Teaching the Young Children of Tewahido
Love of God and Introduction to Dominion over the Flesh
Table of Contents
1.0 Preparatory Steps
A. Preparing the Space: Icons (Sail) and Furniture
B. Dressing for Church (Natala Madegdeg)
C. The Sign of the Cross
D. Greeting in the Church
E. Introduction to Self – Control (Dominion of the Spirit over the Fallen Flesh)
1.1 Who or What is God? (In the Beginning: Genesis)
1.2 God is Love
1.3 What are Angels?
1.4 Introduction to “Adam” (The First Human Beings)
1.5 What are Saints?
1.6 Introduction to the Mysteries (Makebir and Irgata)
1.7 In the Beginning – Genesis
1.8 The Seen and the Unseen (The Visible/Finite and the Invisible/Infinite)
2.0 The Seven Mysteries (The Mystery of Qurban)
2.1 The Seven Mysteries Continued
2.2 St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman (The Fall)
3.0 The Mystery of Nissa (Confession)
3.1 The Mystery of Baptism
4.0 The Mystery of Confirmation
5.0 The Mystery of Marriage
Advisory on History for the Teachers ONLY:
The children will learn the historical background of Tewahido later in the next volume which will be completed for teenagers and adults by God’s Grace. For now let the children learn the foundations – Let them be fed with the milk of the faith first (Heb 5:12). However, dear teachers, teach boldly based on the confidence of the teachings of our Ethiopia Tewahido Bete Christian fathers and mothers knowing that we serve one Ethiopia.
Ethiopia (i.e. It was all of known Africa at one time from the Greek and Roman perspectives or the places inhabited by the people with blackened or ‘burnt faces’) is the place of the first covenant with Humankind: St. Adam and St. Eve, as we are taught by our Tewahido Church fathers and mothers. Ethiopia stretched from the entire known Continent of Africa and included the so called “Arabian Peninsula” and the Land of Kanaan (Canaan) at one time. Kanaan (Canaan) was also, tellingly, the brother of Kush. Kanaan (Canaan) became Israel, after the monotheists or “Jews” were granted it by God. Please also note that the ancient Kametians/Kemetians (i.e. the children of Kam known as “Egyptians”) buried their dead with their heads facing southern Ethiopia or towards what has been known as Kush, Nubia, (“Sudan” and later “Abyssinia” or the “Federal Republic of Ethiopia”, etc.), because that area was their origin. Please note that according to our ancient cardinal points south was “Up” north was “Down”, towards West Africa was “Right” and towards Asia was “Left”. Again, Ethiopia was once much larger than it is today and encompassed many “burnt-faced peoples” peoples who are now known by many names: Kushitic, Omotic, Semitic, Bantu, etc…One Ethiopia! Through the spiritual mystery of adoption all are ultimately adopted into the Ethiopian family in Christ. We will explore this further in later volumes, God willing.
Ethiopia or Kush, before, monotheism dominated Kamet/Kemet known as Egypt, was known as the Land of the gods. It was properly revealed after the birth of Christ and the visit of the Holy Family and through the revelations of the saints of Ethiopia Tewahido Bete Christian, as the Land of God and the Land of St. Mary (i.e. Hohite Berhan or the Door through which Eternal Light comes into the world). Even before the establishment of the institution of the centralized Church, Kush – Ethiopia was the land of God that was the origin of St Melchizedek who descended from the priesthood of “Adam” the first human beings. Let us be reminded that Tewahido is one religion from St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman to Christ (i.e. for He created them to be in perfect union – to be as two parts of one whole 5:12). Our Church fathers and mothers teach us that Christ has always existed in the Holy Trinity on the infinite plane. When God promised St. Adam and St. Eve that He would save them (Gen 3:15), St. Adam and St. Eve believed that they would be saved by a Saviour, becoming the first Christians. Again, it is one religion from St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman to Christ. God does not change from the Old Testament to the New Testament. The only development or change in character that the Bible shows is the evolution of humankind from St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman and the Fall, when we fell far away from God, to our reunification with God and our divine nature through Christ. It is humankind that has developed and changed from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant in Christ through whom we become friends of God again (John 15:15).
These complexities will be taught to older children and adults in another volume by the will of God. We will be reminded of many other Ethiopian saints and blessings in the Old and New Testaments. We must now begin our instruction of the children with the milk of Makiber and Irgata. St. Paul teaches us that we must first begin with milk and then move to the “meat” or substance and secrets of the faith, dear teachers of the faith (Heb 5:12).
However, for your further emboldenment, dear teachers of the faith, let us also be reminded that Kanaan (Canaan) was one of the sons of Kam and the brother of Kush. Let us also meditate on and be made confident by the verse, “Are you not like the children of the Ethiopians (or of Kush) to me, O ye Israelites?” Amos 9:7. Not all “Jews” or monotheists and worshippers of the one true God were Hebrews. Our church fathers and mothers teach us that St. Melchizedek, the originator of the priesthood of Our Saviour, who taught the formerly pagan St. Abraham, offering bread and wine on the tabot, was an Ethiopian. St. Abraham took his first offering (i.e. aserat) to God’s priest St. Melchizedek who was before him. Modern science has even confirmed that monotheism existed in Kamet – Ethiopia (i.e. called “Egypt” or “Mesraim” by Hebrews, Arabs and Europeans) over one thousand years before the birth of Christ by the time-counting of modern science. Let us not descend into doubtful disputations about time which is just a human construct. The Truth exists beyond space and time.
The first century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus refers to St. Saba (known also as Queen Saba and Queen Makeda) as the queen of Egypt and Ethiopia. It is also enlightening that “kam” was the strongest word for black in the ancient kingdom, Kamet, known as “Egypt” that was once united with Ethiopia and was written as a piece of wood burnt at one end in the hieroglyphic, unsurprisingly, resembling the meaning of Ethiopia (in Greek) and Sudan (in Arabic) (which mean land of Blacks or burnt – faced peoples) which was also Nubia – Ethiopia. Nubia – Ethiopia or modern Sudan (part of Kush) was already somewhat Christian in the 4th Century when Bishop Longinus was appointed under the Roman occupation of “Egypt”/”Mesraim”/Kamet or Kemet even as Bishop Frumentius was appointed at the same time in Axum. Also, the name Candace is believed to be derived from the title of the queens of Nubia – Ethiopia (i.e. modern Sudan and part of ancient Kush – Ethiopia) which was Kandake. These powerful Nubian – Ethiopian queens from what is now modern Sudan ruled over modern Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt and were known for being very Black. For example, Kandake Amanikasheto led her armies to defeat the Romans in Nubia-Ethiopia (part of Kush or modern Sudan) just a little over twenty years before the birth of Christ. It was likely the servant of one of these Nubian – Ethiopian (Kushitic, here meaning from Kush) Kandakes that St. Phillip baptized on the road to Jerusalem. It is possible that he resembled the Gambelan and/or Dinka Ethiopians of today – Out of many one Ethiopia! Be reminded that ancient Ethiopia was much larger than the Federal Republic of Ethiopia of today.
After the death of Alexander the Great, a Greek of the line of Ptolemys who were occupying Kamet – Ethiopia (i.e. “Egypt” or “Mesraim”) and who renamed the Kushitic – Ethiopian city of Ra – koti to Alexandria (i.e. Please note that “Egyptologists” have a strange tradition of adding Greek endings to Kushitic Ethiopian names to make them appear Greek, so they write Rhakotis. They also add years to artefacts so that they do not appear as old as they are in the time-
counting of science), the Romans invaded and took over Kamet – Ethiopia. The occupation of the Greeks was benign in comparison to the abuses that the Kametic (or Kemetic in English) – Ethiopian people and their institutions had now to endure under the Roman domination. The harsh and disrespectful oppression that the Romans inflicted on our entire Tewahido Bete Christian in the Africa – Ethiopia was dire. The Romanesque centralization of the Church that followed was signified by the appointment of at least these two bishops (Bishop Longinus in Nubia – Ethiopia (i.e. modern Sudan) and Bishop Frumentius in Axum – Ethiopia. It is not surprising that these two bishops were appointed, considering the Roman influence on our institutions at the time and the Roman tendency to create centralized and hierarchical power. In any case, let us remain confident that Christianity existed in both parts of Ethiopia before the Roman appointment of the bishops in Axum and Nubia (Kush – Ethiopia – modern Sudan, parts of Southern Egypt and parts of today’s Southern Federal Republic of Ethiopia) in the 4th Century when they occupied Kamet – Ethiopia (known as “Egypt” to the Europeans).
Let us be reminded that it is written that the Archangel told the Holy Family to go to Kamet – Ethiopia, known as ‘Egypt’ in the 1st Century (Matt 2:13). At that time, Kamet (“Egypt” or “Mesraim”) was united with the rest of Ethiopia and the Holy Family travelled up and down the Nile, with St. Mary inspired by her Son, teaching the faith and converting the priesthoods (and many others), including our own priesthood until the death of King Herod (Matt 2:19) when they were instructed to return to Israel, the land given by God to His monotheists or “Jews” (formerly the land of Kanaan (Canaan), also the name of the brother of Kush – which is also a name of Ethiopia).
However, let us not tarry with too much discussion of history and remember that time itself is a construct of the finite plane and does not exist on the infinite plane of God who is Truth and who exists beyond space and time and remains immeasurable, as the Qedasse teaches us. We should not allow time to confuse us or discussions of time to delay us, God is taught in the Qedasse, He exists beyond time and space, immeasurable on the Infinite Plane. Let us also not be delayed by doubtful disputations (Romans 14: 1-4).
