Love, Love, Love

“All you need is love.”

Thus sang the Beatles in one of their chart toppers (that incidentally also brought in a whole lot of money that they didn’t really need). “Love, love, love.” A beautiful sentiment; fill the world with love. But which love? What were they really after? Did they fill the world with love? No doubt this song had a lovely effect on millions who heard it, but there is also no doubt that everyone interprets that word, ‘love’, in their own idiosyncratic way.

For one person, love is a deep romance with the girl who sits two rows down on the train every morning (to whom, by the way, he has never yet had the courage to speak). For another, love is the suffocating, controlling, manipulating power over her only daughter so that her daughter can ‘have everything I never had’ (translation: fulfil MY needs). For a third, love is that vague and general sense of goodwill towards the human race, although “I can’t stand that annoying old hag in the canteen who insists on smiling and showing everyone her crooked yellow teeth” (Linus in Peanuts: “I love humanity; it’s people I can’t stand!”)

All you need is love.

I think this idea needs some qualification. Who do I love, in what way, and why? Most of us could honestly and immediately list those close to us as people we genuinely love. Parents, children, spouse, siblings (yes, even those) – perhaps we might add extended family, close friends, colleagues in study or work. If blessed with a nice neighbourhood, we might add the neighbours we often see through the week and stop to chat to. Our fellows at Church.

How real is this love? How strong? What type of love?

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

How many people would I really be willing to give my life for? Would I do it for a complete stranger? Would I do it for an enemy? Would the Beatles do it for anyone? Yet this is the astonishing, awful standard that Jesus set for His followers; “…lay down one’s life for his friends…” And He took it further by calling His enemies (sinful humanity) His friends, and then proceeding to lay down His life, horribly, for the very people who violently wrenched it from Him.
And thus He won them.

Love is very powerful, when practiced the right way. It goes against the intuition, it goes against our instincts, but there can be no doubt that genuine, unselfish, willing love is the one and only invincible power in this world. And I do not mean only power on the large scale, as in the love that conquered the world peacefully through the Christian religion. I am speaking on the day to day individual level for each human being. Everyone genuinely dedicated to divine, unselfish love and living it out unreservedly is, in the long run, victorious over all other forces. And in the short term, they have the added bonus of peace and joy that no one can take from them.

Start the day with love.
End the day with love.
Fill the day with love.

Thus read the sign at a place I worked once. It is very good advice. Instead of awaking with a growl and a grumble, and being obnoxious to everyone until morning tea time, imagine if you awoke with love in your heart. Imagine waking to the joy of a new day gifted to you by a wildly generous Creator who has decorated it with flowers and twittering birds and bright sunshine on glistening green gardens. Imagine spreading that joy with those who are close to you through a smile and a hug and words of happiness that are infectious.

Instead of collapsing in a heap into bed at the end of the day, imagine taking the time and putting forth the effort to remind those you love that you love them, to offer them, more than words, some simple act of kindness, some small gesture that shows them practically what they mean to you; perhaps to turn on their electric blanket for them unasked so that they are pleasantly surprised when they gingerly crawl into bed expecting coldness, or to complete a household task for them so that they don’t have to do it tonight.

Imagine going through today with others in your mind. Thinking about their needs and acting in kindness towards them. Imagine that thoughtful kindness one day becoming a habit, a part of you, no longer something you must consciously choose to do, but rather something that springs forth from you naturally without conscious intention.

Love, love, love.

Yeah, yeah, George. That’s all very good; but which love do you mean?

Fr Ant

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8 Replies to “Love, Love, Love”

  1. God said faith , hope and love in parallel with our deeds are essential and a must to inherit eternal life but LOVE is the greatest of all…..God is love ..God does not want too much from us except pure heart filled with love as God said , “love God from all your heart and soul and love thy neighbor as thy self ..Mother Terrassa “God bless her soul “in our recent history said ” small things with love and care are great in front of the eyes of God ….God does not want big things from us , God wants your heart and love …look how David won the love of God , it is entirely through his great , loving heart to God ….may God give us pure hearts full of love to him and to all the mankind everywhere , amen ….i recall all the time a nice sermon of Father Antonios which i heard and i enjoyed a lot during Pascha week about love and specially those standard criteria used to measure it against …. it is actually like quality assurance and validation of the standard of your own love ….i ask his holiness to put it in the Blog , as i believe a lot of people will benefit from it as i did ….may God strengthen our faith , hope and love and give us pure hearts filled up with his love and to all mankind , amen ….

