Monday, June 22, 2020

Met Antonius (el-Souri): Prophecy

Arabic original here.

Prophecy

"Oh, that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!" (Numbers 11:29)

Prophecy is a gift of the Spirit of the Lord, who sends the word of God down upon the lips of the prophet. The prophet only utters what he was inspired with. He says nothing from himself because he has no word apart from the word of the Most High-- "What the Lord says, that I must speak" (Numbers 24:13)-- which is active and effective-- "And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed" (Joshua 23:14).

In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God chose the prophets and caused them to bear the message of the Most High. The Spirit of the Lord did not, afterwards, remain settled in man because the true man had not yet come into the world. The Holy Spirit dwells in Christ Jesus and those who are in Him  bear His Spirit. At Pentecost, the Spirit of the Lord came to be upon us and in us and us in Him...

"Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy" (1Corinthians 14:1). Prophecy, in its essence, is living for the divine word and proclaiming it. It is the revelation of God's mysteries to the faithful to build them up and to build up the Church.

God's word builds man up in righteousness, truth, piety and love, since it calls upon man to depart from the path of evil, to abandon and reject thoughts of sin, and to walk in obedience to the Spirit of the Lord who speaks the commandment. The purpose of the word is man's salvation by guiding him along the path and revealing the secrets of spiritual warfare. It lifts the veil from the truth of existence so that man will not deceive himself and so that he will know the path that leads to eternal life.

The divine word is an icon of God and His living and active presence in those pronouncing it and hearing it, because "As the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:10-11).

Without the spirit of prophecy, life in the Church and her witness in the world cannot be correct. The prophet does not fear and is not a respecter of persons because God's word is decisive, dividing truth from falsehood, light and darkness, good and evil... God sends it "To root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant" (Jeremiah 1:10). God does not endeavor to build in man on any foundation apart from His word. Everything that is not from God must be removed because the act of building must place its foundation on the rock that is Christ. Otherwise, it has no stability and cannot rise upwards...

Everyone who believes in God incarnate and everyone who has been baptized in the name of the Trinity has become a dwelling-place for God's Spirit. The desire of the Prophet Moses has been realized, since all of God's people have become prophets. But does anyone realize the magnitude of the grace that dwells within us Christians and the seriousness of the responsibility laid on our shoulders, which requires of us the love of the Trinity?! God has given us Himself by His divine, uncreated grace. His Word has dwelt among us in the Holy Spirit. We bear within ourselves the mystery of divinity as "in jars of clay" (2 Corinthians 4:7), so that we may know our own fragility and weakness, our tenacity and our strength all at once...

The Lord tells each one of us: "Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you" (Jeremiah 1:7-8). We must be obedient to the Spirit of the Lord within us by following the commandment to have an upright and pure heart and the Lord will send His word, fulfill it, and preserve His beloved who are faithful to Him...

He who can accept it, let him accept it.

+Antonius
Metropolitan of Zahle, Baalbek and their Dependencies

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