During my service in Los Angeles, Father Pishoy wrote me that Pope Shenouda is not happy about one priest in the city who tried to change the dogmas in our church. Father Pishoy with other priests and servants in the church defended the opinion of the pope.
When I left to Los Angeles to serve in the church which was founded by Father Pishoy, he said to me, “I had to excommunicate two persons for their behavior. I have to absolve them before returning to Egypt.”
He excommunicated them because after buying the church, they asked him to be only concerned with the liturgy and prayers and leave to them the courtyard for social gatherings during which they would dance and drink wine. Despite of this, we visited them. As they declared their respect for the church, he absolved them in front of the congregation. Before I met them he used to tell me that these two persons had good talents and intention. He said that their attitude was because they did not think spiritually. He opposed them but he did not want the church to lose them.
“For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged
(As though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
When you are gathered together, along with my spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the
Day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the
Whole Lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven that you may be a new lump,
Since you truly are unleavened”
(1 Cor. 5.3-7).
It is not a virtue (to be negligent to unrepentant sinners) but weakness.
It is not love but unkindness to the souls that are neglected;
They will perish without alertness to their destruction.
Whoever shepherds the flock should neither be a lion or a goat.
(St. John of the ladder)
Chasten with the fear of God and do not be kind.
Do not fear anybody but judge with truth and straightforwardness.
Reprimanding should be preceded by kindness and mercy not anger.
Doctors should not despise patients but rather cure the disease.
(St. Basil the Great)
If the person that opposes the dogma is not excommunicated,
The church will be a den of thieves.
Shepherd the flock, with no grumbling or disrespect as one with authority
But like a shepherd that looks after the sheep.
(Didascalia, unit 4)
O Love, teach me how to love.
O True Love, grant me your fiery Holy Spirit,
For my heart to be kindled with the fire of your love.
My spirit, with You, will shine on every one,
So I can see in them Your beloved creation.
You were kind to sinners and tax collectors; You forgave the adulterous her sins.
You entered the house of the tax collector,
And opened Your paradise to the thief on the cross.
With Your love, You did not hurt the feelings of a wounded sinner,
But You were always healing and supporting.
With Your love, You drove the sellers of pigeons, and the treasurers out,
Not to stay outside the temple forever
But to be ready with repentance to enjoy Your Holiness.
In Your kindness You warned the scribes and the Pharisees,
Yearning to accept them if they humble themselves and come to Your bosom.
Lord You are wonderful in Your love, Pontius Pilate said,
“You desire to look at Him, but it is difficult to gaze at Him.”
You attract the little children to You and sinners come to You repenting,
Evil Pharisees respect You.
Abide in my heart so I can practice true love without hypocrisy,
And become firm but humble.
A Man of Great Spirit