Author Archives: Lazarus

About Lazarus

A Physician. Born into God's Kingdom at Dier alMukhalis in Southern Lebanon.

Institutional and Private Mercy (Part 3)

The last two posts on Divine Mercy have as a central theme the Institution of Mercy. Mercy sanctifies the soul and protects from hell but this a physical and institutional Mercy, not just a private confession of sins like what the Bible-only proponents preach. It is both. A Church that includes the gamut of relationships we can have with God, secret, private, communal, AND public, cannot be beyond the reach of an Omnipotent God. The sins are forgiven privately in the Sacrament of course but with more protection than just a private plea for mercy. To omit the institutional component of Holy Repentance leaves us more susceptible to worldly institutions.  When Jesus forgave the paralytic, the world attacked Him for saying he was forgiven.  So Jesus gave them a physical sign. He healed the paralytic which silenced His critics.

In case you have not noticed, the powers of this world live off the attacks and defamation of character of people. Take a politician running for office as an example. A political career can be completely destroyed by media defamation. Never mind that the attacks are always selective and for political purposes. No one of us is innocent. A Sacramental  confession affords us additional public  protection while protecting our privacy.  Jesus offered His physical Nature for this: Body and Blood. If a Sacramental confessional will not save a political career it will a least manifest in some other physical way.  As a witness to God’s Glory. Thy Kingdom Come. And phony institutions slowly go away.

Paralleling the private and Institutional component of Divine Mercy is the Church’s endorsement of private and Institutional prayers for Mercy. We privately pray to God in His Mercy. We also have prayers offered to us by the Church, said with the communion of faithful (physically present or not) to give our conversion a public dimension. An example is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy from the Roman rite and the Trisagion Prayers from the Orthodox tradition. Both have the following words in common, a witness to the work of the Holy Spirit:

Holy God! Holy Mighty One! Holy Immortal One! Have Mercy on us (and on the whole world). (said three times).

The Institution and Mystery of Holy Repentance (part 2)

In the last post, the link is made between the the Sacrament of Holy Repentance and the re-institution of the Kingdom of God on earth. Mercy sanctifies the soul and protects from hell but Mercy is also the institutional foundation of the Church. Mathew 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. Peter’s sin was at the very least denial of the kingdom during the trial of the our Lord by earthly authorities. The crucifixion and resurrection is all about the rebuilding of the temple in three days as prophesied by Jesus in John 2:13-25.  When Peter realized his sin, he repented with a spirit of contrition and remorse. Later, after the resurrection, Jesus asks him to respond to His question “Do you love Me?” three times (John 21). Notice that this approach parallels the repetitive nature of the prescribed penance by the priest in the Sacrament , a practice often ridiculed by those inside and outside the Church. The prescribed penance is not a punishment for the sin, but a medicine to heal the soul.

Between the resurrection and the ascension, Jesus appeared to His disciples primarily on the first day of the week (Sunday, See Matthew 28:1). After the ascension, Jesus appears through Sacrament, also primarily on the first day of the week meetings (Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2) which is Sunday Liturgy. This was enacted during and after the multiplication of the loaves, when after the blessing, Jesus asks the apostles to distribute the bread (Matthew 14:13-18). He visits the assembly, then appears like a “Ghost” to the apostles (Mathew 14:25). This enacts the appearance of Christ Himself to the people (His physical Presence in the meal) and the power of Holy Ghost to the apostles. Similarly, the power to forgive sins is given to His apostles (John 20:22). So since the ascension, the instrument of confession is primarily the priest. Just as David received mercy through the prophet Nathan.

This “engine” that defines the Church cannot operate by denying or changing the definitions of sin. There are shepherds in the Church who believe that ignoring and denying sin is the way to  proclaim God’s Mercy. This is like proposing a new solution for disease by denying treatment and amounts to exactly the diminution of the Church and the amplification of evil.

Hence we have some background behind the messages from Fatima, the practices of Lent, and the general benefits of frequent visits to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  The Institution of God is established. Thy Kingdom Come. Counterfeit institutions slowly go away.

