In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God, Amen.
His Holiness Pope Shenouda
III book, "Contemplations on the Holy Book of
Jonah the Prophet" is the recommended reading
for the three day fast which focuses on the great and
saintly prophet Jonah's lesson in surrendering and
obediently responding to the Will of the Lord our God. His
Holiness' book focuses on the spiritual side of Jonah's
quest exploring his human faults, human weaknesses, and
human short comings. Throughout the course of the book
emphasis is placed upon God's success with the Gentile
mariners, the Ninevites, and ultimately with chosen prophet,
Jonah. God led all to repentance and to obedience in an
individualistic and very successful manner.
The six chapters of "Contemplations on the Holy Book of Jonah the Prophet" address, 1) The Problem of the Fleeing Prophet, 2) Gentile Mariners are Better than Jonah, 3) Jonah in the Belly of the Fish, 4) Nineveh the Great City, 5) Saving Jonah from his Obduracy (Hardheartedness) and Pride, and 6) God in the Holy Book of Jonah.
His Holiness's writes, "Be careful not to complain whenever you are swallowed by a whale, for the whales of the sea of this world are many. Do not say, "Why do you treat me like this, O Lord? Why did you prepare this whale to swallow me? Where were you, O Lord, when it was swallowing me? And why did you not rescue me?
Know that God's answer is one. 'Do not be afraid. It is enough that you are with Me. Even if you are in the belly of the whale I am with you. I will not disregard you nor abandon you.' Always remember the words of the righteous Abba Paul, "He who flees from tribulation, flees from God."
Let us all during Jonah's Fast pray not to be as Adam and as Jonah thinking we can hide our disobedient actions from the presence of the all knowing Lord our God,
Bishop, Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States