Through the secret of spiritual adoption the whole world is adopted into our family which is the one true family of Christ Our Saviour who is the second St. Adam and who is the renewal of the first creation of Humankind into eternal life (Romans 5:17). St. Mary is also the second St. Eve made unto perfection. St. Mary removes all blight of St. Eve’s original sin from the conscience of women in Christ. There is balance and love in all of God’s work.
Dear Teachers of Tewahido Bete Christian and builders of the Church. Please also note that repetitions will occur often in the text. This is an intentional pedagogical approach to assist the children in remembering certain key beliefs and teachings that are the foundation of Our Faith.
Teaching the Young Children of Tewahido
1.0 Preparatory Steps
A. Preparing the Space (Icons and Furniture)
Children should be taught in a room with no chairs or tables with rugs and/or carpeting on the floor when they are not studying the writing of the holy Gi’iz. The focus at the front of every classroom should be a large orthodox painting (i.e. Sail) of Our Lord held by St. Mary with the Archangels St. Mikael and St. Gabriel depicted, such that it is visible for all of the children. For most of the lesson they should alternate between standing in an orderly fashion and sitting on the rugs and/or carpets, when they have stood for enough time. This time period is to be decided by each Sunday school teacher based on the children’s development of self-discipline (i.e. Dominion over the Fallen Flesh) at any given time. They should begin by simply standing still and focused for Abbatachin Hoi (Our Lord’s Prayer). Our Lord’s Prayer should be said at the beginning and end of each lesson, during which time the children should stand focused on the cross and the picture of Our Lady of Twofold Virginity, St. Mary.
Shoes should not be worn in the Sunday school room in order to teach them to honour the holy things (Makiber) and to prepare them for standing Qedasse. A space or cabinet should be designated for them to put their shoes. Teach them that God told his saint and friend, St. Moses to remove his shoes when he was standing on holy ground in front of the Holy and so we remove our shoes on holy ground in front of holy things like the icon in the room when we pray and worship God (Ex 3:5).
It should be explained to the children while gesturing to the painting, (and repeated profusely at appropriate occasions) that God loves them just as a perfect mother loves Her child and that God came from the world of the spirit into this world as a child just like them, because they are so very important to Him and they are holy. Tell them to look at the painting and understand that this is the meaning of the painting. The Mother is the most important of God’s creations, because she gives birth to the Child. They are the children of God and they were made to be like Him and specially CHOSEN TO SERVE Him. They were made to serve God. God is Light, Love and everything that is good and from whom all good things come. Again, it should be repeated to them that God loves them as a perfect mother loves her child – Just like in the painting.
Teach them that they are called Christian, because they are meant to be like Christ (i.e. Christian means ‘like Christ’). They are coming to Sunday school to learn how to be like Christ (i.e. God). They will learn to behave and believe as the sons and daughters of God and St. Mary should, because they must be the good examples for all children and people in the world. They must prepare for the important work they have to do for God in the way they live their lives and the Church needs their help and prayer.
Tell them repeatedly to look at the painting in silence.
Explain to them that this painting of the perfect mother is St. Mary holding God as a child and this is a painting of God’s love for them, because God loves them as a perfect mother loves her child.
(For teaching to write the holy Gi’iz alphabet, studying the Bible in its written form and writing in holy Gi’iz, a separate room with small tables and chairs or folding chairs and tables should be arranged that the children can carry in or unfold in an orderly manner. If there is enough space there should be a separate room for sitting and writing. The children should be taught to arrange and keep their Sunday school rooms neat and orderly at all times. This, too, is the beginning of Makiber or honoring the holy things and places that will cause their faith and grace to grow). Teach them that Our God is the God of order – not of disorder.
B. Dressing for Church
Both male and female children should be taught to wear natala (natala madegdeg) in order to enter the class. This is the beginning of teaching Makiber, the honoring of holy things. It should be explained to them that God’s people wear white linen to honour Him and that Church is a special place of God and secret things. They should be taught that they should honour these holy places and the act of prayer in part, by putting on natala (i.e. white linen) (Rev 19:14 and Rev 7:13).
Advisory for the Teachers ONLY:
Wearing Natala for Church (Natala medegdeg)
Wearing natala to Church reminds children that there is specialness about Church. The act of ‘natala medegdeg’ communicates to the fallen flesh/body that it must honor the holy things, places and thereby the Holy Spirit itself. As the children think about the act of ‘natala medegdeg’, while doing it, they are also training their minds to honour the holy things and places. Again, as above, the putting on of the natala or ‘natala medegdeg’ is the beginning of learning Makiber. The honouring of holy things is an exercise of the mind and body that causes faith to grow and leads to dominion of the spirit over the fallen flesh and the things of the flesh. Also, let us be reminded that St. John said that in the last days the people of God will wear white linens (Rev 19:14 and also Rev 7:13). Many things in Ethiopian culture are derived from God and His holy and divine Church which is the physical manifestation of His body on the finite plane – Tewahido (i.e. the unification of the divine infinite with the finite world which is ultimately fulfilled in Christ and His spiritual children).
C. The Sign of the Cross
The children should be lined up in an orderly fashion and told to face the painting of Our Lord held by St. Mary with the Archangels. Tell them to look at the painting and tell them that God came into the world like a child just like them. While they are all standing, the teacher should stand at the front of the room (optimally there should be more than one teacher. Another teacher or two should stand at the back of the room and go around and assist the children with their stance and concentration) and teach the children the proper way to cross themselves. The teacher(s) should explain to them that crossing themselves will protect them from evil and make them strong, happy and without fear.
D. Greeting in the Church
The children should be taught that our religion is love and that their family is the congregation. They should be taught to greet each other lovingly with a holy kiss on the shoulders or on the cheek. They should be taught the proper way to greet lay adults and priests in the Church. With adults they should initiate and respectfully greet for the time of day and with priests they should learn to kiss the cross and say, “Yiftui” or “Forgive me” (until they have learned the holy Gi’iz or authorized language of the congregations: Amarigne Tigringne, Oromifa, Gambela, English or any of the other languages that may be spoken by the congregation and authorized by the clergy). All adults should be greeted by the children as mother or father in the Church.
E. Introduction to Self – Control (Dominion of the Spirit over the Fallen Flesh)
At the beginning and end of every lesson the teacher should pray Abbatachin Hoi (Our Father Who Art in Heaven) with the children. Before the prayer they should be instructed to stand and look straight ahead at a painting of St. Mary and Our Lord with the Archangels, without moving and their hands facing upwards. It should be explained to the children that they are standing with their hands facing upwards to receive a special blessing from God and St. Mary who are above them. Keeping their hands facing upwards reminds them that God and St. Mary are greater than them. They should also be told that the angels come to pray with them and bless them when they are praying quietly. They should be instructed that they must help us, the church congregation to pray, because God hears the prayers of children specially. Before the children have memorized Abbatachin Hoi (Our Lord’s Prayer) the teacher should say it for them. The children should simply learn to control their bodies and focus on the cross and the painting of St. Mary and the Archangels while it is said for them.
If any children join in and attempt to say the prayer, note who they are and congratulate them at the end. Children who stand still and focus should be rewarded with praise and encouragement. Children who do not should be told that they are missing a great blessing that will make them not scared of the dark or of anything, that will make them good in school, win good friends and make their families proud. This short prayer exercise alone will bless the children and nurture their faith and goodness, while preparing them for standing Qedasse. Again, the children should be taught how to cross themselves before beginning prayer and to bow low each time the Lord’s and St. Mary’s (and a bit as the angels’ names) are mentioned. Forcing our fallen flesh to bow low before the holy also trains it to obey the voice and law of God. The instructor should advise the children to bow when and how she or he bows. When they stand still and focus on the painting of Christos, St. Mary and the Archangels with their hands facing upwards in a position of receiving from Heaven, Grace will certainly be given them.
An orthodox painting of St. Mary holding Christ with St. Mikael and St. Gabriel should be in every room that is used to teach children.
Lesson 1.1 Who and What is God?
Children learn complex concepts best when it is related to them and their world. Because this first text is focused on the youngest children, we will avoid complex discussions about soul versus the meaning of spirit before scientific materialism in Europe here. These sorts of deep spiritual questions will be answered in greater detail in the later volumes addressed to more sophisticated/older believers. There also is a problem when moving into the English (and all European languages), because of the impact that scientific materialism has had on the understanding of mind – helena – intellect and of spirit – energy/gulbet as opposed to soul – menfes . Although helena is truly spirit, as we are taught in the Gi’iz, in English spirit is usually menfes qedus or qedus in the Church and then again, energy in science. For this reason, we will not cause confusion for the children (and for all of those educated in the West), if we simply call mind – helena, spirit in English. It is necessary to distinguish it in English. For this reason, I believe that we should say that the children are made of three fundamental parts: Mind, Body and Soul. Spirit is considered a part of body in the Gi’iz as human mind – not the mind of God.
An additional challenge in translations arises because of scientific materialism and western atheist philosophy where mind has become purely and SOLELY a part of body i.e. the brain in the English language. There remain some elevated niches in philosophy of mind that maintain an understanding that intellect (helena – spirit) cannot be reduced to the brain that does not seem to have great impact on the common usage of the language. Most modern people understand mind as brain and spirit as that of which the soul is made. Spirit is considered the same as soul in the West now and in the English language. For greater understanding and identification we have chosen, in Truth, to write that the children are made of three parts. They can learn the deeper secrets and details later in the second volume for teenagers and young adults. We will keep it simple for the 3 – 10 years group.
