'Human wisdom does not replace the Word of God' by Patriarch Michel Sabbah

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Sunday, August 11, 2019

Prayer

Jesus went up to the mountain to pray. After having prayed, he came down again among the crowds to teach and heal. We too pray and we spend moments in the company of God, then we go back to our society to teach, heal and build.

When we pray, we discover that our perfection in this earthly life is to be with God, and to know that we have power to turn our personal pains and sufferings and those of our society into an instrument of redemption and new life, as Jesus did on the Cross.

Learn to know who you are, as God wanted you to be, in His image and likeness. Do not belittle yourself. God has created you a body with all its requirements and a spirit with all its requirements. The first requirement of the spirit is to know that your natural condition is to be with God and to walk with Him. Knowing this, you will find your right place in your society, and know how to deal with all the challenges in it.

This is prayer. This is why you give yourself moments of solitude, with God, to know who you are.

Learn to pray, that is, learn to be yourself as perfect as God has made you.

Monday, August 12, 2019

“This people honor me only with lip-service, while their hearts are far from me. Their reverence of me is worthless; the lessons they teach are nothing but human commandments” (Matthew 15: 8-9).

We have already reflected upon these words: "It is not anyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in Heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

The prayers we are used to say and repeat help us to remember God, and spend moments in His presence. But some people do not pay attention to what they say, and their prayer does not have any impact on their actions. On the contrary, their behaviors and actions break their prayers. They allow themselves to harm their brothers or sisters; or they do not care for them in their needs. This contradicts the prayer. First, love your brothers and sisters, take care of them, of whatever religion they are, then come and pray.

Prayer cannot be combined with any harming or indifference towards any brother or sister. Prayer is null and all external religious ceremonies have no value, without love. Love of your brothers and sisters is a prayer, and an essential condition for any form of prayer.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

"Their reverence of me is worthless; the lessons they teach are nothing but human commandments". (Mathew 15:9).

This verse applies to human teachings that replace God's teachings, and are in fact contrary to God's teachings. We benefit from the teachings of our fathers in faith, but the spirit in us must discern between a teaching for all time and place, and a teaching that is valid only for its time, especially in religious interpretations.

Human wisdom does not replace the Word of God. The correct interpretation of the Word of God is done in the light of God's nature, that is, God is love.

Every interpretation that incites hatred or injustice is contrary to the Word of God. The principle is always the same: If love inspires our thoughts, words and actions, we are on the right path. Without love, we are away from God. Whoever harms his brother stays away from God. Those who do not see their brothers in need are away from God who always watches over them. If you are enemy to your brother and sister, you are enemy to God, and you are unable to understand the Word of God.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

"The lessons they teach are nothing but human commandments”. The believer in God carries the message of God, the Word of God, not a message from himself or a human message, which includes teachings that negate the love of people and incite on hatred and injustice.

Killing in the name of God, for example, contradicts God's commandment: Do not kill, and the nature of God who is mercy and love. God will never command any human being or people to kill another human being or another people. God loves all His creatures, and that's why He told everyone: Do not kill, and love your neighbor as yourself.

There have been many religious wars in the name of God, but all of them, no matter what they may have been, do not reflect God's will but the plans of human beings. God's commandment is clear: Do not kill and love. To this day, humanity has not abided by these two commandments, and wars continue to be its natural path. Yet the perfection of humanity is not in wars but in love, peace, justice and equality.

God is mercy and love: this is the rule that helps you distinguish between old and good teachings and others that are no more valid for our time.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Happy feast of the Assumption. To Heaven Our Lady the most Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed. May She keep accompanying us in this land, Her land and ours until we see in it peace, justice and equality.

The Virgin Mary is the model of the human being elevated by the power of the grace of God. Angel Gabriel hailed her in Nazareth (cf. Luke 1: 26 sq) with these words: “Rejoice Mary, the full of grace. The Lord is with you”. When she asked “what this greeting could mean”, the angel told her: “You are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God”. Mary said: “I am the servant of the Lord, let it happen to me as you have said.”

Virgin Mary lived all her life with this mystery of the Word of God who became man, until the end, when she stood near the Cross, at the moment of the completion of the mystery of the Redemption of humanity. “Near the Cross of Lord Jesus stood His mother and His mother's sister….” (John 19: 25).

Virgin Mary, full of grace, mother of the Word of God, when Her earthly life and mission was accomplished, she joined Her Son, Jesus, in the glory. She was “assumed'' bodily into Heaven without first dying to be in the eternal life and glory.

Have a happy Feast of the Assumption. With Mary, let us come nearer to God, Let us contemplate her glory, and pray. We ask her to make our earth nearer to God, to his love, peace and justice.

Friday, August 16, 2019

The storm on the lake!

"Then He got into the boat followed by his disciples. 4 Suddenly a storm broke over the lake, so violent that the boat was being swamped by the waves. But He was asleep. 5 So they went to Him and woke Him saying, 'Save us, Lord, we are perishing'6 And He said to them, 'Why are you so frightened, you who have so little faith?' And then he stood up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. 7 They were astounded and said, 'Whatever kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” (Matthew 8:23-27).

The storm on the lake was a passing event in the life of Jesus and his apostles, from which Jesus benefited to teach his apostles and to teach us too.

We may also be plagued by fear and turmoil. We may think that we are alone in life and in confrontation, and that God is far from us, but we are not alone in our lives. We are not alone in the storms that blow over us. God is with us.

Our brothers also are with us. If we know how to cooperate with our brothers, God will join us. But when the brothers quarrel among themselves, they go away from God, and from their own right. They kill their own right.

In the difficulties you are not alone. So, in the difficulties do not leave your brother alone. Jesus said: “Where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18: 20). If you join your brother in the tempest, Jesus will join you, and will guide you in facing the tempest.

Man often lives only with a part of his powers. He does not open his eyes to see everything in him. One of the hidden forces in Him is the power coming from his union with his brothers and sisters, because then God will be with them all.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

“But he was asleep”

One with a good conscience can sleep. One who does not hurt anyone can sleep. The one who loves all brothers and sisters and cares for their worries can sleep. The storm is any evil we allow to invade us and drift us behind it, disturbing our conscience. However, if our conscience is disturbed and we feel the guilt, we are fine, for, at last, we know that we need healing. Our conscience is not dead.

The calamity and the deadly storm is when we lean towards evil, we keep harming others, and our conscience remains silent, for it is dead. That is the disaster of all human beings including leaders of nations, heads and members of groups whose conscience is dead. Those who are addicted to war, murder, and the destruction of homes: these are in a deadly storm and have become a threat to themselves and to humanity.

Jesus was asleep, serene. But, Jesus is never asleep. He is always attentive to all the human worries and difficulties. He has His own vision and time. He loves us, He is merciful. He forgets no one. He hears those who cry to him, like the apostles on the lake: “'Save us, Lord, we are perishing”. He is capable of calming the storm, whatever it is, whether it is human injustice, a stumble in life or any difficulty and illness.

A reassured man is the one who does good to oneself and to all brethren. He is the one who sees oneself as God created one, in his image and likeness. As for those who have forgotten who they are, who have forgotten that they are in the image of God; those who have forgotten that others are all brothers and sisters, these cannot sleep, because their conscience screams out and always reminds them of their brother's blood.

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