One of the things that hit me most in Jonah’s commission is that no one is without sin.
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one. (Psalm 14:1-3)
It appears that it was not only Nineveh’s wickedness that has come up before God (Jonah 1:2), but also Jonah the prophet who was commissioned by God to preach and enlighten Nineveh.
Jonah’s faults are many:
- He rejected God’s commission and fled away thinking that he can go away from the presence of the Lord (Jonah 1:3).
- He resented God’s mercy and compassion towards His creation (Jonah 4:1-2).
- His resentment to God’s mercy led him to ask for his own death (Jonah 4:3).
Perhaps Jonah’s sins are greater than that of the people of Nineveh.
God said that they “cannot discern between their right hand and their left” (Jonah 4:11), while Jonah knew God very well; he knew His power, strength, mercy, and compassion (Jonah 4:2). Jonah was so close to God that the Bible says that he went away from the presence of the Lord.
The fall from being in the presence of God and having such knowledge about God to a series of sins leads one to think that Jonah’s sins are surely greater than Nineveh’s.
For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more Luke 12:48
When Jesus was incarnate, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him during His baptism. He did not need the Holy Spirit to descend on Him, because it is His Spirit. He did this, on our behalf, so that He may dwell in us and grant us adoption to the Father.
For that reason,
- Jesus asks us to say: “Our Father who art in heaven“ (Matthew 6:9)
- St. Paul says: “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.“ (Romans 8:15-17)
- St. John says: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12)
The adoption to the Father through the Holy Spirit, surpasses every other gift. In this Holy Sacrament, the believer attains 8 benefits:
Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” John 3:5
(2) Remission of Sins
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” Acts 2:38
(3) Illumination of the mind
But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings. Hebrews 10:32
(4) Spiritual circumcision
For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Philippians 3:3
(5) Sealing of the soul
Who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2Corinthians 1:22
(6) Restoration of our divine image
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2Corinthians 3:18
(7) Spiritual Membership of the Church
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:27-28
(8) Power to conquer sin, death and Satan
Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19
May we live lives worthy of the children of God…
A man watches a bird flying, and wishes to fly himself, but he cannot, because he has no wings. Even so the will is present (see Romans 7:18) that a man be pure, blameless, without spot, to have no wickedness in him, and to be always with God; he has no power to fly into the air of God. The liberty of the Holy Spirit may be his wish, but unless wings are given to him, he cannot. Let us then beseech God to bestow upon us the wings of a dove (the Holy Spirit), that we may fly to Him and be at rest (see Psalm 55:6), and that He would separate and make to cease from our souls and bodies, that evil wind, which is the sin that dwells in the members of our souls and bodies. None but He can do it.
ٍٍSt. Macarius the Great
Without the Holy Spirit we are strangers from God; the Holy Spirit grants us the unity with the Father through the Son. As Origin once said, “It is impossible to become partakers of the Father or of the Son without the Holy Spirit.“
Communion with the Father
It is through the Father’s grace that we are granted the Holy Spirit, and it is through the Holy Spirit’s grace that we are granted the adoption to the Father.
Communion with the Son
Jesus promised us (His church) to receive the Holy Spirit to dwell in us (see John 16:7, 14), and at the same time the Holy Spirit prepares us to receive Jesus Christ as our Heavenly Groom (see Revelation 22:17)
May the bonding power of the Holy Spirit be with us and grant us the communion with the Father through the Son.
The Holy Spirit has two major roles when it comes to the Scriptures. The first was revealing to its writers God’s message to His people, and the second is granting us the readers the understanding of God’s message.
The Holy Spirit, The Writer
God’s word is revealed to the writers, without ignoring their backgrounds, their cultures, and their education. Its aim is not merely to grant enlightenment to the writers’ minds but rather to engage them in a personal dialogue with God.
For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)
The Holy Spirit, The Interpreter
The reason we were given the Scriptures is to grant us the communion with the Father through the Son, which is the intention to which we were created. The inspiration of the Holy Spirit is essential in making us realize this divine goal of communion.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16)
The beauty of the reading the Holy Scriptures in the presence of the Holy Spirit is that you get to understand the Scriptures from Him who wrote it.
Psychologists have studied the fact that many people who commit suicide are famous and admired by many, in need of nothing, and very talented with their skills. It turned out that loneliness has been a major reason for people to lose hope in life.
When God first created Adam, He knew that man was in need of someone to be close to him; someone to love him; someone to encourage and strengthen him; someone to acknowledge his emotions, desires, weaknesses, thoughts…etc. So God created Eve.
And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Genesis 2:18)
But after the fall, neither Adam nor Eve could fulfill each others’ needs. Not even parents could fulfill their children’s needs (see Psalm 27:10). So part of Christ’s restoration of His creation was to send “The Helper”, His Holy Spirit. This, which He said, “will guide you into all truth … will tell you things to come … will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13-14)
Through the grace which is bestowed upon us by the Holy Spirit, no believer should ever feel lonely. The Holy Spirit has the power to remove the loneliness from the hearts, souls and minds of believers, by dwelling in them.
That’s the reason we hear of monks staying in the desert for years, not seeing other people, yet never feel lonely:
- St. Athanasius was told that the whole world was against him, but he didn’t feel lonely.
- St. Anthony was asked about the reason of his joy although he lived alone in a cave, he answered that God filled his heart and cave.
May the Holy Spirit come and dwell in our hearts and give us the companionship, support, and help we need.
I started reading a book called “The Gift of the Holy Spirit” by Fr. Tadros Malaty. It is a true eye opener to the precious gift “The Holy Spirit” that dwells within us.
Here is an excerpt of what I just learned… Continue reading The Trinity and the Gift of the Holy Spirit
One of the weaknesses that I can’t seem to overcome is procrastination, so I decided to see what the Bible says about it. The first hit on google is an article by Rick Warren titled Why do I Procrastinate?
It simply shows that there are 5 reasons for procrastination:
- Indecision. “he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8)
- Perfectionism. “He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4)
- Fear. “The fear of man brings a snare [a trap]” (Proverbs 29:25)
- Anger. “He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer” (Proverbs 18:9)
- Laziness. “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.” (Proverbs 13:4)
I once heard that it is considered a sin if you decide to postpone something to another day, because by that you are claiming ownership of time, which is not yours. The only “time” you have been granted is NOW.
Let’s all pray that God may give us strength to overcome procrastination, in order to succeed and be fruitful in all aspects of life.