“Enter into the Church and wash away your sins. For this is a hospital for sinners and not a court  of law”

Saint John Chrysostom

How to Help Korea (updated) or Institutional Divine Mercy Part 1

Saint John Paul II consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of the Theotokos decades ago, as instructed by Our Lady of Fatima. The consecration included the Orthodox Bishops. As instructed. The Soviet Union turned away from communism, ending the cold war. So what gives in the revival of the threat of nuclear war between the tiny North Korea and the former leader of the free world?

The warnings of Fatima included the spread of atheism through out the whole world. With the historical rise of communism, this occurred. These errors, like demons, found a home  throughout the whole world. They established themselves in people and in institutions. They are around us and in us.

The defeat of communism had the moral side of history, but also made many institutions and governments very wealthy. So established, entities and institutions can solidify these errors through payment schemes, where money is circulated in a closed loop, effectively living in the past, in a perpetual sense of entitlement. They live off the revival of conflict, effectively blocking out Mercy.

To combat this, the second message of Fatima is that of personal conversion to sanctity. To paraphrase the Theotokos message, one could say it is the likes of Francisco and Jacinta Marto that will guide history in their conversion. Or one could say that the evil powers of this world, including the main stream media, have your personal sin as their greatest asset.

This can be defeated with the sacrament of Holy Repentence. While many in the Church pay little respect to her teachings and sacraments, and many outside the Church believe God is so impotent as to be incapable of creating a formal Church, believing in personal religion or Bible-only philosophies instead, the fact remains that Jesus Christ established an institution. This institution is immune even to the personal errors of her administrators. Confession establishes the Kingdom of God on earth, begun with the first confession after the crucifixion, namely that of Peter. The sacraments recognize the institution God created as well as sanctifing us, making God’s kingdom manifest. Thy Kingdom Come. This sacrament also imports an immunity into the recipient. Mercy sanctifies the soul and protects from hell, freeing captive souls. But Sacramental Mercy has also has an enormous ripple effect in time and in culture.

Maybe God has already decided nuclear war will never happen again because of the prayers of these souls:

link1 or

link2 or

link3 or

link4

now in Heaven. Or maybe we can help by praying with them or in their eternal memory, in our conversion.

The No Homily Liturgy

 

Ever been to a liturgy where the priest skipped the homily due to time constraints or other unknown reason. No worries I say. Some homilies are bad anyway. Here is the Psalm passage I think about whenever this happens:

Psalm 19. The heavens declare the glory of God, the vault of heaven proclaims His handiwork,

2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands on the knowledge.

3 No utterance at all, no speech, not a sound to be heard,

4 but from the entire earth the design stands out, this message reaches the whole world. High above, he pitched a tent for the sun,

5 who comes forth from his pavilion like a bridegroom, delights like a champion in the course to be run.

6 Rising on the one horizon He runs his circuit to the other, and nothing can escape his heat.

 

No worries. In Christ.

a

 

The Divine and Preservation of Identity

We have an innate tendency to want to trust and give ourselves to an entity, a person, a group, or idea. Many of us know the feeling, after having submerged ourselves to another or another thing, of being used or forgotten, let down or taken advantage of. Our sense of identify is lost in these predicaments. Our sense of freedom diminishes. This is what cults do to people, the mainstream media also, political parties and the like. Personal relationships can do that. Jobs also. It behooves to be cautious. To hold back. Be prudent.

But the innate lives on in us. Who can we ever give ourselves to in abandon where we we would feel and know we are finally “home”, a part of a whole without losing our sense of identity?  God, the creator of our identity, can do that. It is a miraculous “mark” of God that He makes you part of Him while actually gaining your sense of identity.  Isn’t this the mark of true love? Where the lover gives him or herself over to the other without self-consideration only to find themselves the better for it?

 

4

 

The Evangelization of Celibacy

We are created in the image of God  with sexual identity. What does this mean? This has infinite meaning in God’s plan for us but for the sake of this discussion let us talk about the meaning of celibacy in the realm of evangelization. So ordered with sexual identity, we are endowed with the ability to procreate through marriage. This is part of the Creative Nature of God manifest in His image, His creatures. It is part of His identifying mark on us. This identity cannot leave us. It is part of us.

