“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God”

Rabweh 20 September 2012

The day after the Holy Father’s visit to Lebanon, which was a constantly reiterated call for peace – “‘My peace I give unto you’” was Benedict XVI’s constant theme – His Beatitude Gregorios III, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem tenaciously pursued his efforts and appeals for a cessation of hostilities in Syria, so opening the path to reconciliation.

Following his 27 August letter For Syria, reconciliation is the only lifeline, addressed to the Pope, cardinals, episcopal conferences, rulers and heads of state and all persons of good will, on Thursday 20 September Gregorios III received representatives of Austria, Belgium, Czechia, France, Germany, Greece and Poland, as well as a representative of Canada, in the patriarchal residence of Rabweh (Lebanon). The conversation and discussions focused on assessing the situation on the ground and means of clearing the path to reconciliation “… that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.” (John 11: 52).

The Patriarch recalled the very terms of his For Syria, reconciliation is the only lifeline, saying: “We believe the role of the Church in Syria to be the sacred ministry of working for reconciliation.  ‘Blessed are the peacemakers!’ We believe that this ministry will be the warranty for Christians facing the gloomy future that dawns over Syria … because the Church’s role is to be the herald and architect of reconciliation at every level.”

Gregorios III went on to thank the President of the Lebanese Republic, General Michel Sleiman for all his efforts to ensure the genuine success of the Holy Father’s visit in both a spiritual and material sense. The Melkite Patriarch finally expressed a wish for all relevant texts, speeches and sermons that represent a genuine, historic pact for civilizational and interfaith dialogue, to be gathered into a single document and circulated in Arab countries via embassies and delegations.


Teachings of Christ

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 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

"Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you." (Proverbs 3:28 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

We ought to learn the virtues through practicing them, not merely through talking about them, so that by acquiring the habit of them we do not forget what is of benefit to us. 'The kingdom of God', St. Paul says, 'resides not in words but in power' (I Cor. 4:20). For he who tries to discover things through actual practice will come to understand what gain or loss lies in any activity that he pursues..."

St. Peter of Damaskos (Book 1:A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, The Philokalia Vol. 3 pg. 183)