that were a little better off, were complaining and miserable. It led me to believe that it is not one's circumstances that influence their peace of mind, and joy of heart, but whether or not God is with them. While I have many things those poor people do not have, they have many wonderful things inside them, like peace, love, joy, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control, that I wish that I had instead. I did not feel sorry for these people even if they were very poor; because they were close to God, they were happy. I only felt sad for the ones that were miserable, because I think they were the ones who were truly poor.
I thank everyone for their monetary donations, but I encourage you to give donations of your time and effort to those people living in your own home, or at work, or your neighbor, because you can also donate your love to them. Those that don't have love are the ones that are truly poor, and many of those people are here near you, not in Upper Egypt. There is a quote by Mother Teresa saying, " Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat. "
I am not saying we should not help give people money, because they need that to live, to feed their children, and to ease their hunger and pain. But, God provides them, if they are close to him. Maybe, some of the people that are so far from God will be moved by our love, and give God thanks, and maybe, when they are less hungry, they will have more time to focus on God, and less time to worry about survival.
In short, please help the poor people in any way that you can, through the way that you feel God has given you to help.
Thank you, and God bless you.
WE RECEIVED THE OUTWARD MAN FROM TIME, as every person knows his date of birth. As man advances with age his strength forsakes him little by little without feeling it, till the years overtake him and he looks at his life finding it was devoured by the years. Then he looks in front of him and does not find any further hope in the world. If in his youth he preserved years given up to Christ in piety, holiness, prayer, service and the glorification of God, then his hope is renewed. He sees that his life started to take on its significance in Christ as if he were a new man through his youth, hope, and view of the near and far future, both alike, because he hears the voice coming from above: take courage for soon you will be with us. He is consequently filled with joy instead of distress over the past, because life in Christ renews man’s youth so that with the years he increases in wisdom and grace, and wise works. People see him and praise God in him because illuminated old age is a gift to the world and a pleasing assessment beloved by man.
A person to whom God has given a responsible conscience knowledgeable in godly matters is a treasure for others, the value of which cannot be underestimated. For the man in Christ must realize that the gift of renewed man is a gift to others more than to the person. The external man that perishes in front of man’s eyes is his own that does not try to advance him forwards, while the new man who is daily renewed in the image of his Creator in glory belongs to others and is a light to the world. If the old man is his mother’s pride, the new who is daily renewed with outpouring grace on him and drinking of the water of life springing before God’s throne, is Christ’s pride and God’s glory: “Now, He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God” 1 2Cor 1:21.
The strangest thing is that the first creation made of dust engulfed history and time with long years overtaking humanity reckoned as the age of humankind. Scholars value the quantity of humanity’s wealth in sciences, knowledge, inventions and technology as if they were the inheritance of humankind to cherish and be proud of, while the age of the new man God planned and created for Himself before the foundation of the world, he created in Christ and created for him his future and good works considering him His son. He created him in the image of His Son in glory. He created him before the creation of heavenly beings and their great heads. For that reason man was placed in a position for the pleasure of God even before he set foot on earth. When Adam reneged the image of dust of man who was also in the image of God, it saddened God’s heart and made Him plan His Divine plan to save man from the oppression of sin and death. So He sent His Son to adopt man’s case against His enemies, and remove from him the bitterness of sin, the terror of death, and the domination of the devil. Thus was the cross that destroyed the devil overcoming him and his enemies. He unchained man’s bondage from the burden of the fear of death, the power of sin, and of the devil. He gave him the man of resurrection, reckoned as the new man, created anew in the image of his Creator in glory. God gave him all the inheritance of Christ His beloved Son in glory.
Man thus got back his divine spiritual creation from God who gave him His Holy Spirit to abide in Christ and God, no more tending to sin and the enemy. But God due to His mercy and the richness of His wisdom kept a remainder of the enemy to try those who refuse free salvation and follow the old serpent causing Adam’s fall; for partakers of the new man to overcome the enemy powers and remain witness to the wealth of the glory of God in Jesus Christ, and partners through Him in His glory and that of all His saints.
Fr. Matta El Meskeen 23 June, 2005