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  2. Mother Teresa once said,”we can not do great things on this earth but we can only do little things with great love “once a friend of mine told me,” i want my life to be about service and i want to do so and so , but i can not do anything yet “.Someday when i am really successful , i will do lot of little things to others , meanwhile , there are hungry , distressed people want to hear just good word ,desperate,helpless,elderly ,sick ,depressed ,lonely , and thousands of other little things that need to be done ….Mother Teresa was right , we can not change the world but we can make a difference with those little things of love and kindness..we will feel the joy of giving and satisfaction and will make our world just a little brighter ..God said “I want mercy and not sacrifice “…it would be great if we focus in giving with love and care on little things , it is not only to fulfill the will of God and give us that great joy and satisfaction , but it will assist us to improve our own attitude in our churches at all levels to listen , respect , love and care for one another everywhere , openness ,honesty , trust …… our churches need to do a lot of work in this aspect by setting the good example in this aspect and focusing all the time on love and care in their sermons as well as in real practicle life” such visitations , outreach projects , give the needy ,do something for the homeless , visit the sick and a lot of projects are there , sometimes i wonder what percentage of time and money goes to the needy and those least which God mentioned them from our churches and from us as individuals ” ….God is love and without love nobody will see him , God said , “i was hungry and fed me , desperate and you comforted etc and he put it very clear and straight forward if you do not look after those least you will never see eternal life , amen ” ….. the bottom line ,without real love and mercey to those least nobody will see eternal life ….

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  3. Jesus said faith must be accompanied by deeds …. so faith by itself is dead and not acceptable by God …so mate you do your prayers , your fasting , most of your ritual aspects , you work as a servant in the church running all over the place , all these will not be acceptable in front of the eyes of God without DEEDS..God put it strait forward that he wants MERCEY and not sacrifices ..the merciful deeds are to look after those LEAST …WHO are those least ???? those hungry , thirsty , homeless , sick , orphans , widows , poor, needy etc . …so where do you stand pal ???? what percentage of your money and your time you spend it on those needy least people ???? in our backyard in Australia the number of needy people is increasing everyday , why don,t you do something ???? it might affect you or one of your family tomorrow as God gives as God takes …a lot of of people even in our Coptic community out there need your support and love and care, why don,t you go and look for them and get that great blessings of looking after those least ???? a lot of projects around in this part of the world for needy people needs your support and if you feel comfort with one related to our Coptic community there is a great project out there had been going for a lot of years now i believe more than ten years ..this project had been established by a blessed father Shounouda Mansour and his blessed wife and the youth of Guildford church and now that project of Anba Abram have got two vans one serve parammatta area and the other serve the city ….our beloved father and his wife used to do all the cooking every Tuesday in their house and the food distributed by the Guildford church blessed youth through the vans ….now the cooking is done at church attached houses and distributed the same way …..why don,t you help with a drum of oil or bag of rice or whatever to feed those least ?? why don,t go and distribute the food to those least and learn and experience the pain of the others and get that great blessings ???!! i remember sometime ago the vans did not have the best ovens to keep the food hot and i found father Shounouda worried about that so i told him it does not matter and i added at least those people are getting something to eat ?? our blessed father gave me a big lesson in indirect way , he told me Romani if you can not eat something and acceptable to you , don,t give it to the others …always mate you offer your best to God …from your hands God we give back , amen ….mate go and experience that with those youth girls and boys at Guildford church and help the project to grow bigger ,amen .and make your faith and deeds acceptable in front of the eyes of the Lord …..