Little ones, you are made of three main parts. You have a body that you can see and you have a mind where you think about many ideas that you cannot see and you also have a soul that you cannot see. Your body eats and sleeps and laughs and plays. Your mind dreams and thinks so many amazing and sometimes bad things, if you do not teach it with your invisible soul from God. All of these parts make up one beautiful and holy and beloved and amazing you! Your soul is a very special part of you that knows so many things. Your soul can do so many more things than your body when you learn how to use it. Your soul can do the most amazing things that you will learn about later, if you are very good and listen very carefully. The beginning of using the power of your soul is learning to control your body. Your soul is a very special and blessed part of you that comes directly from God. Now I know many of you are asking yourselves who or what is God?
God made you like Him and to be like Him. God is a spirit and cannot be seen. There is a secret that I will tell you about Him. God also has three parts just like you. God the Father is invisible like your soul. He made all things and all things came from Him. He is Love. He is a special Light. He is Truth. He is never-ending Life. Everything good comes from Him. God the Father is a Spirit that thinks just like you and His thoughts are His Spirit just like your soul. His Spirit comes out of Him and blesses and teaches us in the world. Like you, He also has another part! This other part is called God the Son and He is very close to us. We also call Him Christ, Our Savior.
So that we could know God and love God and be with Him and so that He could protect us from all bad things, He let us see Him in the world. He was born from His Mother as a child just like you, so that you can know how very, very important you are to Him and so that you have the power to win over all and every bad thing just like Him. His mother’s name is St. Mary. He loves us so much that He even gave us His mother, St. Mary and now she is your mother too!
St. Mary is a very important part of how God came from the never-ending world of the Spirit that you can’t see into our world that you can see. Because God came through her into the world, one of her secret names is the Door of Light. God waited and waited and waited until a woman filled with love for Him was willing to serve Him with all her heart, mind, body and soul, so that you could be close to Him and He could have the same kind of body as you have now. St. Mary loves God and people so much that she does everything that God asks of her and so God comes as her child. He got the same body as you have now from St. Mary as her baby. In that same body that you have now, God who we also call Christ (remember that other part God the Son who we talked about before?) won over all evil and bad things – even death! Now you are able to win over all bad and evil things in the bodies that you have now, if you remain the good and faithful children of God and St. Mary!
LESSON 1.2 God is Love
Teacher’s Advisory: Christ taught us that to love God and to love one another are the most important of all of the laws (Mark 12:28-31) and later St. John stated that whoever does not have love in them does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8). So, our most important task is teaching the children to love and to be loving. This should start with how they greet each other and speak to each other in the Church. The lesson should be followed with lively discussion of examples of love. At the end of the lesson discuss love as: 1) Sharing, 2) Giving 3) the love that they feel towards family and what it means and let them know they should extend that feeling to all children of God 4) Self-sacrifice as the highest form of love.
Many of you may ask yourselves, “What is love?”
The first kind of love you learn is the feeling that you have when your mother (or your father) takes you in her arms. The feeling that you have for her (and for your father) when you see her after she’s been gone for a while when she takes you in her arms is love. You love your mother and your father and if you have brothers and sisters you love them too. You would not want any bad thing to happen to them. You should feel this love for all children of God. There is also an even greater kind of love which means that we give away even those things that we really want to keep or to do for the sake of making God’s people and God happy.
Sometimes when you go to Church you may want to run or jump or shout or play games or draw pictures in Church, but you don’t because you want to show God that you love Him. This is called making a ‘sacrifice’ to God. It is a spiritual sacrifice that is made out of love of God. When you sacrifice the other things that you want to do and fill your hearts and minds with love of God. God gives you the greatest blessings. This is the greatest form of love. You did not do what you wanted to do so that you could show love. Another way of showing the best and most powerful kind of love is like, if you have your favourite cake in your hand and you want to eat, but just as your mouth is watering, before you can put it into your mouth a very hungry child comes and begs you for the cake. Instead of putting the cake into your mouth, you decide to give it to the other child instead to make her happy. This is love. Or let’s say your mother is praying in the Church and you want to talk to her, but you decide to wait and let her pray, because you know that she loves to pray and that God loves it when she prays. This is another way of showing the greatest love. Love is giving and putting other people and God before you. Love is not thinking about yourself first, but instead, thinking about other people. Children, you must always remember to fill yourselves with love. To be a child of God you must be loving towards each other. God is love. He is the Spirit of love. Love is being gentle to people and all things. Love is giving someone what they need to be happy, if you can. Love is not becoming angry with people and living things easily. Love is sharing what you have even if you really like it – Or even giving away things that we like and want. When you really like something sharing it is even more loving and is an even greater blessing. Love is also being happy for other people when they have something good. Love is not looking at what someone else has and being angry, because they have it. Love is knowing that God has a blessing for all of us. Children of God pray and wait for blessings patiently while we enjoy seeing the blessings of others. Love is also not making other people feel small by loudly boasting about what we have or what we have received. Love is being happy when a friend or someone nearby is told good things about themselves. Love makes you give spiritual things easily too. Spiritual things that we give out of love are: attention (spending time talking with people that we love), praise (saying good things to people or standing happily and quietly by when someone is saying good things about someone else), kindness (e.g. hugging someone when they are feeling bad).
When you are loving God blesses you with happiness and all of the good things that are intended for you. Little ones, you show how much you love God by loving people. Loving is more important than how much you know or how much you can do or what you have. Even if you cannot remember all of the laws and all of the rules, if you are always filled with love for people and for God in what you think, say and do, God will love you and you will be blessed.
1.3 What are Angels?
Before God created the world that you can see, smell, hear, taste and touch and long before He created the first human beings (St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman, who would later be called, St. Eve), that you will learn about later, He created beautiful invisible beings made of spirit. It is hard to find words to talk about things that are made of spirit, because the words we use are made to describe things that we can see and touch. We can only say that they are “like this…” or “like that…” So, some people say they are like light or they are like fire. That is the best that we can do now. These spiritual beings called angels cannot be seen when they are in their original/first spiritual form. They were made to serve God who is Light, Love, Ever-lasting Life and Truth and from whom all good things come. Angels are made to live forever and as spiritual beings they know more about the spirit and God than what people can understand when we are in our bodies and in this world. Angels live in the never-ending world of the spirit and are made of spirit. God blessed them and shared His power with them. Angels are enormously powerful when compared to us, but nothing and no one is more powerful than God. The angels bless those who God tells them to bless and they punish those who God tells them to punish. They do whatever God asks of them and are covered with the Glory of God which is His Holy Spirit. There is a very important story about the angels that you will learn later.
Because the angels serve God and bring us messages from God and protect us, we love them. You can see many paintings of angels that we put in the Church, because they are a very important part of our spiritual family. When we are sad and tired, if we love God, they visit us to give us spiritual strength. When we try to serve God they keep us company and send us love and patience. They love to be wherever people are serving God like in the church. When we pray the angels fill the Church and pray with us, just like God Himself enters the church when we pray. The angels are all around us in the church. They are on the ceilings, the floors and the walls and fill the air. Sometimes, if the angels love someone who is serving God and is filled with love, they ask God for permission to take on the form of things that we can see, so that we can see them without fear and with the love that they feel for us.
The Archangels who are the most powerful of all of the angels were always with St. Mary, the mother of God and protect God’s kingdom and all of the other angels. You always see them in our church painting of St. Mary holding our Lord. When you are looking at the painting on your left side of St. Mary is the Archangel St. Michael (i.e. on St. Mary’s right) and on the right side of St. Mary (i.e. St. Mary’s left) is the Archangel St. Gabriel. They are also great friends of everyone who loves God. The Archangel St. Michael is known for his patience, loyalty, strength and love of saints. He leads God’s spiritual army of saints and angels. The Archangel St. Gabriel is especially known for his love of being around people and talking to them, as well as having all of the other traits that make him perfect in spirit. They are both the most powerful and obedient (i.e. they only do what God tells them to do) of the angels and they love you very, very much!
1.4 Introduction to “Adam”: The First Human Beings
After God created the beings of spirit that we cannot see, the light and the darkness, the earth, the moon and the stars and all of the planets, all of the animals and plants and prepared everything perfectly, He went away in secret from the angels and in great secrecy and mystery for our protection, He created our great earthly father and mother. He created our ancestors “Adam” (i.e. meaning “It is good”) who were the very first people. They were united like to parts of one whole. They were created to live forever and to never grow old or become sick. They were made perfect and they had to learn to choose.
They shared everything and they only ate fruits and vegetables, happily living without any killing or suffering, in love and peace. They were so pure and good that they could see the spiritual world just like we can see this world. The never-ending world of the spirit and the material world were like one world to their eyes. After God made them He presented them to all of His creatures as His visible image! His creations were so happy to see their God who they had never seen, who they could now see through His Image. His Image was St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman. St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman were like two halves of one person. God took from every pure thing that He created before them to make them, so that they would rule over all things. He also gave them part of His own divine spirit which He breathed into them to make them divine and never-ending like Him. They were made to live forever.
He made them so that they were free to choose what they liked and did not like. He gave them freedom. He also gave them the choice to live without any evil and bad things, but they could even choose to go away from Him and His loving advice, if they wanted to. They lived in happiness and in joy, the rulers over all things, with our God for a long time.
Later you will learn more about our great father and mother, St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman. You will also learn how St. Adam – Woman got the name St. Eve after they made a bad choice and a terrible thing happened, if you are very good and listen carefully in class.
1.5 What are Saints?
In the Church you will also see many pictures of special people who were born with a mother and father just like you and who lived in this world at some time, who we call saints (i.e. There are also many saints alive today working in secret). Saints are people who love God so much that they dedicate their lives and all that they have to serving God and people. Saints are people who God speaks to in a special way and who love Him above all things. Because they love God so dearly they can hear His spiritual voice clearly in their minds and in their hearts and God gives them great spiritual powers and gifts.
