CWN - The Christian refugees who have fled from violence in Syria and Iraq are not likely to return under current conditions, according to the apostolic administrator of the Jerusalem patriarchate.

“No one knows what the future holds,” said Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa. “They left and it is unlikely they will return.”

“The situation is tragic” in Syria, the Franciscan prelate said. “It is a country that has ceased to exist; it is destroyed.”

The apostolic administrator—who previously headed the Franciscan custody of the Holy Land, said that the radicalization of Muslim youth has caused enormous problems for the region. He said that the conflict sweeping the Middle East should be understood primarily as a “war between Muslims,” but Christians are experiencing the brutal consequences. The problem is also spreading, he reported; the radical Islamic ideologies are now reaching into Jordan as well as Syria and Iraq.

Regarding the prospects for a peace agreement that might curb the tensions between Israel and Palestine, Archbishop Pizzabella answered simply: “I have to be honest; there’s nothing at the moment.”

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Teachings of Christ

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." (John 3:16-18 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself." (Proverbs 6:32 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

For to despise the present age, not to love transitory things, unreservedly to stretch out the mind in humility to God and our neighbor, to preserve patience against offered insults and, with patience guarded, to repel the pain of malice from the heart, to give one's property to the poor, not to covet that of others, to esteem the friend in God, on God's account to love even those who are hostile, to mourn at the affliction of a neighbor, not to exult in the death of one who is an enemy, this is the new creature whom the Master of the nations seeks with watchful eye amid the other disciples, saying: "If, then, any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away. Behold all things are made new" (2Cor. 5:17).

The Homilies of St. Gregory the Great On the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel