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The Life of Contentment

The Life of Contentment - St Shenouda Monastery Pimonakhos Articles

What do we need to live a life of contentment?

1- Obedience is a form of faith and submission. let us go back to see Abraham the father of fathers who was living at Ur of the Chaldeans where God called him “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you” (Genesis 12: 1-4). In this verse we can see God’s command and Abraham’s obedience. As we learn from the ascetic sayings at monasteries “blessing upon the son of obedience”. As for those who lives in obedience whether at home, the monastery, church, or in the society gains blessing and feels content. On the other hand the stubborn man who rejects to be submissive and is stubborn about his opinions, usually does not feel content.

2 – Submission, It is like when a child holds his father’s hand while walking in busy city. The child might be distracted by people, cars or shops but, he feels very safe because he is holding his father’s hand. We can find in church history when a new monk goes through spiritual warfare, he would pray to God to save him from this war by the prayers of his spiritual father. These days, people can not submit their life to God as man became his own god as he relies on his intelligence and the new inventions that surrounds him. On the other hand, submission makes one reach a state of inner peace.

3- Trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who manages our life as mentioned “All things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). This tells us how strong God’s hand is, as his hand is still working as he manages everything in the universe and manages everyone’s life by His wisdom for the good of everyone.

So how to practice the life of contentment:

1- Avoid comparing yourself to other people as it is really bad to your spiritual life. The Lord said in the parable of the talents about one Fr Abraham’s First Liturgy servant who took five talents, to another two and to another one, to each according to his own ability. It does not mean that the one who took two talents compared himself to others! They both (the two servants who traded and gained more talents ) heard the same blessing “Well done, good and faithful secant; you were faithful over a few thing, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matth 25:21,23)

2- “NO…” try to say it less often and use other nice expressions instead. If you would like to disagree with someone you could say something like “I could be wrong but,….I am not sure if this is the right way of….”, “I think this could be done…”, “we can think in another way…” Do not behave like the elder brother when he said no to his father when his younger brother came back home.

3- Always smile when you talk to people. As smile is the language that does not need be translation as it can reach everyone’s heart. We even need to smile when we are correcting our Children’s behaviour and attitude so that they do not feel at anytime that they are unloved.

4- Be positive when you approach people by using positive words. I remember once when I visited the governor of Malta, he used lovely positive words Instead of names to introduce his office staff members to me and of course that made them very happy. So the wise man knows how to find good qualities in everyone and as result he will feel happy and content.

5- Keep a list of good things God has done or provided you through your life and every time you pray thank God on every good thing on this list. Be mindful of these things that God given you and try to remember it whenever anything bothers you.

(Translated from El Karaza Magazine, Sept 2014)