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  4. Love and love and love , God created the human being with that instinct to love and to be loved , to care and to be cared …God put it very clear there and straightforward “love God from all your heart and love thy Neighbor as thyself “….i wonder these days , where is that love ???? actually what happened to the human race everywhere and what is going on , that nobody is accepting the other …you look at the family level , you find the son or the daughter not accepting the mam or the dad , you look at different nations you find the south is not accepting the north and vice verse , you look more closer you find in the same region people used to live and dwell in the same area for centuries that suddenly wake up and they are not accepting one another……acceptance of one another started to be a big problem , i wonder what is the underlined cause ??????? you look at a certain community , might be your community or mine , with the same race , religion ,background ,ideology you find them they are not accepting one another ???!! i wonder why is this ???!!!!is it something must happen and God allowed it ???!! is it that materialistic world and its evil things and thoughts of the humans ???!! oh mate , Jesus came for all the human beings and wants them all to have salvation and eternal life !!!! i wonder why the human being not to do the effort to accept one another and live in harmony …mate accept one another on merits regardless of color , background , sex , education , culture …love your mother , love your father , love your brother ,love your sister, loe your friend and love your neighbor, and be kind to alllll,so God will love you , amen ….

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  5. Few weeks ago the priest of the church highlighted that the numbers of attendance of the church is declining and he asked if somebody knows anybody is not coming to the church to let him know , fair enough and it is a great approach from that priest because it is a real partner ship , love , care and that is the way to go and the norm that the good Shepard to look after own flock and get them back to the green paddock of the church and Christ and i believe that is the spiritual real role of the priests and the church every where because Jesus would be asking them about all these souls under their control and what did they do about it specially in this part of the world ???!! i believe they are accountable and responsible for those souls at the end of the day in front of the Lord …fair dink om, so far , however the main question now do the priests and the church spend most of the time in their spiritual role for the needs of the flock of Jesus or deviated and lost in the materialistic worldly needs of mediation , council ling , psychologists , management , teachers in schools , traveling to solve the problems of the other side of the world etc….in other words , do they have the time and the energy to go and look for the lost sheep and fulfill and maintain its needs !!!!??? do they go and look for the least and fulfill what God asked for ??? i hope we are not going to reach that stage one day as a christian coptic community and we find it too late to fix the great damage ….. our community is in bad need of real activation of their spiritual life mainly through regular nights of sermons and hymns , through visitations, care , love and mercy …they want to feel and live the gospel ,the real hope , care , love from their spiritual leaders the priests and the bishop …. i believe it could be done very easy through some review of the tasks of the priests specially those roles of mediation and council ling which i believe consumes most of the time and energy of the priests and that to be handled to the those coptic voluntary professionals in the that field of concern and the priests just to supervise and approve its final outcome ..i believe both the priests ” their work load currently is heavey “and their families and the whole community will benefit from it …. the situation will never be solved by increasing the number of priests as thought before by some….on the contrary it will get worst by additional wages without positive outcome ……. it is only a humble suggestion no more or less …we have to remember that everything is possible in God …..Alleluia, at least when we come across a member of our community around , he or she would not say that i rang the priest and he did not answer the phone !!!!!???????? i believe our community and the church would be in a better position at least spiritually , amen ……

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  6. The other day i came across a bloke from our community and he is happy with the suggestion which i put forward sometime in the blog and that which give more time for the priests to look after the lost sheep and the whole community’s spiritual needs ….then he suggested this can be maximized if every priest keep a diary for confession and every confessor to write own name and phone number in that day of confession before entering to the priest so the priest , i would say every quarter to check the diary for regularities of repentance and confession by the congregation and thus it would be easy for the priest to ring the lost sheep and fetch back this soul in the green paddocks of the church of God …i believe it will improve the personal communication of love and care between the good shepherd and the flock of the lord …i promised him to throw this great thought in the blog and i stressed to him i wonder if anybody would take notice… anyhow ,God blesssssssssss for the effort and happy Christmas and happy new year with great spiritual fruitful life for the whole Coptic community and specially to our small community in St Mary and Stevens church and Archangel Mikhail and St Bishoy at Mt Druitt , Sydney , Australia ….

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  7. Mercy and mercy and mercy …let us start the new year with an act of mercy and love …once mother Teresa said “we can not do big things on life but we can do little things with care and love “…mate start the new year with an act of love , learn to share and feel the pain of others ….. look at our saint Anba Abram and his great deeds of mercy and love …..mate reflect and learn …..you do not need to do big things , could be a nice word for a person ,a widow , give a hand to an old person , visit a sick person , comfort and feed a hungry homeless person, give away your old cloth for the needy , visit a person in the hospital , ring a lonely person and ask about him or her , drop a bag of rice or a drum of oil or whatever you feel comfort for our kitchen at Guild ford”Anba Antonios ” church on Tuesdays so you can share in feeding the the needy , mate do something for your eternal life as God put it clear we must look after those least to inherit eternal life ….small things in front of the eyes of God are great ….remember faith without deeds is dead ….do something before it is too late … Thank God that he gave you a new lease in life in a new year to come make sure you make the most of it in acts of mercy and love …praise the name of the Lord by your work , amen ….

