Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

The Great Feast: A Renewed Spirit

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"Create in me a clean heart, O God;
And renew a steadfast spirit within me
" (Ps 50:10).

We may have prayed this Psalm many times without realizing that it has the power of the Resurrection hidden within it. For, when David prayed it, there was much that had died in his life: his purity, his spiritual strength, and his child. Then, he found himself on his knees; and he wept in agony all that night over the devastation wrought in his life by one moment's sin. Psalm 50 was a heart-felt petition to God in order to lift him out of his pit and grant him a renewed life. It was a request for resurrection. Everything had died, including his joy. But by God's mercy, all was brought back to life. His impurity was replaced with a fervent holiness; his lost strength was renewed into a healthy vitality; and in place of his dead son arose the great Solomon.

Everything in human life that is sustained by itself, and is not continually renewed by God's grace, quickly dies out. Every friendship, every pursuit, every belief, everything that gives delight—including the spiritual life—tends to fade away and die out in the course of time. If any of these is to have lasting significance, it must be renewed constantly.

We all, at some point in our life, have felt the bitter experience. Our best friendship suddenly grows cold; our exciting new job becomes monotonous; our once warm and exuberant faith is now stuck in the mud—all things encounter their ultimate human end. This is what happens when a person shifts the focus from God to the thing itself. That relationship or job, which was once a delight because it was for God's glory, has now become a source of delight in itself; and so it must naturally die. Resurrection is now needed. And only God's blessing can do this work. New life and meaning can be breathed into these dead bones. But the breath must come from the mouth of God.

If something precious has "died" in your life, do not worry excessively. It may be an indication that you have let it run on its own fuel for too long. You have come to admire it excessively on its own merits; and the gift has become more important than the Giver. Our blessed Savior, in His love, has let it die; but if you trust the entire situation to Him, He always intends to raise in its place something very new, fresh, and wonderful.

During this 50-day period of celebration, let us all beseech God for renewal of every detail of our worn lives. Life should not be weary! Christ did not come to die and rise in power to lead a troupe of weak, disappointed Christians. On the other hand, we will always be disappointed if we accept life the way the world normally dictates it. For to Christ, "normal" is far below standard. "In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Ps 16:11). Nowhere, absolutely nowhere, will we find this "fullness of joy" except in Christ. And He grants it most fully to us by the power of the Resurrection working in our lives.

Khristos Anesti

~~~The Fathers Speak~~~

He said concerning Abba Pior that every day he made a new beginning.

Abba Poemon
Sayings of the Desert Fathers

"I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple is what is evil" (Rom 16:19). This word means that we are always children, always new as those who share in the new Word…For this reason, let our whole life be springtime; let the truth within us never grow old.

Clement of Alexandria
The Teacher

He [St. Anthony] indeed did not hold time passed in his memory, but day by day, as if making a new beginning...increased his exertion for advance, saying continually to himself Paul's word about "forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead" (Phil 3:13)...He observed that in saying "today" he was not counting time passed, but was one always establishing a beginning.

Life of Antony

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