Saints sometimes make mistakes or do bad things, but they always return to God and ask forgiveness and they also always ask forgiveness from people that they hurt when they make mistakes, so that they continue to become more and more perfect until the end of their lives on Earth. What is special about saints is that they never give up serving God and people before themselves and what they themselves want. They put God and other people first. Because they love God so much, God, St. Mary and the angels are always close to them and sometimes they even get to see them!
Saints are people who give everything they have to God – Even their own bodies. They are people born of parents, not like angels. They are very special people who fill themselves with so much love of God that they give their bodies, their minds, their souls and everything that they own to God. They do not follow their own desires, but are always asking what it is that God wants. Because they do this the Holy Spirit lets them say, do and see wonderful things from the never-ending world of the Spirit.
For example, in our churches you will often see the picture of a man whose leg is broken off with the wings of an angel. His name is St. Tekle Haimanot and he was a great and loving man who was a saint. Although he is painted with wings, he is not an angel. His parents were from Shawa Province, a place in Ethiopia. He is painted with wings because he loved God so much that even when his body was alive in this world, his mind and his heart were in the never-ending world of the Spirit. We paint him with wings to show that he got power over everything that you can see, smell, hear and touch by making his never-ending soul stronger with God’s blessing. Did you know that sometimes when he prayed his heart and his mind would be so much in the world of the spirit with God that he would completely forget about his body?! He wouldn’t even feel his body at all! He would not feel that he was hungry and he wouldn’t even feel pain, because he was thinking and feeling so much about his love of God. Once when his whole mind and heart was filled with love and joy about God, he completely forgot about his body. While he was standing in prayer, his leg fell off and he didn’t even feel it! He loved God so much that the Archangel St. Michael loved to live with him and make himself visible to him, so that St. Tekle Haimanot and the Archangel St. Michael became very close friends. If you think about your love of God and look at the holy pictures in Church you can forget about being hungry and tired and all of the problems of your body, then your soul, the godly part of you, will rise and you will get so many blessings.
At the end of his life, because he loved God so much he received a new body and was able to be with our God whom he loved so much, forever and ever in never-ending happiness and joy. There are many stories of saints before him (like St. Adam and St. Eve and St. Mary, etc..) and after him (e.g. the hermit priests in Ethiopia called bahtawi) that you will learn about in Sunday School.
Lesson 1.6 Introductions to the Mysteries (Makiber and Irgata)
Again, let us be reminded that Makiber is the honoring of holy things and this includes Irgata or moving slowly and speaking quietly in the holy places. Makiber or the honoring of holy things is the spiritual attitude that must be the basis for all things that we do to honor God. Prayer, segdet and bowing have no meaning without Makiber or the honoring of holy things. It is a spiritual stance of the soul that is expressed in the body – Just as the infinite is in the finite – Tewahido. The divine souls of the children know God and all things. It is our duty as adult Christians to teach the children how to gain mastery over their fallen flesh, so that it does not rule over their divine souls. We must teach them how to be the masters of their flesh and all things of the flesh to save their souls in these dark times. Makiber is the basis for this. The body must first be taught in prayer to honor the holy things and places and then we can add more prayer, segdet and knowledge. The war that the children must win is the dominion of the spirit over the flesh and the things of the flesh. Not to teach them this is worse than not feeding them food. It is written that when God was fighting Satan by denying the desires of His body, disciplining it through fasting and in this manner conquering Satan and his evil, He said that humankind does not live from bread (or njera) alone (Matthew 4:4).
Dear children, there are two things that you must learn so that you can become God’s friend and He will bless you with so many wonderful blessings. The first is that you must learn to respect God’s holy things and holy places. You must also teach your body to respect them so that your never-ending soul can use its power to bless you and everything that you do. Respecting the holy places and holy things means not running and jumping and shouting in holy places, like the church. It also means not laughing during the holy prayers, but taking prayer as a serious time when you talk to God and God talks to your soul and mind. Respecting God’s holy things also means making your body bow before God’s holy things while you think about how amazing and wonderful God is with all of His love for the world and all of His loving power.
A very important part of respecting God’s holy things and holy places is moving slowly when you are in a holy place, like the church. Our bodies like to rebel against God and not listen to God, so we have to train our bodies to respect God, so that never-ending and good souls can keep us close to God and to all of the blessings and power that He gives us. When we train our bodies then our souls get more powerful. Also, we know that especially in holy places there are blessed living beings that we cannot see, so we are careful. There are many saints and angels in holy places that we cannot see, so we move slowly and greet them in speech or in our thoughts and we move slowly to show them that we know that they are there and that we love them the same as they love us. The saints and angels that we cannot see are always praying for us and fighting evil to stay away from us, so we show love by moving slowly around them.
1.7 In the Beginning – Genesis
Teachers’ Advisory: After praying Abbatachin Hoi “Our Lord’s Prayer”, the teacher should make the children all sit down and tell them:
Dear children God and the angels are in the light with you and they are also in the darkness with you. You are now going to learn about how God created the whole world and everything that exists. Our God is the God of Light and of all things. God is The Lord of all things. He is a spirit that is more powerful than anything that you can see or anything that you cannot see and God loves you most specially. God exists in the light that we see and also in the darkness, He rules over everything. There is a great mystery and a great secret that our loving God wants you to learn. You must know that you have nothing to fear, because God is always with you. Now I will show you something secret and you must remain quiet and still.
At this point the teacher should turn off the lights in the room and keep talking to the children telling them while the light is off:
God created the universe in secret and many things are a mystery, but God has told us some things through His angels and saints.
Then the teacher should say:
In the beginning was God and He said, “Let there be Light”. At this point, the teacher should turn on the lights again.
Teachers’ Advisory: Discussion Points
Let the children know that when we are talking about the spiritual world and about God, our words cannot fully tell us everything. Words are a limitation when speaking about things of the Spirit. God’s prophets and Apostles have done the best they can in communicating these things to us. Even Christ told us of the kingdom in stories to help us to understand what we will not fully understand until we are freed of our bodies in their present form. God’s prophets and Apostles did their best to put things into words that we can understand, but the spiritual world is very different from the material world of things that we can see, smell, hear and touch. When we talk about things that are not seen, we are forced to use words for things that are seen and our experience of things that are seen, so we are limited. It is only by God’s help that we can understand so prayer and fasting always and especially before studying are important.
Do underscore with the children that just as God created light he also created the darkness that we see and the color Black and blessed them. The darkness was created for us to sleep and to rest and also to help us to understand blessed mystery.
1. It should be underscored for the children that God created the world in mystery and secret (i.e. The same as He created the first people in secret, as they will learn later, the world too was created, shrouded and protected in God’s blessed mystery).
2. It should be underscored for the children that there are at least three ways of understanding darkness or “blackness”: Material blackness that is seen by the eye as a colour which is part of God’s blessed creation, Mental darkness (which our minds may imagine as colour without light like “blackness” to try to understand it) that is typified by ignorance and confusion and finally, spiritual darkness or for those who have difficulty understanding it may be called “blackness” of the soul that results from the absence of God and is the state of being alienated from God, “lost” temporarily or eternally which would be damnation of the soul. Damnation of the soul is its alienation from God. God is a spiritual “Light”).
A. There is the holy darkness or blackness or mystery in which God existed as the true spiritual Light before He said, “Let there be Light” – Before material light was created. One meaning of black is the absence of material light. This darkness or “blackness” or absence of material light in which God was that existed before the creation of worldly light was blessed, because He was there. God also created darkness and blessed it. Like the robes of the priests, the Qedasse curtains that close just before Qurban/Holy Communion is revealed, it is blessed.
There is also the “blackness” of the night (i.e. the absence of the light of the sun). The night was created to give rest. Also, the blackness of the blessed faces of human beings made in the mysterious Image of God and highly blessed. This blackness is like the blackness of the mystery of God’s holy creation. In it is contained many secrets. It is interesting to note that the colour black contains all of the primary colours (i.e. red, yellow and blue). Black pigment contains the entire rainbow of pigmentations within itself.
B. The evil darkness or “blackness” for those who struggle to understand is not at all like the blessed Black colour that we see with our eyes. Do not be deceived. Evil “darkness” or so called “blackness” is the absence of God, because God is the true Spiritual Light. When God makes Himself absent, because His creatures choose that they do not wish to be with Him who is Light, Love, Truth and from whom all goodness comes, then there is a true spiritual darkness/ “blackness” that is the result of His absence. It is the absence of God. This is the only so called “blackness” that is cursed. Again, the darkness of the night is blessed. The darkness of blessed Black faces is holy.
C. In the “darkness” that results from the absence of God there is also the “darkness” of no understanding, confusion and evil acts which arise out of the absence of God or choosing not to live with Him. Again this “darkness” has nothing to do with the Black colour that we see with our eyes or the blessed Black colour of people made in the Image of God or the blessed clothes of the priests or the blessed curtains in the Church. The cursed “blackness” is a spiritual state of the soul and cannot be seen with the eye – It is not the colour. Do not be deceived.
3. Even as there are at least three ways of understanding “blackness” or “darkness” there are also three kinds of Light.
A. There is the light of the sun the stars and of electricity which we see with our eyes. The light of the material world which God created when He said “Let there be light”.
B. There is also the true spiritual and eternal Light of God Himself.
C. It is out of the true spiritual Light of God we gain knowledge of the truth and all of the graces of the Holy Spirit as He decides to give them to us and we become enlightened with and through the Holy Spirit.
Little ones, there are three main ways of understanding light. There is the true and never-ending Light of God. God is the true spiritual light that guides us to goodness and never-ending life and happiness from being with Him. Remember that every good thing come from God. There is also the light that means that you know many good things about how to love and how to live in peace and love with other people and how to serve God. From the Light of God we also get to know many wonderful things about God and he becomes our good friend. There is also the light that God created when He commanded, “Let there be light!” This light is the light that you see from the sun; the moon’s reflected light, the stars and electricity. The light that you can see is another form of light.
