His Holiness Pope Shenouda III - Pope Page 3

 

Certainly there is the greatest of honor in the example of the inspired life led by His Holiness. In his Holy Revelation, St John the celibate foretold of the superiority of a chaste and pure life in the Heavenly abode. He told of the one hundred and forty-four thousand celibates whom he saw standing on the heavenly Mount Zion, singing a new song which only those celibate could learn to sing. These one hundred and forty-four had a special song that belonged to them and them alone and it was further recorded that they were twice blessed with another special privilege which was to also "follow the Lamb wherever He goes" (Revelation 14:1-4).

His Holiness Pope Shenouda III not only is a devoted example of the monastic way of life but is an example of purity of spirit to the youth. The need for purity of spirit is made abundantly clear in the Holy Bible. Because of impurity God wiped out entire nations in the older world by the flood, use fire and brimstone to burn down greatly populated cities such as Sodom and Gomorrah, and brought down the strongest of men whose enemies plucked out his eyes and degraded him to the level of an animal. Just as the pigeon which Noah freed returned to the ark when it found no place among the dead corpses, the same is with the Holy Spirit of the Lord, it never dwells in the impure but in those who seek the virtue of purity. Certainly a youth who is not a prisoner to a life of desires is one who is successful in all aspects of his life. As His Holiness well exemplifies, the life of virtue bears many fruits of spiritual growth.

Complete commitment incorporates an ultimate love for the Lord Jesus first and above all, then family and lastly self as evidenced by His teaching, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:26). Certainly all men are called to have honorable relationships with family but the complete and first prioritized relationship must be with the Lord our God. This relationship is to incorporate love, not only in emotion but also in humility.

Humility can be expressed in many different ways. As a peacemaker is one very significant way. His Holiness Pope Shenouda III is the first Alexandrian pope to visit Constantinople since the great schism of 451 AD, and in addition His Holiness is the first Coptic pope to visit the Vatican since that time period. In May 1973 His Holiness together with Pope Paul VI signed a declaration of mutual concern regarding church unity. His Holiness actively participated in the negotiation process of unity between Chalcedonian and non Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches. St. Augustine stated that the Son of God became incarnate to make peace between man and God, and to cure the heart of men from the illness of pride.

In humility His Holiness has never stop striving in his complete commitment, or "death to the worldly." His papal duties have made His Holiness more diligent to personal teaching and instruction rather than less. Writing many books translated in many languages, preaching and teaching by word and example in many languages, traveling extensively abroad regardless of health and security concerns reveals His Holiness's humility patterned after that of the Lord Jesus Christ, as it is written, "He made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of man" (Philippians 2:7).


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