Sunday, November 19, 2023

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos): Spiritual Fatherhood

Arabic original here.

Spiritual Fatherhood

He is the one who begets children in Christ, begets by the Holy Spirit.

The Evangelist John says, "unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

As for the Apostle Paul, he says to the children of the Corinthians, "For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel" (1 Corinthians 4:15).

He adds, "Therefore I urge you, imitate me" (1 Corinthians 4:16).

He begat them by the Holy Spirit. This is the difference between the a teacher and a father: "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1).

This requires humility and self-denial: "My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you..." (Galatians 4:19.

The spiritual father is a mediator and intercessor: an intercessor for the salvation of the souls of his children, especially through prayer. He is also in need of his children's prayers.

By the grace of the Lord Jesus, the spiritual father is a mediator who reconciles his spiritual child with God in Christ Jesus.

He first of all acquires the grace of Christ God and then in turn he reconciles his spiritual child with God the Father in Christ Jesus.

The Apostle Paul says, "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them..." (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Every priest should be a spiritual father, an icon of Christ.

He should be a spiritual physician. His work should not be limited to performing the sacraments of the Church such as the Divine Liturgy, baptism... 

What causes him to avoid the monotony of routine in his service is personal prayer as well as reading the Holy Bible and the books of the holy fathers.

It must be pointed out here that there is a difference between a spiritual father and a psychologist.

A psychologist works to bring the patient back to his natural state.

A spiritual father, however, works to reconcile the patient, the sinner, with God. He tries to introduce the spirit of repentance, so that so that the patient, the sinner, will follow a divine, spiritual path (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:45-46).


Metropolitan of Tripoli, al-Koura and their Dependencies

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