'The Word of God became Man' by Patriarch Michel Sabbah

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Wednesday 5.12.2018

Christmas says God is love and you should be like God: you love your brothers and sisters as God loves them. Love also means forgiveness and reconciliation.

In fact, there can be no feast, no joy, for believers, or for anyone, if their heart are still full of disputes, or hatred, or will to harm anyone.

Many believe in God. They know that God created all of us equal. They know that our main commandment is the commandment of love, yet they do not forgive. They refuse to forgive, to reconcile, as if they were not brothers and sisters, children of God, as if they were not in feast.

Such disposition in the soul is a contradiction: it contradicts the reality that we are all brothers and sisters; it contradicts the fact that we reach our perfection only by wishing good to all our brothers and sisters, without any exception, for any reason.

Bound not to forgive, you are bound to your own destruction, as a human being, created to live and love, not to hate or refuse forgiveness and reconciliation.

Moreover, your own destruction, evil in you, has its impact on all your community or society. It spreads and increases the absence of love, and the evil in the human will, in the whole society.

Therefore, forgive to be human. Forgive if you believe in God. Forgive if you want to celebrate Christmas. Forgive in order to contribute in the building of your society by bringing in it more love, and more humanity.

Thursday 6.12.2018

Christmas is a feast of forgiveness.

Who celebrates Christmas believes in Jesus Christ, the Word of God, born in Bethlehem. He grew up in our land. He taught us, and offered His life to reconcile us with God, so we learn to reconcile one another. We believed in Him and in His teaching. He said: "Forgive whenever your brother or sister comes to you, asking for forgiveness. If he/she comes "seventy times seven times," you “forgive him/her seventy times seven times” (Mt 18:21-22).

Forgive and purify your heart. Do not have feelings or do actions which cannot be feelings or actions of someone who believes in God. Remember that God created you in His image. Do not distort the image of God in you.

Know also, that it is not God who needs your repentance, but you, yourself, the well-being of your soul and body, need to repent, so that you will liberate yourself from evil in you, from the absence of life in you, caused by your hatred of your brother and sister.
Love and be a brother and sister to your brother and sister. With forgiveness, you both, you will be able to celebrate Christmas and live your full life with God, and you will be able to better build your society.

Friday 7/12/2018

Christmas tells you to forgive. Ask for your rights. You are not allowed to abandon your rights. But you must abandon your pride which keeps you in the wrong way. Be strong and forgive. Be strong and ask for all your rights. Your first right is to be a human being; be human as much as you can. A human being can fall. He/she also can ask for forgiveness, and be forgiven, as he/she also forgives.

The joy of Christmas is not complete if your heart is in conflict with anyone, no matter what the reason. There is no justification for you not to be human, by hatred, harming anyone, which is destruction of your own humanity.

The Word of God became human so that humanity be perfected in us by the grace and love of God. If you want to love God, first, love your brothers and sisters. In this your human life, the perfection of it, in loving God and all God’s children consist.

Then the joy of Christmas in you will be complete, and you will be a true and sincere human being, and will be able to celebrate Christmas.

Saturday 8/12/2018

Today, it is another day in the first week in Advent announcing Christmas joy. It is also December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the feast of the Virgin Mary pure of all sin.

Beyond the decorated tree, we meditate today the faith of the Virgin Mary, the woman chosen by God above all women of the world, and full of God’s grace, as said the angel to her, the day of the Annunciation: “Hail, Mary, full of grace”.

When the angel told her that God had chosen her, and that she would be the Mother of the Word of God, she said, "How can this be?" The angel said: 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. … You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus” (Luke 1: 34.31)

She did not understand the whole mystery, announced to her by the Angel. Nevertheless she believed and said: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord. Let it happen to me as you have said.” (LK 1:38)

She believed although she did not realize what God wanted from her.
You also, walk with God in darkness and you will be safe. When, for you too, things become difficult, hard to understand, remember that the angel told Mary: "Nothing is impossible to God." (Luke 1: 37)

Nothing is impossible to God. To the believer in God also nothing is impossible.
With the Virgin Mary, full of grace, believe in God, do not be afraid of difficulties in your life, and accept God’s will. God will fill you also with His grace.

When the darkness surrounds you, look at Mary, and like her, believe, and be a man/woman full of faith who believes that nothing is impossible.

Sunday, 9/12/2018

This is the second week of Advent, in which we prepare to the coming of Jesus-Christ. When the Eternal Word of God became Man and dwelt among us, something new happened in our Earth. A new time began. But, as usual, we forget. The new becomes old, not only, but also something we forget. As Christian, you believed in Jesus Christ, and believed in the real meaning of Christmas. You believed that God spoke to humanity, as says the letter to the Hebrews: "At many moments in the past and by many means, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but2 in our time, the final days, he has spoken to us in the person of his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things and through whom he made the ages.3 He is the reflection of God's glory and bears the impress of God's own being, sustaining all things by his powerful command” (Heb 1-3).

Are you still listening to what God says? Do you know that God speaks to you also today? Christmas is not once in the year, it is a permanent event in your life. Today you are immersed in your concerns, your feelings, your desires, your request for success, money and life in all its aspects. Christmas has become an accident, a passing by event. But it is not so. It is God with you in every moment of your life.

Monday 10/12/2018

"Behold, I will make all things new" (Revelation 21: 5). When God created the universe He made everything new. The new was that He created man and woman in His image. “God said, 'Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves” (Genesis 1:26). Then, man/woman forgot. They forgot what they are: the image of God. They forgot their essential relation with their Creator. Then centuries passed. The loving God did not forget whom He has created, He came and renewed His relations with man. He wanted to remind man of what he is: the image of his Creator. The Word of God descended from the highest and became man. To make again everything new, man and the whole universe, because man is the master and the sanctifier of the universe. Thus, God made him and commanded him to be and to do.

Tuesday 11/12/2018

The Word of God became man. This is always new. Many have forgotten, and Christmas has become a season of the year, a season of joy, or a feast for the small, although it is a feast for the big first, so that they remember who they are, that they are the image of God. To repair their image, the Word of God descended on Earth, became a human being and accompanied us for a period of time. He reminded us of what we have forgotten. He taught us to know God, ourselves, and that our perfection consists in reaching a degree and a state in which we are like God, as God made us, capable of love like Himself.
We love ourselves by confirming the image of God in us, and by loving one another. And we act so that our human society becomes a society, in which each one knows that he/she is the image of God. Knowing that, each one will seek good and fight evil, and corruption, whenever evil and corruption will invade his/her ideas, desires and relations with his/her society.

Wednesday 12/12/2018

Everything becomes new. This is the meaning of Christmas. You also make everything new, first in yourself, your home and family. Everything becomes new, full of love, full of the vision of God in your relations with the people closest to you. You look up to God, knowing that you are inspired from His image, and that in any action under all conditions, love and compassion should inspire you.

Love each other, do not hurt anyone, be gentle with all, giving the necessary food of the soul and the body to anyone.

Let the word of God be heard in your heart, home, and in your family. The voice of God will guide you in your quest of life. It will relieve you when you are tired. It will accompany you in your joys and sorrows. Remember, Christmas is God with you, and, with God’s grace and love you can make everything new.

Thursday 13/2/2018

Christmas should make everything new, everything new in your church and parish. Be a living believer, not a dying one; be neither lukewarm nor passive. Live and let God guide you according to His will. Love is the measuring rod-criterium to know whether you are wrong or right. If you love, build and bring life around you, you are right. If you act alone, hurt anyone, or cause pain to someone else, then you are wrong. As long as love is your guide, you are right. When love is absent, and hatred, jealousy or any other negative feeling over rule your heart: you are wrong.

In your church and parish, you are the bearer of the message of love, and love is what a community of believers needs. The core of a faith community is love, vital and patient .What demolishes a community and makes it dying or sterile body is the absence of love. In the first letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 13) St. Paul sends a wonderful hymn of love:

“Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances…” (1 Cor 4-5).

Friday 14/12/2018

Society also needs renewal, and renewed people.

Society needs believers whose faith rises above tradition to the level of renewal, empowered every day by the Spirit of God, so that they will be able to contribute to the renewal of their society.

Renewal is needed in all domains of small and big issues: Politics and socio-economics, dealing with poverty and a just distribution of wealth among all, in order to secure a decent human life to all.

What is lacking in society is also true love which means caring for the other. It is the egoistic individualism of people and rulers that prevents the vision of the ‘other’ as a reality. This enhances disproportionate inequality between those who get much, and those who get little or nothing, the rich and the poor causing satisfaction or the opposite, when inequality imposes poverty.

Society needs people, especially rulers who are aware of the equal human dignity of all. All people and rulers should be guided not by their individual interests but by the requirements of the equal human dignity of all, created in the image of God. The stability of a society depends on people who see God, and God’s image in every human being, and who are able not to make of their own ego a wall that denies the human dignity of the other.

This requires huge efforts for a spiritual revolution, but we must also have confidence in ourselves that we can build a society in which the dignity of each and all is respected.

Saturday 15/12/2018

The world needs to be renewed. For that, we are all responsible. No one is only responsible for his/her house and family. No one is responsible to renew his/her country and people alone, for we all belong to the whole one humanity.

Christmas invites us to look farther. It invites us to closely view all peoples in Earth, to all those who need life, to all those who suffer and to all those who are oppressed. Christmas invites us to have a new vision, large enough to see oneself, one’s country and all humankind. Love and goodness in us will increase love and goodness in all humanity. Evil in us will increase evil in the world and allow many to be oppressed and remain in their sufferings.

Today, relations among peoples are based on egoistic national interests. The strong and the powerful may sacrifice entire peoples for their own “national” interests. What is happening in our countries is a clear picture of the domination of the individualistic and national egoism. Humanity needs a renewal so that the strong cease to adapt the concept of “goodness” according to their personal interests. Some among the strong and powerful of this world celebrate Christmas and think they are present before God, while their intentions are full of oppression of peoples and their hands covered with blood.

Christmas calls to see oneself, to see the potentiality of evil in oneself especially that evil which sacrifices entire peoples for so called “national interests”. Those cannot celebrate Christmas. They are not present before God. Christmas calls to see ones’ evil in order to replace it with authentic human intention and behavior.

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