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

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 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)

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

“We firmly believe that the Church will never fall, will never waiver and will not be destroyed. For this is what Christ taught, by Whom the heavens were established and the earth was founded, and stands firmly as the Holy Spirit says”. (Ps. 32:6) The Antichrist will lure to himself “those who have a weak and feeble mind, will seduce and will tear them away from the living God.”

St. John of Damascus, Oration on the Transfiguration of the Lord