Saint Paul’s Spiritual Prescription – Part II

From Saint Paul’s letter to the Philippians, we can see a beautiful message of joy. Even though he was under immense pressure while in prison, Saint Paul teaches us that a life of joy can be achieved regardless of our external circumstances. 

Step 1: Guard Your Faith

The first step is to keep the faith that you have in your heart alive, stirred up and awakened. Faith is a gift that is renewed, and what keeps it strong is reading the stories of the lives of the saints. Guard your faith, keep it active, and trust that the Hand of God is at work. And do not forget the wonderful promise He gave us in the Gospel of Matthew 28:20 “and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” God is always with you. Let your heart be full of faith, well-founded because you know that God’s Hand is at work in this life, and God’s hand is working all things out.

Step 2: Offer Your Repentance

Offer your repentance, guard and preserve the purity of your heart. Do not allow your heart to have any impurities or any impure thoughts. Pay careful attention to this matter and this will keep your repentance continual, which in turn will keep you joyous. “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7). Each one of us is in need of repentance. Stand before the Lord and pledge the purity of your heart. And let your repentance be spiritually lawful by offering it in the Sacrament of Confession and attain the absolution, and come forth and partake of the Holy Sacraments and receive the Eucharist.

Step 3: Surrender Your Thoughts

Surrender your thoughts and your thinking to the Bible. We are living in strange times because the world has become a sensory overload and our thoughts are continually flooded with stories and news. Give your mind a rest. Surrender your thinking to the Bible. Let your Bible, with its scriptures and Commandments, be that which directs your thinking and life. Saint Paul while in prison was writing to us his conclusions of life, based on life-experiences and experiences in service and ministry. Let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ. Surrender you thinking to the Bible, and let the Bible be your guide. Do not forget that “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4). So let the Word of God that comes forth from the Bible be transmitted to you, that it may be transformed into spirit and life within you. Let your thinking be Biblical, and have mind that speaks the Words of God.

Step 4: Invest In The Opportunity

Life is an opportunity. Do not let the opportunities God sends you pass you by, but take advantage of them. Invest in learning, reading, attending church, serving others etc. Maybe you can visit a poor home, an orphanage or a senior citizen. Invest in every opportunity to help and serve others.

If we always keep these steps in mind, we will taste and experience a state of joy. As we learn from Saint Paul’s letter to the Philippians, joy is a state that we can abide in and enjoy regardless of what the external circumstance may be. Because joy is not connected to one’s external circumstances. Saint Paul wrote his letters when he was in prison, in a time of trouble and need.

Finally, the church teaches us the word Hallelujah, which means to “rejoice in Jah” or “rejoice in God.” He who is happy will rejoice in God. This joy is not only in his heart, but it is also experienced in his life and in his day, and he is able to pass this joy along to others. True skillfulness is to be able to pass along the state of joy we have within us to those around us. When a person is joyous, let them be full of Hallelujah’s, knowing that Christ lives in them.

– Summary and Excerpts from a sermon by Pope Tawadros II, his prayers be with us

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