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“I will have mercy and not sacrifice!” (Hosea 6, 6; Matthew 9.13)
With these words, the Bishop of Rome, Francis, began his discourse on the occasion of Lent 2016, saying: “In the bull of indiction of the Jubilee, I gave out this invitation so that Lent in this Jubilee year might be lived more internally as a strong moment to celebrate and experience the mercy of God.” (Misericordiae Vultus, 17). He went on to add that “the mercy of God is in fact an announcement to the world: but every Christian is called upon to make experience of this mercy in the first person.”
Letter to the Friends of Deir Mar Musa Christmas 2013
Every time I try to write these lines to you, our dear friends, I am confused, because the words betray me and do not help me to convey the bitterness that is in my heart: The confusion that occupies my mind because of the pain and sadness for what we experience in our dear country, Syria. The love of homeland in me is strong and deep, which opens a wound in my heart and I find no remedy for this other than prayer, as many Syrian do these days.
In our readings we see the pictures of three communities or kinds of believers.
The first one has lost its trust in the transforming power of the Spirit of witness. The nobles of Judea flee to Egypt, which in turn will not be able to defend itself against the coming invasion of the Chaldeans. Many times the Prophet Isaiah was asking his people to stay but they would not listen. But if men do not listen to the voice of the Spirit, the prophecy, it means that they are refusing their vocation; and refusal of vocation is nothing else than disbelief.
Today, as we encounter often in the readings, there appears the question: "Who is believer?" Few of us come to a deep experience of faith other than through a profound depression. Often it seems that men are only capable to open themselves to the Lord through hopelessness and vulnerability of a complete disaster. If we remember how important it is to hear the voice of God in the Bible, we might grasp how desperate must be the situation of the deaf in the reading of the old Testament.
Mariyam al-Aadhra Church, Sulaymaniya-Iraq, 29 May 2012
Last Friday and Saturday, I watched with complete bewilderment the news. I asked myself sincerely if this is the same country that I have known for nineteen years and in which I lived ten years. Was it really the same country I left some months ago for my new mission here in Kurdish Iraq.
I have known Syria as a country with friendly people who love to drink tea or maté with each other, the land of profoundly religious persons who deeply respect the religion of their neighbors.
We greet all of you and thank you for your solidarity. We called today Father Paolo who is at the moment in the town of Qsayr and has confirmed to us that he is staying well.
We tell you this because in Syria there is ciculating an sms message that a monk was injured the town of Qsayr. We hope that it is just a hoax and if it should be true we wish the to us unknown hurt monk, as all injured of Syria, a swift recovery and a total restoration of health.
Translation from Arabic
Easter comes after a year of untold suffering, unpredictable and unimaginable for most of us. Unfortunately, what we wrote on the same occasion a year ago still applies to the current situation of our unhappy country. At that time, we had expressed our solidarity with the victims of the conflict and our participation in the expectation of those who were hoping for a deep reform of Syria without falling into the logic of violence, and fearing the explosion of civil war and loss of national unity. Misfortune has reached us and we fear the worst.
Events of Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at Deir Mar Musa el-Habashi
Wednesday evening at 6 pm, the following happened: