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Feast of the Epiphany -- Baptism: Crowning Back into the Original Glory PDF Print
Written by H.G. Bishop Youssef   
Thursday, 17 January 2008
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Feast of the Epiphany -- Baptism: Crowning Back into the Original Glory
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Additional Jewels on the Crown

During the time of the Apostles Church, the Christian life of the new converts had not stopped at participating in the Holy Sacrament of Baptism. Following baptism, new converts were indoctrinated into the life of the Church. We are told, "They continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers" (Acts 2:42). The early days of the Church of Jerusalem were recorded as filled with love, unity, and joy. They shared everything with one accord; regarding their possessions as belonging to God. A life filled with liturgical prayer and partaking of the Holy Communion made this happiness possible.

We should all desire to live fulfilling, fruitful lives of love, unity, and joy within the Church. We are even told there are degrees of spiritual fruitfulness in Matthew 13:23, "But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruits and yields, in one case a hundred fold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."

The time we live in can certainly be called the era of self-help. Self-help books, self-help groups, and self-help materials are promoted everywhere. Everyone is desperately looking for that life of spiritual contentment, fruitfulness and internal peace.

Any Christian, resistant to self-help (i.e. hearing and obeying the Holy Scriptures), is like a rocky soil. No matter how good the quality of the seed that has been planted in their heart, this seed cannot take root in that rocky soil, and will neither grow nor reproduce. Consequently, their life will be neither fruitful nor productively benefiting from God's Word. If your heart is open, as were the New Testament Christians, filled with the Holy Spirit, praying at regular hours with the Agpeya, partaking of the Holy Communion, and in fellowship with one another, the question will no longer be, "How can I be fruitful; but rather, how fruitful can I become?"

As we celebrate the Glorious Feast of the Epiphany, let us remember what St. Marcarius the Great wisely said:

"The earth could not be healed of such a great and invisible plaque by any medications of her own, that is, by righteous actions proceeding only from her; but by the heavenly Divine nature of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Only with this medication, man could find treatment and live having his heart cleared by the Holy Spirit."

Blessed is the Lamb of God who has taken away the sin of the world and crowned man into his original glory. Glory, honor, and worship to our Lord God now and forever more to the end of ages. Amen.

Bishop Youssef,
Bishop, Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States



Last Updated ( Monday, 21 January 2008 )
 
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