Just as there are three main ways of understanding light, there are also three main ways of understanding darkness. There is the blessed darkness that you can see and that God made. The darkness or blackness of the night was made so that you could go to sleep and rest. The darkness or blackness of God’s mystery was to protect everything that He created and was also blessed. There is also the blackness of the robes of the priest and the curtains of the Church which remind us that this blackness is blessed. There is also the most blessed blackness which is the faces of Black people who were made in the Image of God. The colour Black belongs to God.
There is an evil black that you cannot see, but you can feel it in your heart and in your mind. It is a blackness that comes when God’s Spirit is not in a place or in a person, because God is the true spiritual Light. When God leaves a place or leaves a person’s heart and mind, then they fall into a spiritual blackness and this is the blackness that is evil. When God leaves a person, then a third kind of blackness comes that means that the person becomes mean and confused and cannot understand God or anything about Him. This is the only blackness that you should not like and that you should stay away from. The way that you stay away from this evil blackness is by always filling your hearts and minds with love and with love of God.
Lesson 1.8 Unseen and the Seen (The Invisible/Infinite and the Visible/Finite)
Teacher Advisory: The beginning of every lesson should begin with the expression of God’s love for the children and how they must love each other.
Little ones, you must know that God loves you most specially. Let us tell you a secret that in the beginning God created things like Him that cannot be seen and also things that can be seen.
Among the most important beings that are not seen by most people most of the time, are the holy angels. God created the holy angels to serve God and to protect people. God is Love and God is a special spiritual Light and God is Truth. All good things come from God. God loves all of us very, very much and He loves you children even more. So, He created the angels which most of us cannot see to serve Him and to protect us. The holy angels especially love the young children and all holy things. They love to be in places where people pray and serve God as they do and they love to hear the Word of God. When you pray and bow, the holy angels pray and bow with you.
Again, there are so many holy angels in and around and above the Church that we cannot count them. Holy angels cover the ceilings, the walls and even the floors. The holy angels even cover the floor, because they do not want the Word of God to fall on the ground. We walk and move slowly and lovingly in the Church, because we know that the holy angels are all around us. Speaking softly and moving slowly in and around the church is the beginning of honoring and respecting the holy things and makes the angels love you and love to be close to you.
The holy angels love to be close to people who love and serve God like they do. When you walk slowly and speak softly in the Church, the holy angels can see that you love the Church and God and Our Holy Mother the way they do and they come close to you and God lets them bless you. When the holy angels bless you, your soul from God will become strong in your body and you will not have fear. You will be filled with happiness. You will be brave and good. You will do well in school. If you are sick you may become well. You will find good friends. Your parents will be happy with you. So many good things will happen for you. If you shout or run or jump in the Church, then the holy angels will not come close to you. They will not bless you. They will stay far away from you and they will not bless you at all. Even worse, they stay far away from you, because they do not want God to make them punish you for defiling the holy things. If God makes the holy angels punish you, then you will be fearful and unhappy and have problems with so many things. If you are quiet when you are in the Church, if you walk slowly and speak softly and fill your hearts and minds with love, you will be blessed and you may even be allowed to see the holy angels, children! Yes, they may get permission from God to let you see them. If you are quiet and slow, you may even see a holy angel! Remember, the angels especially love children who love God, St. Mary and the Angels and who respect the holy things and places.
Lesson 2.0 The Seven Mysteries: The Mystery of Qurban
Teachers Advisory: It is written that Christ received of the Holy Spirit without measure (John 3:33 – 34). None of the Apostles and no other person has received of the Holy Spirit without measure like Christ who was completely and perfectly man and completely and perfectly God – the full fulfilment of Tewahido. We grow in spiritual gifts that are given to us gradually over time, if we remain lovingly and faithfully in Christ and in honour of the holy things and places and exercise of the holy graces. Unlike Christ, just as we grow in grace we can also diminish in grace and the gifts that are given by the Holy Spirit. We do not receive all of the spiritual gifts or all of them at one time (Eph4:13 and 1Cor12: 4-11) and the exercise of grace and honouring the holy things of God (i.e. Makiber) makes us receive ever more grace, even as we grow in faith and the fruits of the Spirit as He chooses to give them to us. The defilement of holy things and not to highly cherish the most holy of gifts and the greatest of mysteries, the Holy Communion, is a very, very serious matter, indeed.
Teaching the children to specially cherish Holy Communion and practice Makiber and Irgata on the day they take Holy Communion even after they leave the church, staying indoors and encouraging their parents to light a candle in front of an icon at home, will not only bring scores of angels into the family home on that day, it will also increase the faith and blessings on the children and the family as a whole.
Introduction to Qurban Law
Dear children, on many Sundays and holidays, you go to Church and your parents tell you that you are going to take Qurban/Holy Communion. Do you know what a special day this is and why it is so special? Holy Communion is a very powerful mystery and gift to you directly from God that can strengthen your mind, body and soul and can make you able to win against everything that is bad or evil. It can also strengthen your faith in God and help you to understand all of the spiritual things there are to know. It will help you to understand all of the spiritual powers that God has given you, but only if you respect it, cherish it and believe in God.
Holy Communion is God Himself. When the priest and all of the Church are praying, we are calling the Holy Spirit. Remember that part of God that is His thoughts and that comes out of Him to bless us and teach us in the world? We are calling the Holy Spirit to come and to change the bread and wine into God Himself. This is a great and wonderful secret that will fill you with power over all things!
When you take Holy Communion with respect and faith, you are mysteriously filled with all three parts of God and amazing and wonderful things can happen! God will live in you and in your hearts and you will never be alone! If you are sick you can become well again! If you are afraid, you can be made brave! If you are not good in school, you can become a brilliant student, but only if you respect Holy Communion and believe in God. Now you may ask yourselves what is respecting Qurban.
Respecting Qurban is made up of many things. The most important part happens when you are praying and standing in line in front of the altar at the front of the Church waiting to take it. Dearest, sweet children, when you are in line for Qurban you should be very, very quiet and quietly pray to God to forgive you for all of the bad things that you have said or done to your friends or parents or teachers. All you have to do for our loving God to forgive you and to bless you is to ask Him and show love and respect. That’s how much He loves you!
Before we take Qurban we bow low in front of Him, because although we cannot see Him, like your thoughts or your souls, even though He cannot be seen unless you are specially blessed, it is God Himself that is there at the altar. We bow low before Him. Do you remember how we talked about how the angels are all around the church on the ceilings and the walls and even on the floors? Well, when the Holy Communion comes out of the altar, so many angels that we cannot count them come around the Qurban and the altar also! If you show respect and do not speak and move slowly, the angels will bless each one of you even as God is blessing you. If you are very, very quiet, maybe one day you will see one of them in front of the altar.
If you continue to move slowly and do not run and do not jump even outside of the Church and at home on the days when you take Holy Communion, then the angels will stay close to you all day long, blessing you and teaching your mind, body and soul so many secrets and blessings. There are more things that we must be careful of when we take Holy Communion because there are dark spiritual beings that want to take the Holy Communion from us, but when we are quiet and slow and stay at home, the angels stay close to us to protect us.
When you take Holy Communion you should not cut yourself, because your blood is especially powerful and blessed on that day before you do or say any bad thing that may make your blessings become less. You should not run or jump, so that you do not risk throwing up and letting the Holy Communion drop on the ground. You should not wash your hands on that day, because you have been specially cleaned by the Holy Spirit on that day and you should keep this cleansing and blessing very especially in your thoughts and by what you do. You do not bow on that day because you must remember that you have taken God into yourself. Before you think, say or do any bad thing you can receive of so many of His gifts. When we keep these thoughts in our minds and train our bodies to do the same, He blesses us even more and the angels stay very close to us to take care of us and pray with us.
Remember, if you go to dirty places with people who do not believe in God and if you shout and run and jump after Holy Communion, then the holy angels will also not stay close to you and the blessings that the Holy Spirit has given you may become less and you will not be as greatly blessed. If you are quiet and stay at home, filling yourselves with love and thoughts about God your blessings and spiritual powers and faith will grow and grow and grow. Also, the angels will stay close to you and bless your houses and families.
Lesson 2.1 The Seven Mysteries (Cont’d)
Now you have learned more about the Mystery of Qurban (Holy Communion) that you take on Sundays and holidays. There are six other wonderful mysteries of God’s Creation that He would like you to learn. First let’s talk about what we learned about Qurban.
We can see from learning about Qurban / Holy Communion that there are things that you can see and that these things that you see have a part of them that you cannot see from the never-ending world of the Spirit. This is true for all of the holy things in the Church. In the Church you see something that you can see and touch, but these things also have somthing that you cannot see. The Holy Spirit, which is that part of God that is His thoughts and that comes from Him into this world that we can see, hear, smell and touch and also into us goes into holy things in the Church too. You see bread, wine, the tabot or paintings and the church itself and so on. Through the amazing and mysterious movement of the Holy Spirit all of these things gain a never-ending unseen part that is as real as the part that you see. For example, you can see your head or your brain, but you cannot see your thoughts when you are awake and you can never touch them or smell them or eat them, but they are real. It is a little bit like that.
