CWNews.com - The Synod of Bishops for the Middle East is nearing its conclusion, with votes scheduled tomorrow—Saturday, October 23—on the final propositions to be presented to Pope Benedict XVI.

The Synod’s delegated leaders—the relator general and the reporters for each of the smaller discussion groups—met on Friday morning, October 22, to go over amendments that were suggested from the floor when the propositions were introduced at a plenary session. With the amendments incorporated, the final list of propositions will be submitted to a vote on Saturday.

The Synod’s propositions are submitted to the Pope, for use in the apostolic exhortation with which he will conclude the work of the Synod. Traditionally these propositions are not made public, since they are intended for the Pope’s consideration. In the past, however, Pope Benedict has authorized their publication.

The list of 41 propositions presented to the Synod on October 21 emphasized the critical importance of maintaining an active and apostolic Christian presence in the region. Toward that end the propositions call for stronger cooperation among the Eastern Catholic churches in the Middle East and a renewed dedication to ecumenical work with the other Christian bodies in the region. The propositions also deal in detail with questions involving inter-religious dialogue with Jews and Muslims, and the defense of religious liberty in lands where Christians are a minority.

Meeting later today, the Synod fathers are expected to approve a brief message from the assembly, which will be made public.

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Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6 ESV)

Theophany

At Your baptism 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 truth 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)

Christ is Born!

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (Troparion, Tone 4)

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

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." (Proverbs 11:24 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

If God is slow in answering your request, and you ask but do not promptly receive anything, do not be upset, for you are not wiser than God. When you remain as you were before, without anything happening, it is either because your behaviour is not worthy of your request, or because the paths in which your heart was travelling were far removed from the aim of your prayer, or because your interior condition is far too childish, when compared with the magnitude of the thing for which you have asked.

St. Isaac of Nineveh [Syria], The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life.