Since birth, we were all taught to “seek first the Kingdom of God.” But in seeking the Kingdom of God we must challenge ourselves and give up our own desires. We often think that by striving for holiness, we will no longer be happy or by striving for righteousness, everything else in our lives will falter. Sadly, we put so much faith in our own abilities and forget the power of God. We forget how much He has given us, we forget how much He suffered for us, we forget that even our trusted abilities were given to us by Him, and the most unfortunate of all, we forget that ALL things are possible to Him.
When we put so much focus on our academic, career, social, or physical goals yet forget our spiritual goals, our hearts and minds begin to accumulate many impurities because of their lack of nourishment. However, we must be careful what we place into our hearts and where we place our hearts, “For where [our] treasure is, there [our] heart will be also.”(Matthew 6: 21). If our focus is on the Kingdom of God, only things leading to the Kingdom of God will be in our hearts and therefore leaving our lips; because, let us not forget that “out of the treasure of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34).
During Preparation week of Great Lent, we should set our eyes on heaven. We must prepare ourselves to place God first in our hearts and lives for He put us first before the creation of the world and set everything under our feet. He promises never to leave us in need of anything as we are more of value to Him than the birds of the air, which He also provides for, according to Matthew 6: 26-27. He promised to love us forever and fulfilled His promise by sending His Son to purchase us by His blood. He promised to always fill us; however, we have to open our hearts and allow Him entrance. So let us all open our hearts before God and allow Him to lead us to Him in purity and righteousness as King David in the Psalms said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139: 23-24)
Author: Marina Abdelsayed
The word “Epiphany” comes from the Greek word ‘epiphaneia’, meaning ‘manifestation’ . This refers to the event in which the Holy Trinity as a whole had been revealed to Mankind. Another, more direct term often used in place of “Epiphany” is the word “Theophany” which means ‘the manifestation of God to humankind’ . Not to be mistaken for the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany was a result of His baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. This is clearly explained in the Gospel of Luke: “When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22). We see here that the baptism of Our Lord resulted in the appearance of the Holy Trinity (Epiphany) :
1. The Son (Our Lord Jesus Christ being baptized and praying)
2. The Holy Spirit (in the form of a dove descending upon Him)
3. The Father (the voice from
Fifth Sunday of the Great Lent:
There have been many great events throughout the history of the world, many with riveting results. But none can begin to approach the earth-shattering impact made by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Whether one is a devout Christian or a vehement atheist it would be impossible for any honest historian to deny this. No atomic bomb, world war, genocide, or trip to the moon could come close to the significance of St. John’s opening words in his gospel, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The gospel follows the life of Christ and his introduction as the Messiah. But the fifth chapter within this gospel marks the beginning of a division.
On this day, the great St. Macarius, the son of Basilidis the Chancellor, was martyred. When the messengers reviewed the order of Emperor Diocletian, which dictates the worship of idols, with Macarius, he did not heed them. When the Emperor knew that, he sent Macarius to the governor of Alexandria. He bid farewell to his mother, and asked her to care for the poor and the needy, then he went with the envoy. The Lord Christ appeared to him in a vision, encouraged him, and told him what would happen to him. When he arrived to the city of Alexandria, he stood before Armanius the governor, who deceitfully treated him well because he knew that he was the son of Basilidis the Chancellor.