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Ten Concepts, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

24- Clear conscience


A person may endure physical fatigue to clear his conscience or spirit.

Martyrs and confessors, for example, endured many torments to the body in order to have clear conscience for being steadfast in faith.

Another example is the torturing endured by St. John the Baptist when he was put in prison and finally his head was cut off, because he testified to the truth and confronted the King saying, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife" (Mark 6:18).

A similar example is the exile of St. Athanasius the Apostolic for defending the creed against the Arians. Image: Saint John the Baptist, modern Coptic icon. صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: أيقونة حديثة تصور الشهيد يوحنا المعمدان. Image: Saint John the Baptist, modern Coptic icon.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: أيقونة حديثة تصور الشهيد يوحنا المعمدان.

Likewise, Joseph the righteous man endured prison to keep his conscience clear and pure. He said, "How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (Gen.39:9).

Pastors also endure such fatigue of the body.

They endure so that people might be in comfort and also to clear their conscience that they are performing their pastoral work.

This applies to whoever takes the way of sacrifice, giving and being honest in their work, as we have discussed this issue before here on in other sections. Such a person may feel tired physically but feels peace of mind, and comfort in spirit for performing his duties. He does not seek his own comfort but that of others.

Also the student who works hard, has a clear conscience with regard to his career and this makes him happy in spite of fatigue because he achieved peace of mind.

Likewise all those who struggle in fatigue and hard work for the purpose of achieving a goal, just as a poet once said, 'To achieve what great souls want, bodies must work hard.'

Even in spiritual struggling, a person should labour and fight a good fight to clear his spiritual conscience and to make his spirit rest in God. Therefore the Apostle said rebuking, "You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin" (Heb. 12:4).

However, there are some people who tire their bodies and their spirits at the same time.

So, a spiritual person labours for the sake of righteousness, while a sinner labors in vain. Such vain labour resembles that of devils in their temptation of human beings.

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