KOENIGSTEIN, Germany, FEB. 28, 2007 (Zenit.org).-Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad, Pakistan, and two Muslim scholars have been receiving death threats for their efforts to establish interreligious dialogue.

A Muslim extremist group claimed responsibility for threatening letters and phone calls which branded the three men as infidels, AsiaNews reported.

In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Coutts said he would not let himself be intimidated and that he would persist "with interreligious activities, in favor of social harmony and religious peace in the country."

The bishop added: "We have experienced the violence of certain extremist Muslim groups, a violence that in former times did not exist. This is for us a new phenomenon, which does not spring from the population in general, but from the promotion of this way of thinking within extremist groups."

Catholics account for 1.5 million of Pakistan's 165 million inhabitants.

Recent years have seen the development of positive relations between Christians and Muslims in Faisalabad, the third largest city of Pakistan, AsiaNews reported.
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Teachings of Christ

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)

Encounter

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

Random Proverb

"Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live." (Proverbs 4:4 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Let not us who would be Christians expect anything else than to be crucified....for to be Christian is to be crucified in this time and in any time since Christ came for the first time. His life is the example and warning to us all. We must be crucified personally,mystically; for trough crucifixion is the only path to resurrection, if we would rise with Christ, we must be humbled with him even to the ultimate humiliation, being devoured and spit forth by the uncomprehending world.... We must be crucified outwardly in the eyes of the world, for Christ's kingdom is not of this world and world cannot bear it, even a single representative, even for the single moment.

Fr Seraphim Rose