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Coptic Orthodox Marriage Series - Talk 1

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"Mystery of Love"

Coptic Orthodox Marriage Series - Talk 1 Transcription

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God, Amen,

Glory be to The Father, to The Son and to The Holy Spirit, now and for all ages Amen.

 

First we will read some passages from The Holly Bible, then brother (...) will start his sermon.

 

The first passage is from the book of Genesis, Moses the Prophet, may his blessing be upon us all, Amen, chapter two, verse eighteen to twenty five:

“And The Lord God said “It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a helper  comparable to him out of the ground, The Lord formed every beast of the fields and every bird from the earth, and brought them to Adam, to see what he will call them, and whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name, so Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the fields, but for Adam, there was not found a helper comparable to him.

And The Lord caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept, and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place, then the rib which The Lord God had taken from the man, he made it into a woman, and The Lord brought her to the man, and Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore the man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to this wife, and they shall become one flesh and they were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed”.

The other passage, still from the book of Genesis 3:1-6.

“Now the serpent was more (...) than any beast of the fields which The Lord God had made, and he said to the woman “Has God said really said, You shall not eat from every tree of the garden?” and the woman said to the serpent: “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden, but from the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said: “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you  die”. Then the serpent said to the woman “You will not surely not die! For God knows, that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”. So, the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took off its fruits and eat. She also gave her husband with her and he ate”.

 

Glory to The Holy Spirit.

 

Tonight I will start with you discussing series about marriage. I will discuss only certain topics, out of a long series which I have presented in Los Angeles, and in Sydney.

I will start with you tonight about the mystery of love, and tomorrow I will present to you, the first thing in the morning, after breakfast, it will be about The gift of God.

The spouse, God is going to give me? Or has He given me already? How could I see signs, which proves to me that he or she is a gift from God? About choosing, or affirming that a spouse is a gift of God. In the middle before the (...) we will discuss male and female roles; leadership and submission; who makes decisions at home. The third (theme) after the (...) will be about spirituality and sexuality in marriage.

 

On Sunday directly after the communion in the church, the lesson will be about companionship and intimacy in the Coptic Orthodox marriage. It will give practical tips and help to be good companions and help to get intimate.

Yesterday I presented to you about adolescence, and the age which we choose a spouse is usually college-age and after. College age is a continuation of adolescence, but research is saying that intellectual development continues. So, they go to college with their set of values and principles, alone without dad and mostly they must stay in the college, they might come during week-ends, they are independent over eighteen, and I prefer of course (if you should ) take with you Jesus Christ. You and Jesus could be a miraculous formula for success. At that time, you need a mentor, you (have) a dream, you want to fulfill, a career, fellowship with someone with whom you share thoughts and feelings, towards choosing a mate, and of course, our church this is what is mentioned in the books. The mentor is usually your father of confession, who is your spiritual guide, and I hope in the colleges in every state, you have Coptic clubs for all the Coptic Christians together, and have weekly meetings with outside speakers on issues which are important for college campus life.

Other University have also a Bible study on different days, beside the main speech. You also have, in all colleges, you have Christian groups, Christian student associations, and I advice you, don’t give that group a religious identity; give it a cultural identity, because you will get funding from the University, if you put it in that category, as the Muslims are doing in all University, and you continue to present whatever you like!

In that age, some of you live at home, if the University is close by, driving half an hour or so, but if driving is over two hours, of course, you will live in the dorm, or in an apartment around.

After finishing with college til now, try not to yield under the pressure of some of those who are not real Christians. No need to live away from your parents. Actually these days, Americans are returning, even after marriage, to live with their own parents, because of finances. I am not saying it is not a must, but if you ... why not... but the idea you cannot be about, unless if you are living away from home, even with American Churches now, it is not working...

See for yourself a place where you will feel secure, comfortable, with the same set of values and principles as your parents. I remember many Jews families, they ask their children, do not leave home til you are ready for marriage. I was working with too many ethnic groups who look at the family as something very important, sacred, but in most of dysfunctional families, adolescents want to escape from home. It is a message to the parents as long you are keeping your home holly, and inviting, for your children to stay, it is much more cheaper and pleasant to stay with you.

 

Do we have crisis in marriages these days? What kind of crisis? It is all over the world! Wherever I go moms and dads priest, and even bishops are complaining that they can’t find the suitable one for their daughters and sons! So there is crisis in finding, crisis in choosing, crisis in preparing, and crisis in the maintenance of marriage. Even if you are married!  Finding the most suitable gift of God to you, choosing that particular person , in preparing yourself for marriage, and maintaining your marriage godly. There is a need!

When do you think that crisis in the family (will) stop? Genesis 3. The old serpent Satan, was observing the creation of Adam and Eve. He saw God telling them, “be fruitful and multiply”; Genesis 1:27.  He gave them dominion over the earth and all its inhabitants, the animals, the sea and fish in it, the birds in the air, Adam and Eve had dominion! The saw God taking from the best of the ground to fool man, and he breathes in his nostrils a breath of life, and man became a living being, Genesis 2:7.

Satan was watching when God said, in Genesis 2: 18 “it is not good for man to live alone by himself, he needs a helper. He needs a help comparable to him.

And Adam, as explained in (verse) 19 and  20, he was seeing for every animal, a male and a female, except himself! He felt lonely. Although God was with Adam, God was around him in the Garden of Eden, when he heard Him walking in the Garden, in chapter 3 verse 7 and 8, and He was speaking to Adam with an audible voice! A good companion indeed, but still He knows the request from Adam, and he says it is not good for man to be alone! I will get him, I will create for him a helper, comparable to him. And then came a moment for Adam to sleep. In deep sleep, God ordered that, and Adam slept. The first surgery! An incision surgery. I don’t know whether it was hypnosis or seizure (laughs), but Adam slept so deeply! And He took a rib with flesh from his side, and He filled flesh in its place, and the wound was closed. And he made from that bone and flesh another human being, out of Adam, was out of God. Same nature, of Adam, was created from the ground, dust of the ground, but the Holy Spirit, God Himself, was in him, He breathed part of Him inside Adam (...) so Eve came out of Adam; the woman came out of the man, with the same spirit of God, the same flesh, the same bones.

 

To this day, I don’t what was meant with the W that was added to “man”. What does W mean in language? If I say WO, does it mean from out (...) If I say WO, Said, what do you call it? (laughs) It seems as if, Adam, as a young boy asked Santa Claus to get him a doll, and when he opened his eyes, he found himself in front of the prettiest doll ever! I don’t believe that Eve was, ugly! She came just out of God! She must have been the prettiest one ever! Our mother, Eve!

Unfortunately, God did not give Adam a manual about Eve. he just gave him Eve, and he told them, “Be fruitful and multiply”, but he didn’t know anything about her, and he didn’t know anything about her, but he was amazed to see someone so pretty! Was there any mirror at the time? Of course not! Even Eve did not know how she looked like! Imagine how beautiful she must have been! And then, he realizes that she is bone of his bones, flesh of his flesh! She was taken out of him! And when he came to that realization, that “She is part of me”, then God said , verse 24 of Genesis 2: “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife, And the two shall become one flesh”.

Adam had no father and no mother, because He, the same God, is The One, who says, in Mathew 19:5, Mark 10:7, also The Holy Spirit of God inspired St. Paul  in Ephesians 5: 32 (...), this one particular verse is the same, and it is repeated four different times in The Gospel, in The Bible. It has to be important!

Satan was observing what was going on. “And man and his wife were naked, but they were not ashamed”, Genesis 2:25. Adam was observing the creation, giving them the dominion, Adam looking to Eve, starting to be joined together by God, and they were not ashamed of anything, because they were living in God. Not only was God covering them, but they were living in God altogether. And he who lives in God will not be ashamed!

St.(...) in Egypt was living in the wilderness naked. Many more of our hermits were living the same way, living with God, they were not ashamed. Why be ashamed of what God   has created, when He was not ashamed creating it? What is a crisis about it?

 

I will tell you a statement now, please keep focus. A statement which must be engraved in the mind of anyone who is married, or preparing for married life. This is indeed a recipe that will keep your marriage (healthy).

You will find five words that start with L. You will tell me: Look, Listen, and Learn from The Lord Jesus Christ, how to love and live a Christian life (...). Look to the Lord Jesus Christ, look for his presence with you. Look for where He is; Is He sitting with you? Is He standing with you? Is he , listen to his word, learn from him, how to love and live. Wasn’t that easy?

Look, Listen, Learn how to Love and Live.

 

Those five words are very important to anyone, whether married or not. The presence of God is something very essential in our lives. We have to see His presence, look at Him, we can even touch Him with our spiritual senses, since He is invisible. Listen to His word, what he says to you. Through The Bible and through prayers, He speaks to you. Learn from Him. He says “Learn from Me”, Mathiew 11, “ For I am gentle and loyal at heart” (reads in Arabic). By the way, these are the basics of Christian behavior therapy.

This statement has to be engraved in your  hearts and minds in all the presentations that I am going to say, and in your marriage and in your life: How to love His own way, how to live the way He wants us to live, whether single, or married, whether in  school, in college, preparing for marriage. Look, listen and learn from The Lord Jesus Christ how to Love and Live a Christian life or a Christian (...) life.

 

Satan has seen for the first time the institution of the first mystery in the history of humanity, which is the mystery of Matrimony. The institution of the first mystery. How many Mysteries do we have in our church? Seven. The first mystery to be instituted as such (as a mystery), was the same verse, from Genesis 2:24, the Mystery of Matrimony. And when God was incarnate, the first book in The Old Testament, and the first book in The New Testament; Mathew 19:5, He said the same (words). Satan was seeing the institution of two becoming one through God, and they were so special to God, that He planned to unite them by His presence. Because two cannot be one except by God Himself! 

This was a great danger for Satan. He would look to them and say, he has to do something, and he did! In the beginning of Chapter 3: He started to put in the mind of Eve and Adam two foul steps; he started to saw doubt. He wantes to tell them, “There is no value in you staying attached to God! You can live by yourselves, much more comfortable away from Him. You don’t need Him! Why are you depending on Him? You can be very independent! You can even be God, like Him!”

And number two: He wants to put in their minds doubt about The Authority of God’s word upon them. The value of  being intimately attached to God, not knowing that He is living in them, only around them. But he wants, by all means to get them to stray away from God.

Number two, to make them doubt the Authority of His word. The Satan said, indeed: Indeed He told you, don’t eat from the fruit of the trees? She said, He told us to eat the fruits from all the trees, except which is in the center of the Garden, for he told us, if we eat from it, we are going to die! Notice the word “we are going to die”. He started sawing doubts in their minds: Surely, you are not going to die! Try, even if you eat, your eyes will be opened, you will be like God knowing good from evil. What did Satan want? To separate them from God. He led them to disobey God. Separated them from God, who was their source of life. Number two “there is no authority oif the word of God on us”. And who really in this room feels that the Authority of the Word of God on him is 100%?

 

If the Abouna comes and tells you, “The Bible says this and this”, you will say “Thank you Abouna, amen”, there will be no problem from the Abouna.  Everything will be resolved fast! If he goes, “The Bible says this and that”, Thank you Abouna for telling me, I am going to do it! Full authority of the word of God on me. I will bow my head to the word of God.

Who does that? And who argues: “This is not for me, Abouna, this is for the Saints! I am not Christ, I am not St.Paul” . You start to argue and debate about the word of God; the authority of The word of God, exactly as Satan did with Adam and Eve. Am I taking the cloth of Satan, and saying to Abouna, “ No no, it is not for me! Tell it to the saints”. Doubting the authority of the word of God, from chapter 3 (...). He sawed the seed of doubt. The value of  God to us: “I could live independently of God! Who said I need Him? I am so independent, I have my degrees, I have my money...”. Independence from God. The seed in chapter 3. The Authority of the word of God, in chapter 3 of Genesis. He sawed those two seeds, and left them to work. And this was the food of Adam and Eve, and the beginning of a dysfunctional family, the first family that God created, Satan made it dysfunctional!

 

Can you imagine that one of your children will make the others extremely dysfunctional? Satan did it!

Who is Enemy number one, for each one of us in marriage? I want to hear it? Stan The Devil! Not my spouse! How many of you have realized this fact? How many of you are totally blurred and blinded about this, and start attacking their spouse as if they are the enemy? When this happens, Satan is laughing, because no one is fighting him! You are fighting one another, and leaving the enemy! It started in Genesis 3! Why do we have crisis (in families)? it is the continuation of the crisis. It is only because we have girls who nearly reach 30, and don’t find a good man to marry? No. Is it because you young men can not find the appropriate and suitable girl for you, and want to go to Egypt to marry? No. It is not. Doubt in the value of God to us, who is taking care of us. Yes, you can go to conventions, they are important to find one another, but without God... if the value of God to each one of us is not there, I assure you, and I am not Satan, I assure you, being away from Christ, there will be no good marriage.

First fact that I told you, look, listen and learn from the Lord Jesus how to love and live.

Fact number two which I have mentionned; the first mystery to be instituted was in the Garden of Eden, and it was the mystery of Matrimony. St.Augustus, St.Clement said the same: when The Lord Jesus Christ in (...) Galilee attending the wedding at Cana, they said, “No the Lord did not institute the mystery in Cana, Galilee, but He confirmed what He had instituted in the garden of Eden. “ The Fathers have approved; this is the first mystery. Is that mystery great? What do you think? If yes, then what is the proof? St. Paul mentioned that in Ephesians 5. After he mentioned (...) now we understand why that mystery is great! The first mystery to be instituted, and it is called The Great Mystery! Ephesians 5 from verse (...):  After the Holy Spirit said to Paul, “No man hates his own body, but nourishes and cherishes it. For we are members of His body, of his bones and his flesh (members of the Christ) . Therefore man shall leave his father and mother and be joined (...) to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 

 

This mystery is great, but I say it, regarding Christ and the Church. See, the man and his wife, the same mystery of unity of Christ with the Church, how great is that mystery of matrimony! The two spouses with God in them, is the same unity as God who is living in The church! It is a great mystery! And I see some people who are disregarding, disrespecting the greatness of that mystery. We call it the mystery of love, because the love of God is showing in that mystery. How great of that mystery to be confirmed by Jesus Christ in Cana of Galilee! He want to put a basis for us, that it is a mystery of Love.

Gregory of (...) mentioned in his interpretation of that part, chapter 2, Gospel of St. John, the first ten or eleven verses: “When the Theotocos virgin Mary the mother told her son, they have no (...), you look at her, and he mentioned one statement which was very strange to mention at that time: My hour did not come yet. She ment the wine, they were drinking wine, and he told he, my hour did not come yet. Wine always refers to Love, as in the book of the songs of Salomon. We could drink from the love of God, til we become drunk, as when we pray, and we feel that we are totally dazed.

The wine, their wine was finished. Why did Jesus say, my hour has not come yet? What is the hour that he meant? There is only one hour in the whole life of Jesus Christ, it is the hour of Crucifixion. So, why is he mentioning Crucifixion in a wedding? Is marriage equal or the same as crucifixion? (laughs) Who is going to be crucified? (the husband of course).

“My hour of pouring my love, my blood has not come yet. But for you sake, oh mother, and for teaching them that marriage must be based on another kind of wine, the sacrifice, love, OK, I am going to pour myself  now”. And he didn’t order the water (...) the servant to fill it... he filled but he never said any word. He meant, he looked, now this is the time that I will pour myself , and this water will change into my sacrificed love, the new wine, his own blood which means you bride and groom in my presence, your marriage must be based on something different, not on the wine of the world, not on the love of the world, not the emotions, the stars, or whatever you are dreaming of! Matrimonial  love is something different. It is based on giving love, sacrifice. That is why I prefer that those who are interested in photography, (know that) the bride and the groom, after the ceremony, they have to take the picture with Jesus Christ, the crucified, pouring his blood from his hands and his sides, and his feet, between them, and he opens his arms, and is gathering the two of them through his blood. So you remember, the mystery of love is based on pouring love, like Christ who poured Himself  (...) in the wedding of Cana Galilee.

 

Yes, the Holy Spirit will join the two, but for the continuation and maintenance of marriage, the two will have to look up to Jesus Christ, listen to his word, live through him, ready to be poured as a sacrifice of love to our spouses. This is the Christian marriage. This is the mystery of matrimony.

(...) Through the blood of Jesus Christ, and his Holy Spirit, we will be One.

(...) Two were anointed with the blood of Jesus Christ, and his holly spirit between them will join them into one.

I will now ask a question, but please, all of you, think deeply before you answer; In the ceremony of Holy matrimony, the process of uniting two into one, which is based on the holy spirit sanctifying the two, the (...) of unity, that two shall become one flesh, it starts or has becomes fully unity, and there is no further deepening of that unity after that moment. The mystery is there, the two become one. Is it full unity, or unity which is going to get deeper and deeper, during matrimonial life? Number one; Is it full unity at the time of mystery, or unity has started, and with the help from the holy spirit, it will get deeper and deeper, through matrimonial life? (Audience: Two).

 

If one, then I should get no conflicts ever! Unity is there. The process of winding two to become one has started already, but if you grieve the holy spirit... it is still working. If you spend time with God, if you spend time with The Lord Jesus Christ, your intimacy, the process of unification will not get deeper and deeper. The mystery is a mystery. Yes, something really happening, but the unity of the couple, the first day of a marriage, is it the same as after fifty years, living in Christ... is the level of their unity and intimacy the same as on the first day of their marriage? Of course not!

Priesthood. Every priest is a full priest from day one. But do you think, the Lord works with a priest after fifty years of service the same as day one? The relationship is working, and it depends on the couple or the priest who is working with the spirit, receiving him, working with him, letting him work with them, getting deeper and deeper in the mystery. Then, this mystery is working perpetually, continuously. The mystery of marriage is the mystery which you practice being with God every minute. Because, through the mystery, the holy spirit is trying to unite you more and more. Don't oppose his work, don't stop him, don't grieve him, if the two of you allow this you will get more and more deeper in intimacy. If you are weave a piece of cloth, you tighten it and tighten it, it becomes so tight, likewise, the deeper intimacy you will get, with Christ.

 

Another question: Whom do we marry first? Christ or our spouse? Think about it please! Do we marry Christ before marrying our spouse? What is meant by marrying Christ? Since the baptism, you are a bride to your groom. If you live a life of a bride with her groom, whether you are man or woman, we grow in depth in relationship with our groom. It is a marriage! And when The Lord will choose for you a gift from Him, the same Jesus Christ whom we are (...) will be there; what will happen then? Well, the two; one will be joined to Jesus to the right, the other to the left (...), and the three will become one!

One could leave. One could separate, by committing sin, but the other will remain married to Jesus Christ. If divorce happens, by the church, and one leaves, the other one, whom the church will give an Okay, but he is still married to a husband called Jesus Christ. If one spouse departs to heaven, the other spouse, is still united in a matrimonial spiritual relationship to Jesus Christ. He is the husband of the widow, and father of the orphans.