Obvious in marriage and obviously compromised in sexual activity out of marriage, what then happens to this identity in a celibate person. The identity remains obviously, but does it become dormant? A review of the incessant temptations of the celibate person can easily remind us that it is still present and wanting. The celibate person however gives over his sexuality to God and so consecrated, it has the potential to become even more procreative than we can imagine. When a priest , religious, or even nonreligious does this, he or she in fact enacts the dual nature God bestows on us in the sacraments, divine and human, in a procreative capacity.

Note the proliferation of homosexuality “advocates” in the church is a sinister imitation of  this plan that undermines the Church. The devil always presents a fraud. A Roman Catholic priest with homosexual inclination has to be celibate as one with heterosexual attraction. But who is sacrificing the more for God? The one who is giving up illicit sexuality or the one who is giving up illicit sexuality and progeny? In recent times there has been the proposal of the theory that the apostle Paul’s thorn in the flesh (Corinthians 2: 12:7-10) was homosexual inclination. As if heterosexual priests, who would outnumber homosexual priests by magnitudes, are never tempted. A funny proposal.  A faithful priest generates a much larger family than he could ever physically, in his parish or other and the one giving up progeny much more so. Similarly with a consecrated religious female. Or consecrated nonreligious. God’s Nature does not sleep.

Mark 1029 “Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel 30who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. ”

This is why the Roman Catholic has proliferated so much more than the Eastern Rite, the latter not requiring celibacy except for bishops.  A matter of historical record. It is why the Eastern Rite churches are often tempted to nationalistic identities. It is how the Church can stay united across national borders, which are the extended physical families of man. It is a Trinitarian Unity. It is in fact the only “familial” unity that can exist across borders, despite what the proponents of borderless humanity preach.

In God’s grace the eastern churches, the other lung of the Church, those with married priests, serve as a a reminder for us against globalization that is the fraudulent version of the Universal Church. A reminder of the fractal organization of family, community, and country.

 

3

 

Mary the Victorious

 

No matter how you view the refugee crisis in Europe, a deliberate Trojan horse set up by financiers, or a sincere Moslem resettlement for a better life, or something in between, there are solutions. For protection or for conversion (or both).

Consider this image

 

Dom

 

You can read more about it from the scan of the Church of Mary the Victorious in Vienna brochure:

MTV1, MTV2

Have a Blessed Easter!

 

 

2004 pictures from the Holy Land

Mount Nebo
Mount Carmel
Nazareth
Ein Kerem (Visitation)
Shepherd’s Field
Bethlehem
Low Plains
Canna
Capernaum
Mount of Beatitudes
Mount Tabor, Mountain of the Transfiguration
Tabgha
Pater Noster
Church of Lazarus
Entry into Jerusalem
Upper Room
Gethsemane
St. Peter in Gallicantu (Denial)
Via Dolorosa
Ascension
Dormition and Assumption of Mary
Holy Saviour and other sites in Jerusalem
Jaffa
Petra

Images may be dowloaded freely; higher resolution images available free of charge. All Bible references are from Douay-Rheims Bible

 

Archbishop Elias Zoghby’s Vision of Christian Unity


by Father James K. Graham

Reprinted with permission from the Winter 2008 edition of Sophia, the magazine for the Melkite Eparchy of Newton.

The works of recently-reposed Archbishop Elias Zoghby, former Patriarchal Vicar in Egypt and Sudan, and retired Metropolitan of Baalbek, especially the essays collected in A Voice from the Byzantine East [1] and the monograph Tous Schismatiques [2], provide a vision of Melkite ecclesiology solidly based in the Eastern Tradition, representative of the thinking of the Melkite Fathers of Vatican II, and consistent with contemporary Orthodox ecclesiological thought.

Archbishop Elias bases his ecclesiology in the first millennium of undivided, but diverse, Christianity. During that period, he says, the Churches founded by the Apostles grew and evangelized the known world, developing liturgically, theologically, and ecclesiologically according to the particular needs of each geographical location and also according to their unique historical-cultural-political situations. A basic agreement on the essential content of the Christian faith, derived from the Scriptures and the teaching of Jesus and the disciples and their successors, and articulated for the universal Church at the seven Ecumenical Councils, united all Christians, despite their wide geographic dispersal and their many divergent local practices.

