CWN - Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Rai expressed concern about “deficiencies in the pastoral and spiritual formation of priests,” in his address to the Synod of Maronite bishops last week.

The Lebanese prelate saw “a significant drop in the level of scientific and theological competence” among his priests, and consequently a “slacking off in the theological, dogmatic, and moral teaching” of the Maronite community. He observed that too many priests are offering opinions—sometimes online, without proper authorization—that do not correspond to Church teachings, and are consequently “scandalizing the faithful.”

The Maronite Patriarch also voiced his concern about the incidence of marital breakdown. “Our courts are allowing annulments for psychological reasons all too easily,” he said. Rather than accepting the collapse of marriages, he said, the Church should seek out new ways to defend marital unions through “intensive pastoral care, and the creation of centers for marriage preparation and centers for counseling and reconciliation.”

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Teachings of Christ

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10 ESV)

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (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.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom." (Proverbs 11:2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Do not be surprised that you fall every day; do not give up, but stand your ground courageously. And assuredly, the angel who guards you will honor your patience.

St. John of the Ladder