 

Your unity, your marriage is a relationship with Jesus Christ, even before, way before the ceremony. If you do not get that fact, your marriage will not get successful, because you have no spiritual life with your groom! You are entering a matrimonial a relationship, and you do not the (...) Satan told you that he has no value to you! Refer to Genesis 3. And if you know his value to you, and you're living with him in a relationship, well, Christ will choose for you the best groom, the best bride, the best gift, and this will happen ...

 

I discussed with you the institution of this great mystery, and gave a statement, which is Look, Listen and Learn... so now I am getting into the preparation for the mystery through this relationship with Jesus.

 

I had a handout which unfortunately is not on the Powerpoint, but I borrowed some medical terms from doctor (...), so doctor (...) please forgive me for saying this only now.

The relationship is as follows; you know the embryo? Do you know the Fetus? I mentioned these two terms before. What is pre-embryonic life? After the fetus is delivered, we have a living being. The mother relationship starts pre-embryonic. What is pre-embryonic? In the ovary, a sperm from the testicle, when the two meet together, fertilization happens, and grows grow to an embryo, this will grow into the fetus, then there is delivery.

The girl will resemble her tube, the bread. The holly bread. It is always raised in Bethlehem, in the church, and the wine we take from the vine press. With life, from the beginning of your birth, to the day will find someone, when God will allocate him or her to you, this life is the life in Bethlehem (...) the vine press. And the Abouna has the responsibility to choose the best one to be the body, with no cracks, no burns, no defects, and we smell the wine, to be sure that it is not smelly.

 

To raise a boy or a girl until the age when he or she is going to meet in courtship with somebody else of a different gender, this is likened to a pre-embryonic life. At your home, you are raised in Christ, and the level of your depth in the Christ, will make you choose the right way. However, Abouna has to follow that. You come to confession, and follow the whole process, you come to the church, and he will see you growing up, and he will see that by the time of choosing for matrimony, you are a good (bread) and a good wine. The body and the blood to be mixed together to become one body.

 

The embryonic stage is the time of courtship before engagement.

The fetal stage is both growing together after the engagement.

Why are we talking about fetal and embryonic stages? Is the marital relationship going to be "delivered"? I say Yes! On which day is it going to be delivered? Well, on the wedding day! Therefore the relationship is a living being, like a baby to be delivered. That is your first born! If you have no children, no, you have a first born already, and that is your marital relationship!

What is the value of saying that? A living being means, the Holy spirit is in that relationship. It has a mind and thoughts going in the relationship. The feelings, and physical parts of a relationship. It has all these components. We have to look at the relationship as a living being! We do not forget about that first-born living that is born at the first day of our marriage. I hope you do understand me.

Two who are married now for twenty five years, how old is their first born? The first day of the matrimony, is the beginning of the marital relationship.  The marital relationship is the living being of the husband and wife. They have to care for the first-born, from day one.

If you have two children, a boy named Jean, and a girl named Mary, and you've been married for fifteen years; how many children do you have? Three! Why am I insisting in saying that? Because many of you forget about your first born, and only care for Jean and Mary! (one is asking, is the first born a boy or a girl? Laughs). The first born, the holy spirit is in it, therefore it has no gender.

The same care you are giving the two children, must be given, even more to your first born.

Usually, if you, say Jean or Peter, become sick, has ear infection, where do you take him? To a medical doctor, who will examine him, and prescribe something to be given to little Jean, and he will take medication, and feel better.

After, say another six months, he has stomach problems, and he's vomiting. Will you give him the same medication that the doctor gave for ear infection? Will you go to the same doctor again to help him? You will give a different kind of medication. After two years, he breaks his legs. Say, I cared for you for two times only, now little Johnny, enjoy your fracture! You will take him to the hospital to be treated! A doctor to examine him. Did you get the examples? If you do get stomach problems, and give the same medication, and he gets infection and  it doesn't work, you can't say, that doctor doesn't understand a thing. No, it is you who do not understand! You have to take your relationship to the doctor of relationships, the Abouna, and he will prescribe for you! It will be a different medication!

