Christian Behaviour: according to the Saint Pope Kyrollos the Sixth, is a great little book that captures the spirituality of this great saint, not while he was a Pope but in his first few years in the monastic life. The book reveals the spiritual insight of this saint and the virtuous life that he practiced at home before becoming a monk and grew stronger in his monastic life. I will present this through excerpts from letters he sent to his spiritual sons during the first years of his monastic life.
Order and Discipline
• In order to have discipline in our prayers we should speak softly to God and stand while praying as long as possible. In our alms, we should not give for the sake of self-glorification or pride. We must have discipline as it says in Matthew 6:3 “Let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”
• In our fasting, we should not only fast with the body by abstaining from meat, but fast from the heart abstaining from gossip and slander.
Fighting against old habits
• When we conquer one habit, we should fight the next until we become a new man.
• Our victory comes by the grace of God and His blessing.
• When troubles arise, we can say, as spiritual soldiers with David the prophet and psalmist “In the multitude of my thoughts within me, Your comforts delight my soul” (Psalm 94:19).
Habits to be Avoided
• Evil relationships – they corrupts good thoughts.
• Talkativeness – the more you talk, the more likely you are to sin.
• Excessive laughter – this can eliminate the fear of God from man’s heart. If you laugh it should not be loud, but rather smile quietly.
• Idle talking and mocking others – this lessens God’s grace in man’s heart, instead we should glorify God in our speech. “For every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12:36)
• Joking/sarcasm – this can become a habit and a second character. Do not develop any bad habits. “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, Is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, “’was only joking!’” (Proverbs 26: 18-19)
• Commit yourself to go straight from home to work and vice versa, and likewise to church and to spiritual meetings. • Do not hurry in walking except when it is necessary, and do not turn right and left while walking in the street but look straight ahead while walking, praying in your heart, “Lord take care of me, hide me under the shadow of Your wings. O, my Lord Jesus Christ, deliver me from any offenses”.
• Go to bed early and awake early, when you awake, do not remain in bed. Make the sign of the cross on your face and say the Lord’s Prayer.
• Every believer is a soldier in the army of Salvation. We have duties to fulfill in order to be praised by our Leader and receive a reward. As Saint Paul the Apostle says in Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might… take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Going to Church
• We should not be slothful about going to Church, especially on Sunday. Suppose you have an appointment with one of your friends, surely you wouldn’t neglect him and stay in bed. Is God any less than a friend? Should we not therefore offer Him only the best? As St. Isaiah the Solitary said:“What…is meant by the worship of God? It means we have nothing extraneous in our intellect when we are praying to Him: neither sensual pleasure as we bless Him, nor malice as we sing His praise, nor hatred as we exalt Him, nor jealousy to hinder us as we speak to Him and call Him to mind.”
Thus, let us conclude with the words of Pope Shenouda III, “one who works for his eternity always acts carefully in everything, lest he loses his crown through a mistake or neglect.”