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  8. I was hesitating to write in this topic directly because a lot of our community friends told me that i will achieve nothing at the end of the day …i told them we have to be positive and try as every thing is possible in God and it is our obligation as community to express those views in the right way .. Oh mate i believe , always live in the fear of God and do things through the Lord and fear nothing …. our church history in this part of the world goes back forty years with a lot of ups and downs for our Coptic community in this part of the world but they managed to establish our churches … nobody helped us, we did everything by ourselves and God was always beside us ….. we got our priests and we started to feel still our spiritual demands and needs not fulfilled …..the priests said we need to increase the number of the priests to fullfill these spiritual needs as the community get bigger and we did and the situation went worst in our spiritual needs as a community …….at the end ,God blessed us with a blessed Bishop after a lot of years, we put a lot of hopes that our spiritual life would be better and maximized and our spiritual needs would be fill filled through our bishop and priests and frankly the situation went worst !!!!?????????? …God is blessing us with a rich country, so no financial burden for the church to support the needy from our community as the government look after them , with a lot of grants ,resources ,rights, technology and respect for the human being which look after the dignity and the needs of all the vulnerable and we thank God for all that and that he allowed it …so our smart only object is our salvation that our spiritual life and inner peace for all of us which i believe only will be achieved through the stability and active spiritual life in our churches but unfortunately the devil started to fight us aggressively in all directions !!!!!!????? i believe all of us agree that , positive spiritual leadership will make things happen through an efficient team ….our humble advice to both our Bishop and to our priests , is to adapt to the way of life here , the way we do and accept things… we have to accept one another ,to concentrate in our local affairs and problems and decisions as Coptic Australian community and this is our identity and loyalty to it and no need of Sudanese and Egyptian or what ever , delete that from our local dictionary in our church here , we are one solid Australian Coptic community ,so we must do things in a smart and not hard way , so we must have to use and get the advice of the real professionals according to the area of need to get things right and to the best of our abilities , just as an example , as an example only ,in a certain area e.g marriage conflict please divert them to the right professionals in that field in the church of those councilors , mediators and psychologists to do the work right under the supervision of the local priest of that suburb …divorces cases decisions to be made here in Australia case by case with both the recommendation of those professionals and our church ritual guidelines , all the time our decisions to be moved from here in any scenario in all our aspects of life we have got both the professionals and our clergy of the bishop and our priests … so we have to do in all areas as per need …i believe also all the spiritual team the priests and the bishop will benefit from those short courses of communications , mediation , conflict resolutions , time management , organizational changes etc , always there is a room for improvement and development in Christianity ..review the tasks of the current priests, please do not increase the number , so they can spend more time with the needs of the community and to fulfill our smart object and that spirituality …also the western suburbs of Sydney needs some attention ,i believe will benefit and enjoy from the presence of our bishop a couple of days a week in that residence in archangel church Mt Druitt in a spiritual sermons , talks , your flock will be more closer to you and you will be more closer to them …. also it would be wise during these couple of days if services to be provided for them from here as the Parish in Bexelly is too far for some …..i believe doing things back home will not work in this part of the world , as our Coptic community here is more open , trustful , need feed back in any communications , need to involve directly and indirectly in the affairs of their churches , need to know where their donations spent , need to make decisions in any financial projects their church will be involved in it etc . ….. finally i want to whisper to our beloved bishop , our priests also doing their best in this environment of hard congregation with different backgrounds and all walks of life …so the task in hand not easy …..Merry Christmas and Happy new year to all ….we love our Bishop , we love our priests and we love our churches , however at the end of the day we have got realistic expectation we would like to see it there as a community and we must work together through the right channels and right people …every thing is possible in God …..forgive me if i put my thoughts frankly for i thought that my humble views might be of assistance …. .. Praise God by your life , amen …..

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