Hello from Doha, Qatar!

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‪‎Souq Waqif.

For the next month, I’ll be off on a globetrotting adventure starting in Doha, Qatar. I will be in the Middle East for about a month (I’m heading to Lebanon next) before jetting off to San Diego and Mexico.

I’m on a quest to understand Christian communities around the world. How are we the same, how do we differ, and how can we improve? Why these questions tug at my heart, I do not know, but they drive my curiosity – and apparently, my travel itinerary.

As a deep thinker, I need time to digest, reflect, and understand my experiences before commenting. However, you’re welcome to follow my travels on Twitter and Instagram. I will try to post many pictures. In the meantime, I’d like to share this amazing essay I read a few weeks ago. I’ve been thinking about it ever since, continuously asking myself: am I serious?

Perhaps, we as Christians concentrate more on outward appearances of success, such as donating this much to the Church, being part of the Church committee, visiting certain people, doing service for the Church, counting pretty much your points of success, collecting them, thinking these are the most important to get into the Kingdom.

Imagine your last days on earth before you go to heaven and meet God, and you wonder to yourself what you have done to deserve His presence. As a priest perhaps you can say “I have visited these many people, I have done these many liturgies, I have built these many churches, etc,” all of which seem transactional. Instead, have you wondered perhaps how you are relationally, as a bride to your Divine Groom?

Imagine for a second this analogy, that you as a bride, you keep your house in perfect shape, you cook the best food, you do all these great services just to make your Groom happy, and He comes home and sees all these great things you did for Him, but then you tell Him, “Look, I want you to see how happy I’m trying to make You, but I don’t have the time to talk to You.” What do you think about that, that a bride who does all her best for His comfort but lacks a hidden contact with her Groom?

I feel that the majority of Christians now do the same. “Oh we build cathedrals!” “Oh we gave the poor and needy millions of dollars!” “We did many activities in the Church!” And so on. Everyone, even us as priests and bishops, wonders what can I do for the people.

No! I want to ask myself, “What is my relationship with God? Is it a hidden relationship? What about my life in my private room?” I don’t mean something physical, I mean your heart as a private room. When Christ says “close the doors,” it concerns within you, so instead of outwardly being just one of billions of human beings, that it is hidden in you that THE Kingdom of God is established within you.

Are we serious in our spiritual lives? Are we serious about seeing the Lord in the last days? Are we serious as ambassadors to our Lord Jesus Christ? Are we serious as brides to our Groom?

I wonder to myself and I fear that many priests, deacons, bishops, monks will barely make it to the Kingdom of Heaven, but a little cute child will come in barging like a hero in the Kingdom, due to the fact that this child carried the cup that no one else was able to carry like him.

That’s precisely what happened with the story of all those rich folks giving their gold to the altar, and Christ reacted to their sacrifice with indifference. But the poor and shy woman giving all she had, which were only two mites, while she thought it made no difference before God, she did in fact also give her heart and her love to God, showing that she has no one else but Him, that she wants to talk to Him. When she put the two mites in the altar, she put her heart there. I wonder how many of us Christians in the whole world, in all the churches, are like this woman, who in the representation of the two small mites, give their whole heart humbly to God, rather than count all their riches and what they did for the Church or the people.

May the Lord grant, for the sake of His love and compassion upon us, that we be ready for the end with Him!

– Fr. Tadros Malaty

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