 

Would you have the guts, if you are living in Christ, and you understand that this is the holy spirit, who's living in the relationship and you have to nurture, and feed by spending time on matter of relationship. Spending time to get that living being much more growing with health, spending time with the holy spirit, exchanging spiritual closeness, intellectual closeness, emotional closeness, and physical closeness! Would you get the guts to get a knife and cut his neck, or a gun and shoot him? Would you do that to your own son? If both of you are in Christ (...) would you do that to your own son? Say, it is enough, you've been living with us for five years now, that is the end of it. Would you do that? You do understand me, right? If two are living in Christ, really, married to Christ first, living in Christ, growing with the relationship, they will never think of killing the relationship.

We will read from I Corinthians 11:29-31 to see why our relationship is sick and weak. We will see (reading).

What mystery is St.Paul speaking about? Eucharist? The communion. If you will eat and drink, and do not worry, you are drinking judgment for us. We are (...) the Lord's body. That's why, so many are weak, sick, and some asleep, because if we judge ourselves, this will not happen. We will not be judged. Preparation for any mystery. Feeling ready to marry. That's why so many marriages are weak and sick, and some of them asleep, because we approach the mystery of God in an unworthy way. We did not marry Christ first, we are not ready. We did not prepare ourselves for the mystery.

Every mystery in the church, there is preparation for it.

What is the preparation for this great mystery of Matrimony? Nothing! Taking care of the reception, the belly dancers, the dresses, the food, the honeymoon trend, what kind of preparation for the holy matrimony, which is the great mystery, the first mystery to be instituted on earth? There should be more than two years to prepare... Actually, we are being prepared in our homes, since our birth, by seeing marriages. We are getting prepared in the church. All of a sudden, you get engaged, and you start preparations? Of course not! As I told you, pre-embryonic is your life as a single person, courtship is before pre-embryonic, when you decide to get engaged? We will discuss that tomorrow.

During your engagement, what are your goals? You are still married to Christ!

He will marry the two of you into him, and you will become one on the day of matrimonial ceremony, and he will give you your first born between your hands, to care for, which is your relationship.

So many went into the mystery of matrimony without being prepared, and they are not taking care of their baby, their first-born, that's why sometimes he is sick, but he is still alive until the church will tell you, no, and the committee will tell you, this marriage is over.

The church that married you is the only Authority to tell you it is over, not a civil court.

 

There are stages of preparation. Being ready, the importance of preparation for the great mystery, for it is a great mystery indeed.

Again, who is the enemy of marriage? Satan or your spouse? Say it loud, please! Who is your prime enemy in the marriage? Satan. Fight him! Know how to fight him the right fight. Ephesians 6. Go and fight him. Get the armor. Don't take your machine gun toward your spouse. Take your machinegun toward the enemy! I hope your understand that!

 

The last issue; The most famous verse of marriage: "Therefore the man shall leave his mother and father, and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh". How many phases the Lord Jesus Christ specified in that verse? Leave, (...) and Unite. Three major phases. Do you think all of them happened on the first day, in the same day, the first day, and it is over? Leaving as a ... Uniting will continue, but which one precedes the other? If leaving will not start, cleaving will not be effective, and both of them will be the hindrance for the process unification.   

Leave your father and mother, what does it mean, compared to honor your father and mother? If you have a pathological umbilical cord, emotional umbilical cord that keeps you too tight to your mom and dad, pathologically in a sick way, you are attached to mom and dad; Mom and dad did not release you while you were studying in college; because we receive our children from God, we raise them and we release them in God, so they can start their own life. If your mom and dad will hold tightly onto their children, and do not want to release them, they will be an obstacle for the process of living ordered by God. Are you able to stand before God, and tell Him, I was, and I am responsible of the failure of my own son or my daughter, because I am holding him or her so tightly?

You can love them, they have to love you, they come for rescue, if they need any help, but you knew they had to leave in order to cleave. And who is responsible about leaving? God said, the man or the parents? Well, the man shall leave!

