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The Spiritual Means, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

43- The spiritual benefits of the service

  

The service strengthens the spirituality of the servant. And the spirituality of the servant strengthens the service. By serving, you give and take.

Therefore we consider service as one of the spiritual means. As you give those whom you serve love from your heart, your heart will also be satisfied by this service. There is no doubt that the one who serves the orphans, the sick, the disabled, the poor or the needy in general, his heart is enriched by deep feelings that will elevate his soul and make him in no need of the worlds vain emotions. The feeling that one acquires from facing pain and suffering is stronger than the feelings offered by places of entertainment and pleasure. And so you take from your service much more than what you give. Just the mere feeling that you made somebody happy, or you solved a problem, will make your heart overflow with deep feelings.

There are other types of service that are not educational.

I used to know a colleague from Sunday School who was about forty five years old. He had no class to teach but his service was visiting and solving peoples problems before they get complicated, and sometimes he would solve complicated problems. He used to find great happiness in this service. He used to see Gods hand in all the problems that God solved through him. He used to tell us about Gods work; a very enjoyable, spiritual talk...

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Service benefits your life in giving you spiritual experiences.

St-Takla.org Image: From the Scouts services at St. Takla Church, with Fathers (left to right): Fr. Angelos Saad,  Fr. Takla William, Fr. Angelos Fathy, Fr. Kirellos Kolta, and Sister Botamina صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: صورة من خدمات الكشافة بكنيسة الأنبا تكلا هيمانوت، ويظهر في الصورة الآباء (من اليسار إلى اليمين): القمص أنجيلوس سعد، القس تكلا وليم، القس أنجيلوس فتحي، القمص كيرلس قلتة، وكذلك المكرسة تاسوني بوتامينا

St-Takla.org Image: From the Scouts services at St. Takla Church, with Fathers (left to right): Fr. Angelos Saad,  Fr. Takla William, Fr. Angelos Fathy, Fr. Kirellos Kolta, and Sister Botamina

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: صورة من خدمات الكشافة بكنيسة الأنبا تكلا هيمانوت، ويظهر في الصورة الآباء (من اليسار إلى اليمين): القمص أنجيلوس سعد، القس تكلا وليم، القس أنجيلوس فتحي، القمص كيرلس قلتة، وكذلك المكرسة تاسوني بوتامينا

It is a great honour for you in the service to work with God. As St. Paul the Apostle said about himself and his fellow Apostles: We are Gods fellow workers (1Cor. 3:9). In the service, you work with God, and God works with you, works in you and works through you. In all that, you see wonders from His work and you feel how Gods hand interferes and solves all complicated matters, or He may open for you closed doors, or offer you solutions so that you will then glorify God in all His works. As for those who do not serve, they deprive themselves from all these experiences and from Gods fellowship in the service..

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The service also benefits you by being a school for prayer:

The more you serve, the more you feel that there are matters that need divine help, so you train yourself to pray for them, as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. You also pray that God may bless the work, enter it and not leave you alone. You also pray that your service may be spiritual and not just an activity or a routine, or mere social work. You also pray much with the ones you serve with, and so you train yourself in the work of prayer.

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The service generally elevates one into a spiritual atmosphere.

There is no doubt that service offers much benefit, as one finds himself in a spiritual atmosphere with spiritual persons, committed to spiritual principles and values. In the service, one may also find himself committed to meetings and Masses. He finds himself also committed to a special, spiritual life in order to be a role model to those whom he serves, or at least not to be a stumbling block for them. But he repeats the saying of the Bible:

And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth (Jn 17:19 ).

The Lord Jesus Christ said this phrase with a specific meaning, and we too repeat this phrase to mean that our lives may be sanctified in the service, and to be a role model for those whom we serve, in all good deeds.

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You may say to God in your prayer: those people, O Lord, need me to be always in touch with You for their sake. Grant me to have this relationship with You. Care for me and care for them, protect me and protect them. Would that I become a good bridge through which they reach You and in my heart I carry them before You...

In this way you will find that the service has created for you a special relationship with God, and this relationship becomes a necessity for the service. Gradually, the service also becomes a necessity that will always connect you to God. Therefore I can say :

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That most of those who left the service, have become lukewarm.

They lost the warmth that they used to have while serving. No prayer, no depth and no commitment... They also lost the holy zeal that they had before and the social virtues that accompanied the service.

The service also very often gives greater opportunity to read the Holy Bible and gives spiritual knowledge in general with what accompanies this of contemplation and commentary, especially for those who serve a spiritual or educational service.

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And so the growth of spiritual knowledge and maybe religious knowledge in many aspects, become among the benefits of the service.

This knowledge comes from many sources: such as reading, whether reading the Holy Bible or lives of the saints or spiritual books. It also comes from attending religious meetings concerning the service... And also from what one hears in Masses from chapters of the Bible and also from sermons.

This knowledge contributes to ones practical and spiritual exercises. And if he leaves the service, he may leave all these blessings..

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Nevertheless, one may gain other types of knowledge.

He will become aware of peoples problems and learn many details about the human nature and its feelings, and also learn about the devils wars and enticements.

He will also learn the practical solutions, if his service is the type that deals also with solving peoples internal and external problems.

If he fails to handle this, he will at least see the part played by the spiritual guides or the priests in these problems and how they solve them. His experiences in life, accordingly, will increase.


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