Spiritual Articles

Types [of Personalities That God Used]

pope shenouda iii

In our celebration of the Apostles' Fast and the Apostles' Feast, we find that our fathers the apostles were of so many types. Each of the apostles was of a type: Peter was different that Thomas and both were different from John the beloved. And in reality these types were not only different among the apostles but among all the characters of the Holy Bible, not only that but they are in the human society surroundings. Because not all people in the world have the same psychology or the same mind.

Therefore, God did not specify a single road that leads to His Kingdom, but there are many roads, and they all must be good roads.

So among the apostles we find Peter the eagerly, who when asking the Lord a question rushes himself into answering it. And we find Mathew who was originally a chief tax collector and Thomas who doubts everything by nature. Then they were joined by Saul of Tarsus (St. Paul the apostle), who at the beginning of his life, was prosecuting the church. Then after believing, he became one of its big defenders and he has served the church in strength and spread...

This variability can also be found in the story of the birth of Jesus and the visit of Virgin Mary to Elizabeth. We see that the pure Virgin, Elizabeth the married and pregnant, Zachariah the priest and their son John the Baptist who was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's belly. And they all are saints and members. And in the same story we find Joseph the carpenter, Simon the Elder and Hannah the widow the prophet and they are all saints.

And on the mountain of the Transfiguration, we find with the Lord Christ Moses and Elijah and they were of different types too: Elijah is an example of a man living on the mountain and Moses is an example of a man living in the city and of service. Elijah represents violence where he killed the priests of the Baal. And said to the two captains of fifties let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men... Elijah represents virginity and Moses represents marriage... And although both are of different types, they were accepted before God and considered saints.

So no one may say that Moses is right and Elijah is wrong, if he likes meekness more!! If you like meekness then praise him but do not say that he who is not meek is not walking through God's road because everyone has his nature and style.

Women who followed Christ were of different types. There was Mary the servant, the mother of St. Mark the apostle whose home was the first church.

Among those women, there was also Mary Madeline from whom he got out seven devils.

And we find one of the relatives of the ruling house: the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward.

We also find Mary and Martha: Mary represents the life of meditation and Martha represents the life of service and both were accepted before God.

And across history we find other various types, varying in education, age, raising and nature. For example from the point of view of education: we find Athanasius the man of Theology, the well known, the twentieth of the Popes of Alexandria. Also Paul the apostle, the educated the well known of reading many books. We also find Luke the doctor and Arsanious the tutor of the kings' sons. And side by side with all these people we find a group of the apostles the fishermen about whom the bible said that they are the foolish things that put shame on the wise.

And from the point of view of raising we find Deborah the judge (Jg 4,5), and Ruth who used to collect from the sides of the field what the harvesters left.

And from the point of view of age we find the lad David, Mark the youth and Simon the elder; God chose all of them and assigned them services.

And from the point of view of repentance, we find a number of repentants, each with a story that varies from the other: Augustine's story varies from that of Moses the black and they both vary from the repentance story of St. Mary the Egyptian.

And we find, among repentants, that some spent many years in sin until they repented. And some were taken away by the grace at once. And some reached repentance after a long struggle. And some did not know until the eleventh hour or maybe until a quarter to the twelfth hour like the right hand side robber.

We notice in all the sins that God accepted that He knew the weakness of our nature (Ps 103:14). And know that the nature has become more tending to the sin ever since the days of our father Adam. And yet, those sinners who were accepted by God like Zacchaeus and Moses the black did not continue as sinners but He lead them to repentance.

As for their sins, He did not reproach them for them, and He even forgot.

And so, He said in Jeremiah's book "For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more" (Jr 31:34). It is a comforting verse for every human who committed a sin in his life and his conscience is annoying him because of it.

And about repentance He said (in prophet Ezekiel's book): "he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him" (Ez 18:21, 22). And says in the psalm "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity" (Ps 32:1, 2). And out of St. Paul admiration of this verse he quoted it in his Epistles to Romans (Rom 4:7, 8).

All these statements calls for hope and encourages every person who is facing desperation that is trying to kill him. God does not only forgive the sin but also covers the sin and erases it and does not remember it again... All these are comforting statements...

And from the side of women, He chose Sara the barren, and choose Leah the bearing woman. And from the side of children He called Samuel the child and called a child to Him, set him the midst of them and said: "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 18:2, 3). And we read about a baby who was filled with the Holy Spirit while he was in his mother's belly, I mean John the Baptist.

And here we notice in all the samples or types we mentioned:

First, that God gives a chance to all, so that no one gets despaired from going to Heaven. And second, He puts before us many types and each of us can choose what suits him... So he who loves meekness has the example of prophet Moses (Nm 12:3). And he who has toughness in his nature has the example of prophet Elijah.

The most important thing is that God wants to lead everyone to salvation regardless of their types.

The strange in all what we mentioned is that we find for example of Rahab the harlot and how the bible mentioned here in the genealogy (Mt 1:5). God allowed that to give hope to everyone. Even this Rahab had that hope.
And you may say: Count me, o Lord, among any of those. The important thing is that I reach you. Or just count me as smooth stone in David's sling for you to hit a target that you want(1 Samuel 17).

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"God's power is able to perform wonders with you but it awaits your faith." - H.H. Pope Shenouda III #coptic #orthodox #genuine #faith

 

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