I have a responsibility to leave. I have the responsibility to cut the pathological cord that continues the relationship about form (...)

The man is responsible for leaving his father and mother, and be joined (the second part), be joined to his wife. Which one is the responsible for the cleaving? The man or the woman? According to (...) it is the man (Arabic).

The man is the one responsible to love his wife, and this love is the source of cleaving. Loving your spouse, is different than loving your mother and father, different than loving your brothers and sisters. Each love is different. All will continue, but according to (...) there are priorities in marriage.

Listen to them carefully, if you are married, your first priority is your relationship to God, number two, your relationship to your spouse, number three, your relationship to your children, then number four your relationship to anybody else. Your service in the church comes fourth. You understand?

Abouna became married to his wife before being ordained a priest; Abouna is responsible for his wife and family, before God, and the Bishop will tell Abouna, you are responsible for your family, do not forget about them; they are your priority! It is not an excuse to be involved in service to the church or in Sunday school, and forget about one's own spouse! So many are so involved in service, and they forget about their spouses and children. This is wrong! Leave your father and mother. Look for obstacles that prevent you from doing that, and as a result, you will now be able to pour all the love that God gave you, in order to cleave with your spouse, and of course, when the spouse sees that, she will pour on you her love. The process of cleaving is a commitment to continue loving, for both, and these are the commandments that the church gave to the bride and the groom in the wedding ceremony. It is all about mutual commitment for both the bride and the groom:

 

Number one, what God has joined together, we are not going to separate. I am committing myself not to separate what God has joined together. First commitment! This is cleaving.

Number two; we are committed to have mutual love and respect.

Number three; also mutual, both of them equal in that; to express affection and compassion to the other spouse. It is a must. Husband render to your wife affection (...) likewise wife to your husband.  We have to commit ourselves to our life full of affection and compassion one to another.

Number four, to give and forgive, and satisfy the needs of the other spouse before my own need.

Fifth and last commitment: To change in order to live Godly. If something in me hinders the process of growing in God, I have to change! I commit myself to a life of change, in order to live Godly. This is maintenance, continuation of the process of cleaving. If God sees that, your commitment He will start to unite the two of you into one.

The process of unity is called Intimacy. In the Coptic Orthodox church, the number one goal of marriage is not procreation. Number one is Unity! The two becoming one. Number two is procreation, and number three, to protect one another, because Satan wants to separate both of you.

I Corinthians 7:5. Satan will not damage your relationship because of your lack of self-control. Protect one another. Procreation, maturity. If you have no children, now you do understand, God did not give you real children, but He gave you a first-born, and the process of unity is to grow deeper and deeper. The first goal of marriage is Unity, not procreation.

If someone is infertile, it does not mean that the marriage has to be broken, no! Because the process of unity, and unification, getting more intimate, is going on! I have seen many couples... God wanted us to get more intimate without children. If you are given children as a blessing, Fine! If not, you are getting deeper and deeper. And the living being, the first born is spiritual intimacy, intellectual intimacy, communication, emotional intimacy and physical intimacy is growing and growing, more intimate. We are, in our marriage , the icon of God. In marriage we are living in a paradise.

Could you imagine (Arabic) St. (...) mentioned that, "Nuptial community, which means marital unity, is a prophetic figure of the Kingdom of God, in which the ultimate unity and community between maleness and femaleness is in God". Did you get it? In marriage, there is no male and female! There is One! Oneness in God. It is a prophetic figure. It is a nature of what will be in heaven, in the Kingdom of God. There are no male and female in heaven, and also St.Paul mentioned that there is no male and female in Christ. So, we could live heavenly, Christ binding the two into one, and everybody will see in us, a couple living in the heaven.

 

Again, nuptial community is the prophetic figure of the Kingdom of God, in which the ultimate unity and community of maleness and femaleness will be in God. 

 

 

 

Transcribed by jeanounou (Apr.2017)