The Great Schism of 1054 between Rome and Constantinople came as the culmination of intensifying conflict between the two Churches, two cultures, and two political systems. The Councils of Lyons (1274) and of Florence (1439) aimed at reuniting the separated Churches, and despite the increasingly institutionalized condition of schism, both councils bear witness to a consciousness of some kind of continuing communion, for the bishops of both East and West convened and voted.[3] This sense of communion without administrative uniformity, at least tolerant of each other’s differences, but still agreeing on the essentials of the Christian faith, forms the foundation of Archbishop Elias’ proposal for reunion of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches in our time.

Even in Tous Schismatiques, which advances his notorious plan for immediate intercommunion between the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and its separated sister the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Archbishop Elias does not provide more than an outline of how the Catholic and Orthodox Churches should realize their reunion. Let us sketch that outline.

1) “The rapprochement between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches requires a new formulation of the doctrine of Roman primacy. This formulation must be grounded in the common tradition of the first thousand years of Christianity.”[4]

2) “Only the union of Latins and Orthodox on the level of equality can bring together the apostolic tradition in its fullness and make Catholic unity complete. [Orthodoxy] must, therefore, share equally in the government of the reunited Church, just as must the Latin Church, under the primacy of Peter, of course.” [5]

3) The “East-West Christian dialogue should be accompanied by an even greater effort at the decentralization that was begun at the Second Vatican Council, and in the Orthodox Churches it should accompany an effort of extremely qualified centralization around Peter’s successor and in the framework of traditional collegiality.” [6]

4) “All of the Churches ought to be governed by their own bishops; Eastern Christians have never conceived of Church government in any other way… The pope and his coleagues must not be entrusted habitually and normally with the government of all the Churches.” [7]

5) The Pope cannot “exercise, normally and habitually, in the Eastern Patriarchates, the role he exercises in the Latin Church in his capacity as Patriarch of the West.[8]

6) “In recalling, with theologians and ecumenists, that the faith is essentially the same in the Roman Church and in Orthodoxy, we understand that doctrine elaborated after the schism by one of the two unilaterally, that is, in the absence of the other, cannot be part of what is essential in this faith.” [9]

7) Thus, doctrine and discipline defined at the General Councils of the West after the Schism oblige only the Latin Church, and definitions made at Orthodox synods after the Schism oblige only the Orthodox Church. [10]

8) “It is our understanding of Church history and Tradition that the Church is to be governed by the bishops who are in communion with the Pope, but not exclusively by the Pope to the exclusion of the Episcopate.” [11]

9) There can be no practical progress toward resolution of the problem of primacy and reconciliation of the Churches “as long as the actual government of the Catholic Church has not been wholly and uncompromisingly transferred from the hands of this minority [the Roman Curia] to those of the pastoral Episcopate, the only agent truly responsible for the Church of Jesus Christ. [12]

10) In ruling his diocese of Rome and the dioceses of Italy whose metropolitan he is, the Pope “ought to be assisted by his local clergy.[13]

11) “The responsibilities of ruling the Latin Patriarchate of the West ought to be assumed by the Latin episcopate or their delegates near the Holy Roman See, assembled in Patriarchal Synod around the pope in the exercise of his powers as Patriarch of the West.[14]

12) “Where the whole Church is concerned, the responsibility for its administration ought to fall upon the universal Catholic episcopate (or the representatives commissioned by them) to coordinate, under the worldwide primacy of the Pope, the life and activities of the entire Church.[15]

13) In order to make reunion with Orthodoxy possible, as well as to adapt to the free and democratic conditions of the modern world, the Roman Church must return to the synodal type of Church government that even it lived under in the first Christian millennium. This means national or local church “government by genuine Bishops’ Conferences with real power,” not merely consultative or advisory bodies. [16]

