Sunday, February 3, 2019

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos): The Civilization of the Flesh

Arabic original here.

The Civilization of the Flesh

The world today, and especially the West, is more and more inclined toward secular, worldly life.

This means that in its life it departs from the scope of God and is increasingly immersed in material affairs far removed from the Church and spiritual affairs. It is attached to the surface of things, the most important of which is the flesh. There is nothing more common than the greetings "How's your health?", "Your health is poor", "The important thing is health."

People are not content with just that, but they go and focus on physical elegance, concerning themselves with outward appearance and going to the gym, as though they have become worshipers of the body rather than God.

Members of the Church are not an exception to all this-- even priests, bishops, and the construction of churches where "the important thing is the stone, not the people."

All of this is contrary to the rules of religion and the true faith. Among us, one mostly strives after the pleasure of the flesh, the pleasure of food and drink. Life has come to be focused on health and wealth and not on pleasing God first.

The issue is deeper than the flesh. It pertains to man in his confronting life and death. The Book of Hebrews says, "'Here am I, and the children God has given me.' Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity... so that he might free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death" (Hebrews 2:13-15). Of course man has always striven for eternal life.

Today, after the coming of Christ who is risen from the dead, we have become immortal by the grace of the Holy Spirit, the grace of Christ God who has conquered death. Thus the importance of accompanying someone who is sick and approaching death.

It is not enough to comfort him physically and psychologically. We-- and especially the priest-- must prepare him to confront death.

How does a person prepare for death? Is it enough for the priest to pray? To anoint the sick person with holy oil and commune him? This is not enough!

It is necessary to help him to confess as a final repentance, in the hope of the forgiveness of sins and the Lord's mercy for all the wrongs he committed during his life.

+ Ephrem
Metropolitan of Tripoli, al-Koura and their Dependencies

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