2.2 St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman: The Fall
We talked about how after God had made everything else in preparation, when everything was ready; He created His Image, our ancestors who He named “Adam”. They are the great father and mother of all human beings on Earth. We also spoke about how God created them and made them to rule over all things and even made the angels bow before them and save them. Well, you remember that God also made the very powerful spiritual beings called angels even before He made human beings. The same as with all of His creatures, He gave the angels the freedom to decide to be with Him or to be away from Him. Remember God is Love, Light, Truth, Goodness and Never-Ending Life. To be away from Him is a terrible, terrible thing. If we are away from Him then we are away from Love, Light, Truth, Goodness and Never – Ending life. To be away from God means to be in Hatred, Darkness, Lies, Evil and Death.
Well, you should know that before human beings were made there was one angel who decided to worship himself, his own beauty and his own mind and decisions more than God. He was the most beautiful of all of the angels to look at, because the Glory of God shined so brightly around him and so he felt that he was too beautiful to serve anyone but himself. In fact, he felt that all of God’s creatures should serve him, because he was so very beautiful in his own eyes. This confused angel was ungrateful that God had shared His own glory of the Holy Spirit with him to make him so beautiful. He did not care about how he got his beauty. He did not care that his beauty was a gift from God. He worshipped his own beauty as if he had made it! He only cared about himself and what he wanted. He had a plan to use his freedom to leave God! God who is Light, Love, Truth, Never-Ending Life and who made all good things!
At a certain time before time as we know it – Before God made us, God made His presence unknown to the angels and covered Himself with mystery to create St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman. While God was covered in mystery making our great father and mother, this selfish, proud and vain angel decided to lie to the other angels. He even lied so far as telling them that he had created them and not God, because he wanted them to worship him and his beauty instead of God! He did not want to think about the truth that he had been given his beauty from God to serve God. No, he wanted to serve himself and have everyone else serve him and his beauty. He did not want to think about the truth that his beauty was the Glory of God that God had given him. No, he wanted to take all of the credit for his own beauty, as if he made it himself! So, while God was hidden in mystery creating St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman, so that all of God’s creations could see His Image in joy and happiness, this one powerful angel named Lucifer decided to be selfish and proud. He didn’t care that God shared so much of His power, beauty and wisdom with him. He decided to be ungrateful. He never thought about saying thank you for his blessings. He thought that he had his blessings because he was special and more deserving than any of the other angels – Not so that he could serve God better. He lied to the angels and boasted about the power and beauty that God had given him. He boasted so very, very much that it was terrible. The other Archangels St. Gabriel and St. Mikael were shocked. They could not believe this ugly pride and vanity that they were hearing. The Archangel Gabriel tried to warn the other angels, but some of the angels believed in the beauty of the Archangel Lucifer who they could see more than God who they could only see through His gifts and love for them.
As Lucifer saw that some of the angels were starting to believe that he was their creator because of his beauty and God-given power, he began to lie even more. He told the other angels that he would make them free of God, so they could do whatever they wanted. He did not remind them that God is Never- Ending Life, Truth, Love, Light and Goodness and that all good things come from God. He did not tell them that God’s laws are the real freedom because they lead to happiness and peace. No, He tricked them into believing that this freedom away from God and His law was something good. He did not tell them the Truth, because he is a liar. He is the spirit of lying and the one that all lying comes from. He confused the angels and confused them even more with more lies. He was tricking them into being proud and vain, making them believe in an imaginary world away from God that he lied would be better for them. He did not tell them that this world would have to be away from everything that God is (i.e. Truth, Love, Never-ending Life, and Goodness). He lied and boasted and confused them saying that he would build a kingdom that would be better than God’s kingdom and that they would be able to look across at God’s kingdom and know that his kingdom was better. Many of the angels filled themselves up with his lies, pride and vanity and started to feel more and more like Lucifer. They felt that they should be able to use their God-given power to serve themselves and not God. So they did not listen to the Archangel Gabriel’s warnings. They decided to follow Lucifer. The Archangel St. Michael wanted to throw Lucifer down, but He had to wait patiently for God to return so that He would give Him the power. The Archangel St. Michael is very patient and obedient, so he waited patiently for God to return and give him the power and permission to throw Lucifer out of His kingdom in Heaven. God knew what was happening while He was creating St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman, the mother and father of us all, but He gave freedom to all of His creatures as part of His plan to make all who chose to follow God, more perfect.
When God was finished creating human beings, who he named “Adam” (i.e. St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman). He made His presence known to the angels again and He spoke to them again. When all of the angels heard His voice they gathered quickly and stood at attention before the presence of the Lord, trembling. Even the boasting, proud and vain Lucifer stood at attention immediately at the call of the Lord, Our God. God put St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman in front of all of the angels and said, “Behold, My Image!” and “Bow!” All of the holy angels obeyed with the exception of Lucifer and the angels who had decided to serve themselves and worship Lucifer. Lucifer had lied and promised them freedom from God without telling them that that meant freedom from Goodness and Love and Light. Lucifer refused to bow before St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman. He thought that since he was made before them and made of spirit and not earth, he should never be asked to bow before these creatures that looked to be made of only mud or something less beautiful than he thought he was. He absolutely refused to obey God! He did not care that St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman was the Image of God. He wished to worship himself and what he thought was his own beauty. He chose to serve himself instead of God. Of course, he would not bow before the Image of God. St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman was the Image of God!
Now the loving and loyal Archangel St. Michael who was overjoyed to see the Image of God and who had bowed lovingly before God’s Image vowing to serve human beings, if it made God happy, finally had his chance that he had waited or so patiently. He asked God for permission and power to cast Lucifer from Heaven for all times. God gave Him that permission and the Archangel St. Michael was given the power of God to throw Lucifer and all of his gang of bad former angels who had become demons, out of Heaven. They were not angels anymore, but they did not yet know that they had lost the glory of God which is what gave them all of their beauty and protection. Because they chose to serve themselves and not listen to what God taught them to do, they lost the glory of God. Lucifer lost his name and became Satan, the Dark One. The glory of God is God’s Holy Spirit and its gifts of Love, Light, Truth and Goodness. Theses bad angels lost the Glory of God and became ugly twisted and mean demons. Their leader Lucifer became known as Satan and the Devil. God let him have his spiritual power and a place far away from God in that spiritual darkness that we talked about that is not a darkness that you can see. Satan, the Devil lives without God in that true blackness that comes from God being gone. God let him have a place where God keeps Himself away from most of the time. Anyone who decides that they do not want to be with God and that they do not want to live with God’s law can go there into Satan’s darkness, if they want to. This spiritual place is called Hell or Sheol. It is a spiritual place where there is no Truth, no Love, no Light, and no Never-ending Life. It is a place of pain and suffering and fear. It is there so that people can know what is God and what not-God is and so that all of God’s creatures can choose Him freely. Satan is a liar. Freedom from God and God’s laws is not freedom. To be without God means that you become the slave of evil and bad wants. It is a lie that without God’s law we are free. God’s laws are the way to freedom in Truth, Love, Never-Ending Life and Goodness.
When Satan and his demons saw that they had been thrown out of Heaven and lost the glory of God, they blamed St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman and not their own decision to serve themselves. Lucifer continued to fill their minds with lies. Satan did not tell what he did wrong to the other angels and to God (i.e. Confession/Nissa) and ask for forgiveness. He did not feel sorry. He was too proud and vain. Even after the Archangel St. Michael threw him out, because of his lies and bad behaviour, he was not sorry and he would not ask for forgiveness. No, he continued lying and he even promised that he would destroy St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman and all of their future children when he saw that they were living with God where he used to be (i.e. Heaven means to be with God to feel Him and see Him always, in a very special way). He felt that God had given St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman his place in Heaven and because of this; he fights all of the children of God until this day. He does not admit that it is his own fault, because he is always too proud and vain. The Archangel St. Michael and the Archangel St. Gabriel and all of the other angels protect us and fight for us the same way they bowed before our mother and father, St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman when they were first made. They are the beautiful and loving angels of God until this day. They still always do what God tells them to do. Satan and his demons are liars and thieves and sometimes they even pretend that they are still angels, but God and the good angels always protect God’s children, so you have nothing to fear as long as you choose God, because God is stronger than anything and He shares His power with His children. You are the children of God. You are filled with love.
Now, sometime after the Archangel St. Michael had thrown Satan, who became a demon out of Heaven, St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman continued to rule over all things. God had given them the special power over all things that He created and told them to discover and name all of the things that He had created, so St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman went around God’s creation happy, discovering things and naming them. There was only one tree that God told them not to eat from, because it would give them knowledge that would put them in danger and make them not live forever anymore. It would make them grow old and die. This tree had all of the knowledge of worldly things (i.e. the world that you can see, hear, smell and touch).
After a time, because of the power they had been given over everything, they started to become a little proud of themselves and a little vain. They started to feel that they must be special because they had dominion over all things. They looked at each other and at the Glory of God that covered them and found each other to be very beautiful and this also made them think a lot of themselves (i.e. it made them vain, because they forgot to thank God for all things always). That dark spirit of lies, Satan, felt the change in them and this opened a way for him into the part of the garden where the knowledge of worldly things was. They already had knowledge of God and ate the things of Heaven, they did not know what ‘not-God’ was – They did not know what it meant, if God were not there. God had made them vegetarian and their spirits were at a high level of knowing things of the Spirit and their bodies were pure and made to live forever, but as pride and vanity grew in them Satan saw his chance to get his “revenge”. He was determined to get them out of Heaven. He thought that Heaven was his place, because he wanted to be higher than God’s other creations and he was a thief. So, he possessed a snake and crept close to the tree which God had warned St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman not to eat.