14) Episcopal authority must be reaffirmed and restored because it comes directly from Jesus Christ Himself, who founded the Apostolic College in accord with Divine will. “Christ gave the ‘presidency’ of the Apostolic College to Peter only after having entrusted all the Apostles with a clear cut, well-defined mission. The leader of the Apostles was designated, then, to be head of a College which had already been constituted, a College already enjoying authentic and inalienable powers.” The Pope is the first bishop in the Church because he succeeds Peter, who was “a member of this College when he received the mission of strengthening his brethren. [17]

15) The rights and privileges of the Patriarchs must be recognized, respected, and revitalized, for “the Patriarchate is the only genuine guardian of each Church’s patrimony and one of the only checks on the spread of heterodoxy”.[18] In the Christian East, the Patriarchs are the agents of the episcopate, members of it and chosen by it. Archbishop Elias quotes Archbishop Peter Medawar as saying that the patriarch is “the most eminent guardian of the deposit of the faith, “having “major responsibility for its true and integral diffusion… He is the official spokesman of his Church and of its peoples in all circumstances… In conformity with the ancient law, the patriarchs have the right and even the obligation to carry the burden of governing the Universal Church together with the Holy Father and to do so in a more outstanding and formal manner than the other bishops.[19]

16) The reinterpretation of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome should be based on the Eastern understanding of his position as primus inter pares, which is sacramental rather than juridical. That is, the pope is first among equals because he, the patriarchs, and all the bishops are equal by virtue of sharing the fullness of priesthood, which is episcopacy. This understanding does not exclude the possibility that the pope, like the patriarchs, may have certain powers that other bishops do not have, [20] but these powers come from the rank of his see among the dioceses of Christendom, not from his personal succession to Peter,[21] and they originate in canonical custom and legislation, not in divine institution or essential doctrine of the faith.[22]

17) Referring to the Third Canon of the Second Ecumenical Council, Archbishop Elias writes that “if the role of the Church of New Rome entails a veritable responsibility, witness, and diakonia in the service of the unity of Orthodoxy, one cannot be dealing simply with primacy of honor or precedence when one speaks of the Bishop of Rome, recognized by Orthodoxy as the first among all bishops.” [23]

18) In the reunited Church, the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, so extensively elaborated by the Latin Church, would complement local autonomous episcopal collegiality, so zealously safeguarded by the Orthodox Churches. Excessive decentralization, the strength that has considerably weakened the Orthodox, would counteract excessive centralization, the weakness that has inordinately strengthened Rome.[24]

19)”Thus we would say that these rights reserved to the Bishop of Rome must be defined by mutual agreement of the Roman and Orthodox Churches. Since this matter must not in any way become a part of the essential deposit of faith required for canonical communion, it must be settled by the reunited Churches.” [25] This statement, of course, reflects Archbishop Elias’ conviction that the shared faith of the first millennium suffices for restoration of communion.

20) In fact, he says, “it is easier to agree on what concerns God than on what concerns men, knowing churchmen and their powers and privileges? Reaching accord on doctrine will be easy once we reach accord on the division of powers.” [26]

21) In matters of doctrine, the shared faith of the first millennium suffices; everything else is different non-essential formulations and elaborations of the same essential truths. And, since doctrinal formulations can never fully express the truth of what we believe, much less the truth of the Mystery of God, it is wiser to avoid dogmatic definitions as far as possible. “If one is obliged to do so‹which should be very infrequently after the stabilization of the depositum fidei‹one should do so with Christian modesty, and without a priori exclusion of other formulations that could be equally legitimate and maybe even more adequate… Revealed truth can be formulated in different ways and in different contexts. Factors such as cultural, historical, and other situations can influence these formulations without changing the Truth, which always remains the same.” [27]

22) Just as differences in doctrinal expression need not stand in the way of communion, so also differences in ecclesiology can be accommodated. “Until the 11th century, Rome and Orthodoxy each had its unique ecclesiology, at least germinally, and unity was not broken. One can conceive of these two different ecclesiologies in the Church without questioning the Faith and without altering communion.” [28]

23) We can even regard these differences as necessary for the wholeness of the Church, because “the Catholic Church, that is the Universal Church, can only consist of the Roman Church and the Orthodox Church reunited, since neither of them can claim to possess the whole Christian patrimony, spiritual, ascetical, liturgical, patristic, or doctrinal.” [29] The wholeness of the Church is legitimate diversity in essential unity.

24) Archbishop Elias conceives of Church unity in terms of East and West, and favors preservation and developement of the legitimate diversity of worship forms, theological expression, and church governance suited to peoples and countries. Jesus Christ is incarnated in each race, and each race shows forth in its own way the image and likeness of God. Thus, its expression of Christianity must be locally developed, not imported. [30] In this context, he seems to regard the re-entrance into Catholic communion by the churches of the Reformation and their descendants as a matter for the Western Church to deal with. [31] However, as expressions of legitimate diversity they figure in his larger vision of Christian unity: “no Church or group of believers however humble it may be, should be compelled to accept union by assimilation or disappearance… Indeed, we envision the true unity of the distant future to include several different rites in which almost everyone can find a home: an Anglican Catholic rite, a Presbyterian Catholic rite, perhaps even a Jewish Catholic rite, and many, many more; with some of them containing even smaller subdivisions.” [32]

25) Therefore, achieving the reunion of the Christian Church requires dedicated, humble, sacrificial effort on the part of all Christians, who should feel the pain of separation and who suffer from, as well as sometimes contribute to, its sinfulness.[33] However, the Church of Rome, since it is the head of the Churches, bears special responsibility for healing schism and restoring unity. This is its God-given mandate; this is the proper exercise of its primacy. [34] Fulfilling this role will require major changes in Roman self-understanding, a process begun at Vatican II, accompanied by fundamental changes in Roman dealings with other Christians, for “every attempt at unity centered in a pyramidal Church, built around an absolute juridical authority, and founded on submission to the Pope, instead of on co-responsibility with the older brother who is in Rome, would be doomed to failure.” [35]

However we may respond to this vision of Church unity – and as an ideal it has great appeal – our task here is to discover in it resources for fulfilling the ecumenical vocation of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, if we can. Let us begin, as we must, by flatly calling it a fantasy that ignores most of the secular and ecclesiastical history of the Christian age. Yes, the Churches should re-unite on the basis of the common faith of the first millennium, should accept legitimate diversity in worship and doctrine and discipline, and should govern themselves synodally under the benign primacy of the Bishop of Rome, first among equals, presiding in the service of charity. But at this time, and for the foreseeable future, such reunion seems at best highly improbable.

Nationalism, pluralism, colonialism,imperialism,and dogmatization of local customs and theological opinions contribute to the unlikelihood of reunion on these terms, as do centuries of carefully nurtured misunderstandings and even enmities. If the Churches truly hope one day to achieve reunion, they must strive diligently to resolve these misunderstandings and to heal these enmities, not simply at the level of international theological dialogue, not even at the level of the hierarchy or of clerical formation, but at every level of church life.

Agreement on theology by theologians has no meaning until the parishioners in church on Sunday can affirm it and apply it in their daily dealings with other Christians. As long as Catholics define themselves essentially as being “under the Pope,” and as long as Orthodox define themselves essentially as not being “under the Pope,” both sides ignorant not only of others’ faith but of their own, theological dialogue will remain so much wasted breath and reunion will remain a beautiful fantasy.

What, then, can Melkites learn from Archbishop Elias’vision? They can, and should, recognize its basic validity – it expresses our authentic understanding of the Church. It should be taught and nurtured in church schools, in homilies, in adult education classes, in regional and national clergy-laity conventions, in deacon training programs, in seminary curricula, in continuing education of clergy, in the Patriarchal Synod. It should become intimately and integrally part of the meaning of “Melkite.”

As this happens, we must also share our conviction that this vision authentically points the way to human achievement of God’s will that His people should be one with Him. Such sharing will involve more than words – though words, written in church bulletins, pastoral letters, episcopal statements, ecumenical documents, educational materials, popular magazines, and scholarly journals, will carry great weight.

