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Papal Letter for the Feast of the Resurrection 2006

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My beloved children in the lands of immigration, Priests and congregation.

I congratulate you all for the Feast of Resurrection, wishing you all on this Feast peace and edification, with all goodness and blessing. I always love to hear good news about you regarding your spiritual growth and active service in the church, and building the Kingdom of God on earth.

Live in the joy of the Resurrection, for the Resurrection is joy in all aspects.

We rejoice firstly in the Resurrection of Christ, for by His resurrection, He trampled upon death and became “the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” That is, the First in the procession of those who rise from death in all generations. And just as He rose, we will also rise and be victorious over death in the Resurrection.

We also rejoice in the Resurrection, for in it we will have spiritual heavenly bodies according to the saying of Saint Paul the Apostle in his First Epistle to the Corinthians chapter 15 verses 44 and 49. Lusts and desires will not have authority over these bodies, nor sickness or weakness. Neither materialism nor earthly gravitation will have authority over them, for if the earthly gravitation had authority over them, they will fall from heaven to earth!

And we rejoice in the Resurrection, for we shall meet all of our relatives, our loved ones and our friends who have been separated from us and preceded us to heaven.

We will greatly rejoice in the Resurrection even more because of the company of Angels and Saints in the coming age. Indeed it is a great delight without any doubt, that the person enjoys knowing all the prophets and apostles whose names were written in the Holy Bible and to know personally all the martyrs in all the ages, all the Saintly fathers and all the righteous shepherds, and all those who have been characterized with deep virtues that distinguished their lives from others. The person will also know the heroes of faith, and the heroes of history who lived a righteous life as well as all the desert fathers and all the examples of virtue over all the ages.

We rejoice in the Resurrection for it is the start of entering into the eternal delight and into immortality. No one will enjoy this except those who overcome, according to the promise of the Lord to them in the Book of Revelation (Revelation Chapters 2 and 3). When we talk about this joy, we find that language falls short of expression, understanding is also limited, and experience is non existent for its hour has not yet come. The saying of the Bible about this eternal joy is sufficient “…eye has not seen nor ear heard nor have entered into the hearts of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him.” (I Corinthians 2:9) No matter what crosses your mind of explanations, these cannot express sufficiently this truth. For what God has prepared for the righteous cannot ever be comprehended by the mind of a person…

And we rejoice in the Resurrection, for in it we shall live with God Himself, according to His faithful promise “…that where I am there you may be also.” (John 14:3) We shall live with Him in eternity, in the heavenly Jerusalem, about which, the Book of Revelation says that it is “… the tabernacle of God with men … God Himself will be with them…” (Revelation 21:3) What a great delight is that which Saint Paul the Apostle said, “…thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:17)

Then knowledge of God the Father will be deepened, as our Lord Jesus Christ said to Him “and this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God.” (John 17:3) And as Paul the Apostle said about knowing Him “…face to face…” (I Corinthians 13:12)

Finally, my beloved children, I leave you in goodness and be well in the Lord, and absolved from His Holy Spirit.

(Signed)

Shenouda III

April 2006

 

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