Because Satan is an old, powerful and tricky spirit, he thought of a lying trick to use on St. Adam – Woman when she was alone in a part of the garden. He put a question in her mind to tempt her growing vanity and pride so that she would disobey God. He made the fruit which God had told her not eat seem more beautiful and desirable than it was and he asked her if it was really true that God had told her not to eat the fruit. After that he started making her question what God said (i.e. the Word of God), and then he told her a straight out lie to make her think that God did not love her and want the best for her. He lied that God did not want her to eat from the tree because He did not want her and St. Adam – Man to be like God. He made St. Adam – Woman question God’s love for her and St. Adam – Man. He made St. Adam – Woman believe that God did not make the law out of love for her, but for Himself! He told a very horrible lie about God and His love. Imagine that! What a big liar he was and still is. The truth was completely different (i.e. it was the opposite). God had made St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman to be like Him and had even shared His Divine Spirit with them! They were made in His Image to be His Image! However, Satan made St. Adam – Woman believe that it was her right to be like God – not God’s gift in His own time.
Sadly, St. Adam – Woman listened to the spirit of Satan that had possessed the serpent (i.e. big snake), because of the pride and vanity that was in her heart that made her think that she had the right to be like God. She ate of the forbidden fruit and then in pride and vanity she gave it to her husband telling him that he, too, should ignore God’s law and become like God and make his own decisions for himself. St. Adam – Man was filled with pride and vanity and believed that he had a right to God’s power too and so he ate from the fruit God told them not to eat too. When they ate from the fruit they lost the glory of God just like the fallen angels did and they realized that they were naked.
When they realized that they were naked, at first, instead of going and telling God what they had done wrong and asking for forgiveness, they tried to cover themselves with leaves. This was another bad thing on top of the first bad thing that they did (i.e. another sin). This was a very dangerous sin. God forgives us when we do bad things, but we have to be sorry and then make ourselves small in front of Him and tell him what we’ve done wrong so that we get forgiveness from Him. Then God called out to them for them to come close to Him even though they had sinned. Instead of going to God and asking forgiveness, again they tried to run even farther away from Him. This made God’s heart very sad, because He loved them and wanted them to be close to Him even though they had done something bad. All they had to do was to be sorry and ask forgiveness.
When God asked them what they had done, finally, because they started to feel sorry for what they did, they did one good thing. They told God the bad thing that they had done and they did not completely lie (they confessed their sin). However, St. Adam – Man blamed St. Adam – Woman and St. Adam – Woman blamed the serpent. God did not accept their excuse because He knew that it was the pride and vanity that had grown in them that had caused them not to listen to what He said and choose to follow the lies of Satan whose spirit was in the serpent instead. So, they were punished and had to leave Heaven and had to live on the Earth with the spiritual world farther away from them than it was before and their bodies changed was filled with the bad thing that they had done (i.e. sin). Because God had put the world under them to rule, the whole world got badness in it and disease and death came into their bodies and in the world. Never-Ending Life and all never-ending blessings come from being close to God and God’s law leads to them. Because St. Adam – Woman convinced St. Adam – Man to go against God’s law, God put St. Adam – Woman under St. Adam – Man in power and said that she would have discomfort having children and St. Adam – Man did not share a name with her anymore. With the new power given Him by God over her, he gave her another name. St. Eve, especially for her, because she would give birth to children as part of God’s plan for saving them from the death and bad things that their bad choice brought into the world. They would know about evil and pain, but God had a loving plan, because God is love and He is a saving God and St. Adam and St. Eve’s children would get to experience this most loving part of God most fully.
But because St. Adam and St. Eve were sorry for what they had done and told God the bad thing that they had done, God forgave them, but they had to learn why they should never do that again, so He left them to make their own mistakes for a time so that they could learn, but He made a special promise to both of them. He promised St. Eve that one of her daughters’ would have the great honour of giving birth to a child who would defeat Satan for all times.
That daughter of St. Eve who came thousands of years later is the Mother of God, St. Mary and The Son of St. Mary who defeated Satan for all times is Our Lord Eyesus Kristos or Jesus Christ. Through Eyesus Kristos/Jesus Christ and St. Mary and in them St. Adam and St. Eve are forgiven for all times and we are one with God again!
Lesson 3.0 THE MYSTERY OF NISSA (CONFESSION)
The priesthood of Ethiopia and of the world is descended from the priesthood of St. Adam, renewed through God’s chosen priests again represented in the priesthood of St. Melchizedek in preparation for its perfection in our High Priest Eyesus Kristos, the High Priest of the priesthood of St. Melchizedek – Tewahido. Even in the Old Covenant, priests were called upon to forgive sins showing the eternal nature of the Mystery of Confession as administered by the priesthood (i.e. those mysteriously called and chosen by the Holy Spirit and not of their own accord to be anointed to serve God and His people) (Leviticus 5:4-6;19:21-22).
Although the preparation for the mysteries were present in the offering of bread and wine of St. Melchizedek and the baptism for the forgiveness of sins seen in the Old Testament and with St. Yohannes, the Baptist, Kristos was the fulfillment and the perfection of the priesthood and all of the Mysteries (The Seven Mysteries). One of these mysteries is Confession or Nissa. Kristos, the incarnate God, gave His chosen priesthood (John20:22) the power to forgive sins and receive confession in His name (Matt 18:18: What you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven and what you unbind on earth shall be unbound in Heaven and again John 20:23). Therefore, the facilitation of the mystery of confession is the humility that arises through the confession before a living priest which He has left in His stead and also through the confession before those against whom we have sinned, followed by a humble request for forgiveness. I believe that everything that He did with the Hebrews was a perfection of all of the teachings for the whole world known only by a few of His chosen people in the world many of whom were in Ethiopia. So, even in the last days with the defilement of the Church and the apostasy of many of its priests that is prophesied in St. John’s Visions (Revelations), the holy priesthood will remain intact – It is eternal. There will always be priesthood by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because of the eternal Holy Spirit who intervenes on behalf of faithful and humble hearts, even sinful or faithless priests can administer the Mysteries as they are just as much instruments as the cross that they hold in their hands and are all holy objects made holy by the intercession of the Holy Spirit (additionally the priest has always in Him the breath of God).
Further, even in the case of a sinful priest through the faith of the believer and her humble desire (expression of humility) for forgiveness, the mystery of Confession is fulfilled. However, the Mystery of Confession is to be administered by a priest, unless there is no priest present. If the humble believer can find no human being who has received the covenant of the priesthood, then those who do not bear this covenant should more earnestly seek a priest to confess to. If they cannot find one, then the Holy Spirit will intervene. There is a special humility and blessing that comes through the act of confessing publicly (John20:23), publicly meaning before a living human being (Luke5:24) and not just in our hearts before God.
God will preserve His holy priesthood for His people, even after the abomination enters the Holy of Holies (i.e. the defilement of the institution of the Church) and even after many have fallen away to apostasy as prophesied in St. John’s Visions (Revelations). God’s holy priesthood will always be maintained on the earth.
As with all mysteries with Nissa/Confession there is a visible and an invisible reality. We see the priest and the person against whom we have sinned (i.e. the Image of God) from whom we ask forgiveness in humility and we receive forgiveness from God who we do not see.
As we discussed, when God first made human beings He made us perfect in every way. You were made to be good, to think good things and say good things and to do good things. You were made to be like God and to live forever in health and joy in your bodies. You were made good and beautiful. This is the meaning of the word ‘Adam’. Do you know what it means to be good? Well, we talked about what God is, remember? God is Light, Love, Truth, Eternal Life and everything that is good comes from Him. Well, being good means being loving and truthful and full of light and loving everything that is good. God’s law is good. Part of being good is following God’s law. Being good means being like God and that means for you to be filled with Love, Light and Truth. Because God Himself is all of those things, goodness means to listen to God and to do what He teaches you to do and what he tells you to do in your hearts. It also means to love other people and to be kind to all living things (Gen2:15). One of the first things that God told us to do is to take care of everything that He had made: the plants, the animals and of course, our fellow human beings (Gen 2:15). You must always remember that the most important part of our religion (i.e. what we believe and how we live) is LOVE. Loving God and loving other people is more important than any other law or rule of God. It is more important than any other thing that you do in your life. Now, God also made you free. You are free to make your own choices. You can choose not to not to listen to Him and not to do what He says, if you want to. Yes, you can choose not to live with Him. He gave all of the living things that He made and blessed with a mind, this choice.
Little ones, you must understand that since God is Truth, Love, Light, Never-Ending Life and everything that is good comes from Him, not to be with God means not to be with any of those things. Now imagine what that would be like? Imagine what it would be like to live without love, without truth and without light in our hearts and in our lives! This is what you choose when you decide not to listen to God and not to do what He tells you to do, because He is all of those things. This is what it means to live without God. God wants very, very much for you to be with Him, because He wants you to be happy. He tries to show you the Way in your hearts and through good people (e.g. good parents, good elders and good priests), but when you decide not to listen and do what He wants, you are choosing to live in darkness and lies and hatred and death and everything that is bad. If you choose that, then you will become very sad and fearful and lonely or even worse.
Ever since God made the first human beings, they sometimes made the mistake of not listening to God and not doing what He told us to do, because our freedom and all of our blessings led us to become proud and vain – That means that we began to think too much of ourselves. God made the whole world for us and He put us in charge over everything that He had made for us. The entire world was made ready to serve us and to make us happy – Even the holy angels, who He also made before us in preparation, were told to bow down before us and serve us, remember? This made us proud (i.e. It made us think too much of ourselves and made us think that we were just as good as God at doing things and making decisions!). This made us think that we could make our own decisions no matter what God said. We were so proud that we thought we should do want wanted. We started to think that God was there to serve us and not that we were there to serve our parent God and this made us think that we did not have to listen to our parent(s). So, we decided to do what God did not tell us to do and what He told us not to do. We began to follow our own minds and ignore God and this took us away from Him to what is not God and to what is not of Him. This led us into darkness and fear and lies and hatred and disease and death and everything that is bad.
