All the Single Ladies!
How young people can learn leadership from Tamav Erene.
ime and again, I hear the complaint from Coptic youth that the Church has lost its awe; there are no longer miracles to inspire wonder and fear in the congregation, the dead do not rise, we cannot suddenly begin to speak in tongues through holy inspiration, etc. There aren’t even volumes of saints being canonized as there were during the first few centuries of Christianity. To an extent, this is all correct. The times have indeed changed, but God is unchanging throughout all of time. He continues to honor His saints, even those elect few who have had unwavering love for Him during our modern times. Pope Kyrillos, Pope Shenouda, Abouna Pishoy Kamel, and others are a few examples of those who have maintained such a high spiritual life in times of “spiritual dryness,” and have surely reaped their rewards for it. This blog is to honor one such saint, Tamav Erene.
In my opinion, Tamav Erene ought to be the ideal role model for any young Christian lady (and man!). By watching her sermons and reading her biography, I have come to adore this saintly nun. The one aspect I found particularly inspiring was her gift of leadership.
Tamav Erene was ordained Mother Superior of the Convent of Abu Seifen (St. Philopateer Mercurius) despite the fact that she was the youngest nun of convent. In a way, her calling to be the Mother Superior is similar to Jeremiah’s calling to become a prophet of God. Jeremiah pleaded with God because of his young age, and God told him “Do not say, ‘I am a youth’” (Jer 1:7). Likewise, Tamav Erene begged and pleaded to have the responsibility taken away from her because of young age, but God had this preordained for the beloved mother.
God has a calling for all of us. Being a leader means taking initiative to respond to this calling through the guidance of a father of confession. Because, as we all know, the vast majority of this world has lost touch with its Creator. Doing the same would make us all followers of the world, and not a follower of Christ, who has made us “priests and kings,” and thus, leaders (Revelation 1:6).
Moreover, as the Mother Superior of the convent, Tamav Erene showed great love and kindness to the other nuns. When she wanted to implement the Pachomian Koinoinia in the Convent, she was faced with resistance from the older nuns, who were used to practicing their own lifestyle. Instead of rebuking them for disobedience, Tamav kindly left them to continue in their ways. She took into account her young age in this decision. Instead of venting her problems to other people, she would pray incessantly to God to grant the wayward nuns a right heart. Sure enough, because of Tamav’s love and gentle attitude, she won all the nuns over, and changed the entire system of the convent to follow one unified rule. The other convents of Egypt would later copy Tamav’s example.
True leadership is not evident in a loud voice or a bossy attitude. It is in having love for all people and doing your best to bring out the best in them. And if someone wrongs you, pray. This is difficult for me to follow, personally, but let’s all make it a practice in our spiritual struggle!
To be continued.