Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Lenten letter from the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

Expand Messages
  • Ami Isseroff
    Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem Letter for Lent 2001 Brothers and Sisters, 1. The peace of Christ be with you. . . . 2. Over the past few days I have visited
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1 12:18 PM
    • 0 Attachment
      Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

      Letter for Lent 2001

      Brothers and Sisters,

      1. The peace of Christ be with you. . . .

      2. Over the past few days I have visited some parishes in Palestine and I
      listened to the faithful. I also listened to the civil authorities. Their
      language is that of all the parishes, their concerns are the concerns of
      all of you. The first concern, which comprises all the others, is the
      difficult political situation these days: the closed roads, the blockade
      imposed on the towns and villages, the lack of work, the continual Israeli
      bombardment, the destruction of houses, and in addition, the difficulties
      within Palestinian society, and finally, the idea of emigration.
      Nonetheless, I saw, despite the trials, the anxieties and the idea of
      emigration, the basic will to stand firm and to patiently wait until our
      liberty is returned to us and until the image of God in us and also in
      those who oppress us is manifested.

      3. Concerning emigration, we add our voice to the voice of all those who
      are patient, and we say to you: Brothers and sisters, do not leave your
      land. Be patient. It is here that God wants you, as believers in Him and
      witnesses of Jesus Christ in His land. Stand firm around the Holy Places.
      In this land, you are a part of the mystery of God in it. Try to reflect on
      this so that you might be able to see God and neighbour and understand the
      meaning of our presence here. You have been called to a difficult life: do
      you have the courage to accept the difficult life to which God is calling
      you? Some say: "The future is not clear". The future depends on what you do
      today and on what you fear to do. Why leave to others the making of your
      future? This is a time when the believers say, with the freedom of children
      of God, what they want to express and thus contribute effectively towards
      the construction of their future, founded on the solid bases of peace,
      justice and love.

      4. Furthermore, know that our help comes from one another and from our
      love for each other. If someone is in need, let them search out those in
      greater need than they are. Let them then bring the necessary help from the
      little or the lot that they possess. To all those who are hungry, we say
      that we want to share your hunger and share our bread with you. We invite
      the faithful in all our parishes and the religious to share their bread
      with those who are in need, either by inviting them to their tables or by
      covering the costs of daily food through contributions to Caritas or to
      some other philanthropic organisation. We are living through a war which
      has been imposed on us. We must adapt ourselves and our way of living to
      privations and to generosity with regard to all our brothers and sisters in

      5. As regards the houses which continually undergo the Israeli bombardments,
      we say to the Israelis: Destroy our churches but spare the homes of our
      faithful. If you must impose, at any price, collective punishment and if
      there needs be a ransom in order to procure the tranquillity of innocent
      children and families, we offer our churches: Destroy them; we will find
      other places in which to pray and we will continue to pray for ourselves
      and for you. And to the Palestinian militants who think that it is
      necessary to direct their fire against the Israelis from populated houses,
      even when the orders are clear: Do not transform peaceful homes into a
      line of fire - to them too we say: Obey the orders, preserve the cohesion
      of Palestinian society, and spare the homes of the innocent. We agree to
      offer our churches as ransom for any house that they want to demolish.
      However, we cannot agree to the demolition of the homes of our children so
      that they be forced to abandon their land.

      6. During these days, we pray and we walk the way of repentance in order to
      go to meet God. We say to every Palestinian and to every Israeli who loves
      peace and asks for security: Try to see God with us. To the Israelis we
      say: In the sight of God, try to see that the Christian or Muslim
      Palestinian is not the image that you have decided to see: they are neither
      terrorists nor people who want to hate and kill. Try to see that your
      occupation of their land since 1967, the privation of their liberty, and,
      today, the blockade of the towns and villages with all the suffering that
      results, leads to that which you call terrorism. In fact, this is the cry
      of the poor and the oppressed who are demanding their liberty and their
      dignity. Remember this and be just today. That which you call security
      measures is simply an invitation to more violence. Give back the land to
      its owners, give them back their liberty, listen to the voice of the
      oppressed and the poor for it is lifted up to God and God will listen one
      day and answer this cry.

      7. To all those who suffer among our children, we say: Be patient. We
      remind you of the difficult commandment, love your enemies. "Love your
      enemies and pray for your persecutors, in order to become children of your
      Father who is in heaven, for He makes the sun rise on the evil and on the
      good and makes rain fall on the just and the unjust" (Mt 5:44-45). Love is
      not a weakness nor an escape. It is the vision of the face of God in every
      person, both Palestinian and Israeli. The Israeli who withholds our
      liberty remains a carrier of the image of God. With this vision I purify
      my heart of all anger and I ask the Israeli, with the force of the spirit
      and the truth, to put an end to the oppression, to end the occupation of
      the land and the privation of liberty.

      We ask for justice and peace because God is justice and peace. For this we
      pray and we fast during these days in order to purify ourselves of our sins
      and in order to co-operate with God in the construction of our new history.
      Here, in our land, God was revealed and He manifested His love for all
      humanity. Let us ask God to introduce us into the depths of His mystery so
      that we might see Him and love Him: thus we will be able, all of us
      together, to see Him in all of His creatures and to love Him in all of His
      children, in justice, equity and mercy.

      I ask God to give you the force of the spirit and of love so that you will
      all be ready to welcome the glory of the Resurrection. Amen.

      + Michel Sabbah, Patriarch

      New Members are welcome!

      MidEastWebDialog is an initiative of MidEastWeb
      Please respect others and observe copyright rules.

      Send messages to mideastwebdialog@yahoogroups.com

      Hold mail: mideastwebdialog-nomail@yahoogroups.com
      Archives: http://groups.yahoo.com/messages/mideastwebdialog
      Moderator: mideastwebdialog-owner@yahoogroups.com
      Guidelines and FAQ http://www.mideastweb.org/mewdialoglist.htm

      Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.