Teachers’ Advisory: At this point discuss with the children the importance of respecting Christian parents, elders, priests and nuns as the representatives of God in their lives.
When the first human beings, St. Adam and St. Eve decided not to do what God told them to do, God was very sad. He is very sad when you do this. Everything that He tells you to do is to keep you from danger and to keep you safe in every way. He is very sad when you don’t listen to Him by following His laws (i.e. rules), because He knows that when you leave Him, you are going into darkness and lies and sadness and hatred and death and everything that is bad. So, He gave you a way to come back to Him whenever you think, say or do bad things that take you away from Him. This Way back to God when you do bad things begins with the Mystery of Repentance and Confession. God knows that you are not perfect all of the time, so He has given you a way to get back to him and His Light when you make a mistake.
The Repentance part is when you feel sorry for the bad thing that you have done. The Mystery of Confession is when you speak out the bad things that you have done in front of a human being chosen by God to represent Him (e.g. a priest and if there is no priest a fellow Christian).You are also supposed speak out the bad things that you have done to people that you have hurt. The bad things that you think, say and do against people are called sin(s). If you don’t follow the rules and laws of God, that is also a sin. When you make a mistake, you must be humble (i.e. make yourselves small and unimportant) and feel sorry and then speak out the sins that you have committed and ask the people that you have hurt and God to forgive you. Because pride and vanity (i.e. thinking too much of ourselves) is what made sin and evil, humility is the way that you receive forgiveness from God and also spiritual strength and power in your bodies from the Holy Spirit.
Teacher’s Advisory: Ask the children, if they understand what humility is and explain to them again that it is the act of making yourself small and unimportant in front of people because your heart is filled with love. Ask them what it means to feel sorry for a sin and what it means to confess a sin.
Forgiveness means that the hurt that the bad thing that you did made will not be remembered anymore by God or by the person that you hurt. Because of Confession God will give you strength from the Holy Spirit to help you not to do that bad thing again. Sometimes He gives you this power right away and sometimes it takes time.
So, the Mystery of Confession normally has three parts:
1) The first part is feeling sorry for the bad thing that you have done (I.e. this is called Repentance).
2) The second part is speaking out the bad things that you have done to other people who you have hurt, in front of them and telling them that you are sorry and asking them to forgive you for the pain and hurt that what you did made.
Even if the person does not forgive you, if you have felt sorry about it, made yourself small and unimportant (humbled yourself and shown humility) and asked forgiveness, then you will receive forgiveness through the Mystery of Confession from the Holy Spirit and that bad thing called sin will be washed away by the Holy Spirit.
3) The third part is speaking out the sin in front of a holy servant of God called a priest and asking that holy servant of God to pray with you to God for Him to forgive you and give you strength. Also remember that God said that wherever two people come together in His name, He will be the third person there. Always. So, confessing and praying with a priest is very powerful indeed.
4.0 The Mystery of Baptism
“Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. (John 3:3-8). Again, as with all of the Seven Mysteries there is a visible and finite object that is given its infinite part by the intercession of the Holy Spirit. In the teaching of St. John, he names both of them: The water is the visible and finite object and the Spirit is the infinite quality that it is given by the dynamic action of the Holy Spirit. In the Old Covenant the baptism for the forgiveness of sins that was practised all the way up to St. John was perfected by Kristos into the baptism into Eternal Life through the reunification of our bodies with our divine nature that was lost at the Fall (i.e. the prideful and vain choice of humankind to follow its own ideas and decisions ignoring the laws and guidance of God.) Through the love and mercy of Kristos, Our Incarnate God, we have received the Mystery of Baptism for re-birth into our true family (Matt 12:46-50) and nature.
Most of you will not remember when you were baptized, because you received this mystery when you were still babies. You were born a first time from your mothers’ bodies and that birth was for coming into your body family. All human beings come from the first two human beings that we mentioned when we were talking about Confession. Do you remember their names (St. Adam and St. Eve)? St. Adam and St. Eve were made to be perfect in every way. God prepared everything in the world for them and gave them dominion over all things. Even the holy angels were made to bow before them. St. Adam and St. Eve worshipped God and spoke to God hearing His voice clearly and lived with Him in Peace. They were the king and queen over all that God had made and even the angels served them, so they became proud and vain and thought that they could follow their own minds. Sadly, because St. Adam and St. Eve decided to follow their own minds and what they wanted to do, ignoring the law and advice of God, this bad idea grew in their bodies and in their minds and this brought lies and disease and death into their bodies and into their minds and into the world. This sin of pride and vanity is in our bodies until we are baptized into our new spiritual family through Eyesus Kristos, God the Son. That part of God that we talked about being very close to us.
Through the mystery of Baptism you are born again into your perfect and never-ending family made up of God, St. Mary, the angels and all human beings who believe that Christ is God. The Mystery of Baptism gives you a second birth into your never-ending and perfect nature in the never-ending world of the Spirit. By the Mystery of Baptism you can win over all bad things in your life and finally to into Heaven. Heaven means to live with God who is everything that is good, forever. You remember that God is Love and Light and Truth and Eternal Life and all that is good comes from Him.
When you are baptized, you can see the water that the priest prays over. Just like in every Qedasse/Holy Mass the priest and all of the people who are in the Church pray and call the Holy Spirit (Remember that part of God that is His thoughts?) into the Church to give the water another part in the never-ending world of the Spirit that is here with us in another way, so that it becomes Tsebel/Holy Water. When this Holy Water is poured over you, you receive a new body and a new name in Christ. The sin of St. Adam and St. Eve is washed away and you are completely born again new and clean in Eyesus Kristos / Jesus Christ!
5.0 The Mystery of Confirmation
Confirmation is a mysterious part of baptism that most of you also cannot remember because you were small children when it was done at Church. The priest put oil on you that had been blessed by the Holy Spirit. His blessed hands rubbed the blessed oil that also have a part from the never-ending world of the Spirit. When the priest does this you get gifts from the Holy Spirit that you cannot see, but these gifts give you power over darkness and evil. Once the priest does this you have a great power which grows in you the more you respect holy things and love God and people. No evil or bad thing can have power over you.
6.0 The Mystery of Marriage
Teachers’ Advisory: Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” The oneness of St. Adam and St. Eve before the Fall was perfect. St. Adam and St. Eve were like one person even sharing one name. There was St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman. There was no intercourse and it there was no need for them to multiply or give birth. They were perfect and immortal children of God. This was before the fall of humankind.
After St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman disobeyed God they fell away from his presence and perfection and became mortal (Gen 2:17). When St. Adam and St. Eve fell the whole world fell also because they had been given dominion over all things. The world also became corrupted and imperfect and sin came into the world. Because St. Eve also had dominion over creation, her choice to disobey God when she was under the temptation of Satan, had eternal consequences. Note that no human being can resist Satan except by the intercession of the Holy Spirit. God had a plan. One of St. Eve’s daughters would become God’s mother and facilitate the salvation of all that was lost – O St. Mary!
After the Fall St. Adam – Woman receives her name St. Eve from St. Adam because she will bear many children (Gen 3:20) and comes under the rule of St. Adam for her disobedience to God. Before the Fall when St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman were immortal and perfect there was no need for St. Adam – Woman (“St. Eve”) to bear children. After the Fall it becomes necessary for her to bear children so that St. Mary and Our Savior could be born to save us and all creation and so that God could show us that we are free and He is a loving and saving God – Our Savior.
So the mystery of marriage is a pathway to salvation. The fallen flesh of St. Adam and St. Eve is renewed in the mystery of marriage and they are given a mystery to reunite them in God’s perfection unto their eternal salvation. The mystery of marriage not only reunites man and woman in their intended perfection of unity in the presence of God, it also creates a haven to bless the offspring of the fallen flesh and fallen world into which they must come. (1 Cor 7:14)
Christ comes and renews and perfects the mystery of marriage when He visits the Wedding at Cana. Thereafter, St. Paul reassures us: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it … so husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.” Eph 5:25,28-29
So, St. Paul says that a husband should love his wife and Christ loved the Church. This is amazing. Christ’s love for the Church is one of complete self- sacrifice. Christ gave His life for the Church. We are told that this is how a husband should love his wife. Certainly, it is no difficulty for a wife to obey a husband who loves her with such complete self-sacrifice.
In order bless you and your family by the Holy Spirit your parents received the mystery of marriage. The mystery of marriage also has a part that you can see and a part that you cannot see. You can see the bodies of the man and woman and the church in which the man and the woman say words of promise. You can also see the special clothes and rings that they put on and the crowns on their heads. You can also see the bread and wine that become Qurban, but there is also an unseen part.
This unseen part is the working of the Holy Spirit on the body, mind and soul that unites the man and the woman through the mysterious power of Qurban or Holy Communion working to bind their salvation and secure it. Another unseen part is the presence of the Trinity, the angels and the saints who all attend the wedding and pray for the blessing of the union. The angels bow before the couple that marries in the Church with Qurban (i.e. Holy Communion) in faith, just like they bowed before St. Adam – Man and St. Adam – Woman when they were first presented in their perfection.
Although the Covenant of Marriage is given to provide for the birth of children in the spiritual safety of the Lord. God has recognized that we are living in a fallen state in a fallen world and has made many loving provisions for our struggle. It is repeated many times in the Bible that God has made a special covenant with the fatherless and those without husbands (i.e. the fatherless and the widows), if they will choose Him. So single mothers and children born out of wedlock have a home in the Church. It is comforting for the sake of single mothers to think that after the death of St. Joseph who was an old man, St. Mary who did not remarry, was a single mother. It is also said that Christ had a father and no mother on the infinite plane and a mother and no father on the finite plane. Let us remember His mercy always.