Such sharing will involve acting according to our belief – individuals, families, parishes, dioceses, the entire patriarchate must seek cooperation with fellow Christians, repudiate inauthentic forms of worship and teaching and governance, and do whatever expresses our authentic vision: ordain married men, expunge latinizations, elect our own bishops, restore true monasticism, and adapt our heritage of Holy Tradition to the demands of life in the secular, pluralistic, technological, God-hungry world of the 21st century.

Often people contribute to making themselves invalids. They completely accept limitations placed upon them by circumstances or accidents, even further handicapping themselves by not daring to try actions that will challenge them but will not defeat them. Such people make themselves victims. They call themselves realistic. In effect, they deny God’s will and power. They defy God to heal them, without making any attempt to cooperate in their own healing.

Other people make every effort to overcome their handicaps or limitations. They constantly strive to reach farther or to walk longer or to stand longer by themselves. Such people make themselves victors. Others call them idealistic, but they too call themselves realistic. Consciously or not, they acknowledge God’s healing power and His willingness to cooperate with us when we try to cooperate with Him.

Melkites (and, indeed, all Christians) must stop acting like invalids, victims of circumstances and dependent on what others do to or for us. We cannot be like the paralytic, lying by the pool for 38 years waiting for someone to put him in the water. We must be like Zacchaeus, willing to climb up a tree – perhaps even to go out on a limb – to overcome our limitations. The Lord will recognize us, reward our efforts, and bring salvation to our house.

 

Father James K. Graham is the pastor of St. Elias the Prophet Melkite Church, San Jose, CA.

 

1. Archbishop Elias Zoghby, A Voice from the Byzantine East, trans. R. Bernard (West Newton, MA: Diocese of Newton Office of Educational Services, 1992; original French edition, 1970).

2. Archbishop Elias Zoghby, Tous Schismatiques? (Beirut: Heidelberg Press-Lebanon, 1981). An English translation is available from the Diocese of Newton Office of Educational Services. Citations in this essay are based on that translation, revised by James K. Graham. Page numbers refer to the French edition.

3. Zoghby, Schismatiques, p.39.

4. Zoghby, Voice, p.71.

5. Zoghby, Voice, p.56.

6. Zoghby, Voice, p.57.

7. Zoghby, Voice, p.69.

8. Zoghby, Voice, p.70.

9. Zoghby, Schismatiques, p.51.

10. Zoghby, Schismatiques, p.51.

11. Zoghby, Voice, p. 75.

12. Zoghby, Voice, p.74.

13. Zoghby, Voice, p.110.

14. Zoghby, Voice, pp.110-111.

15. Zoghby, Voice, p.111.

16. Zoghby, Voice, pp.144-145.

17. Zoghby, Voice, p.83.

18. Zoghby, Voice, p. 104.

19. Zoghby, Voice, p. 118.

20. Zoghby, Schismatiques, p.47.

21. Zoghby, Schismatiques, p.59.

22. Zoghby, Schismatiques, p.47.

23. Zoghby, Schismatiques, p.48.

24. Zoghby, Voice, pp.56-57.

25. Zoghby, Schismatiques, p.47.

26. Zoghby, Schismatiques, p.109.

27. Zoghby, Schismatiques, p.17.

28. Zoghby, Schismatiques, p.29.

29. Zoghby, Schismatiques, p. 14.

30. Zoghby, Schismatiques, p. 63.

31. Zoghby, Voice, p. 86.

32. Zoghby, Voice, p. 104.

SEPTEMBER 11… MY SPIRITUAL RESPONSE

In Fr. Groeschel’s video, SEPTEMBER 11… A SPIRITUAL RESPONSE, formerly available on EWTN, he talks about the way the buildings came down as some kind of a miracle. There are two possibilities here. That it was. Or it was not. In either case, it was NOT natural. So lets either remember it as a miracle or admit the alternative.

Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son in atonement of the sins of rogue elements in government, executing the murders of 9/11 in order to start of a cycle of violence that we now daily witness.

 

Eastern Prayer for Civil Authorities.

Be mindful O Lord, of our elected leaders, (Name), of all civil authorities, of our armed forces, of the city in which we dwell, and of every city and country place; grant us peaceful times, that we may lead a calm and tranquil life in all holiness and peace; for You are holy, our God, and we render glory to You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.