"God granted us human dignity, freedom and life" by Patriarch Michel Sabbah

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Sunday 14.7.2019

When evil is an assault on society.
If evil is an attack on society, for example, a military occupation, we resist it in accordance with the laws of resistance whose aim is not to cause further evil, death or hatred to the other but to restore lost rights, ones’ freedom and dignity, and to remove injustice and occupation. One objective of the resistance is also to heal the aggressor himself, freeing the aggressor from the inner evil that is an assault on oneself, depriving me from my freedom. The aim of resisting occupation or lining up in a war despite the reality of death and destruction in it, is to liberate man from the "destruction" of human being caused to each other, so that the oppressor restores own humanity by ceasing to attack others, and the oppressed recuperates his/her freedom and dignity.

The Almighty God granted us human dignity, freedom and life. It is the duty of every human being to preserve what God has granted us. Human dignity, freedom and life are not only a personal issue. It is first a gift from God, and we have to preserve it. Secondly, the freedom of all citizens is at stake; it is not permissible to abandon or betray them. One must therefore reject every kind of servitude and resist in order to regain one's freedom and dignity, that is, the freedom and dignity of all the people and the country. Each one shares in the resistance according to one's mission and place in society. Some have a direct role, others a supporting one. But everyone contributes in one way or another to the duty of regaining freedom and ending an occupation or any kind of political subjugation.

Monday 15.7.2019

"At the time of the harvest"! After the time of mercy, comes the time of "harvest", a day of retribution, of reward or punishment.

God is patient regarding our evil and our sin. He gives us time to repent and transform the evil in us into good. He is patient with every person, with all humankind despite its many evils, wars and the ravages they cause. The goodness of so many people is an intercession for humankind. The good are the wheat sowed in the field of the Lord that grow with the darnel.

After a time of patience, compassion and time to repent, the harvest comes, during this life on earth, before the second life beyond. All good action is rewarded on this Earth first and then in the eternal life, so is every sin first punished on this Earth and in this life first then in the life after. All powerful, tyrants, those who sacrifice peoples and make wars will find their punishment on this earth. No evil doers, war makers, the great of this earth are great before God: “He has used the power of His arm; He has routed the arrogant of heart. He has pulled down princes from their thrones, and raised high the lowly.” (Luke 1:51-52)

God created us all great. We become little when we abandon God, and harm our brothers and sisters.

Tuesday 16.7.2019

This is the parable of the wheat and the darnel, the good and the bad. It teaches us to look at our reality as it is. There is goodness and there is evil and sin. Everyone, the great and the simple one on earth is part of this reality. Each one of us is able to be good because God gave us His goodness. Each one is equally able to do bad because we are all affected by the experience of the first fall which accompanies us: We want to be like God but without God. God wants us to be like Him. He showed us the perfect road that brings us to Him: it is the way of love for our neighbor, all our brothers and sisters, near and far. For whatever we do to our neighbor, we do it to God his Creator and our Creator. (cf. Mt 25: 40.45)

Every human being is called to be like God, with God and by His grace, by responding to his love, and by accepting the mystery of his divine Providence. Some of God’s Providence we understand, therefore we praise God and glorify Him for what He gives us. Some of his Providence, especially when we face difficulties, we do not understand but God understands; He knows what He is doing, He sees what is happening and he loves us. In difficulties, the believer renews his faith: O God I do not see, I do not understand, but I believe in your goodness and in your love for me and all my brothers and sisters.

Without God, we cannot fulfill ourselves and reach perfection in order to be like God. We can do that only with God. Lord Jesus Christ revealed us the way: the first step is the commandment of love; the second is to carry our Cross and follow Him. Bearing the Cross, as we already said, is to transform all difficulties and sufferings into a Cross. Instead of keeping our wounds, our pain and agony as a cause of suffering within us, with the grace of God and our will we make out of them a Cross, and join the Cross of Jesus Christ. Our sufferings become an instrument of redemption, new life and resurrection.

Wheat and darnel grow together in our life. With patience and strife, the darnel will be collected and thrown away. The wheat will remain.

Wednesday 17.7.2019

"The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off in his joy, sells everything he owns and buys the field." (Matthew 13:44)

Jesus speaks about the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. A kingdom is a place, a society, where people live under the orders of a king. In the Kingdom of Heavens God is the King, and men are there with God. We go back to the first image as mentioned in the narration of Creation. After Adam has transgressed the order of God, the writer says: “The man and his wife heard the sound of God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from God among the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:8) This is a metaphorical image of God's presence with man. God was close. Human life was a life with God. When man sinned, he hid from the face of God.

The Kingdom of God was and is still in us, as Jesus said: "The Kingdom of God is among you." (Luke 17: 21) Man abandoned this life and wanted to live alone but God did not abandon him. He remained his companion but his presence became like a treasure hidden in his soul. Man now must search and find the hidden treasure in oneself. When one finds it, one sells everything in order to see God again and have the joy of life in his presence.

Human life is a human reality as we know, with all its small worries and big problems. But in human life there is also another reality: God Almighty. He raises the humble (cf. Lk 1: 51-52), He raises us above our Earth. The Kingdom of Heavens is people living on Earth, with God. However, the preoccupations with issues of human life are like a dense veil that prevents the vision of God’s presence.

Thursday 18.7.2019

The Kingdom of Heavens on Earth, begins by the search for God, by trying to penetrate the thick veil that prevents us from seeing God's face, that is the various requirements of life on this Earth. To find the Kingdom, we begin by looking higher. We transcend ourselves and we see in ourselves what is above ourselves. There we find the hidden treasure in ourselves: God Almighty.

When we find the treasure, when we can see God, we sell everything. God becomes first in our life and in all activities that we engage in.

Selling everything can happen in two ways. The first simple way is the way of the monks and hermits who actually leave everything and go to the desert or to the solitude of the monasteries. However, they remain on Earth connected with its issues and concerns. They dedicate themselves to God. At the same time, they devote themselves to intercession for the sake of people. In their lives, there are two components: The first is to live with God, to live the joy of the treasure they found, and progress in the ways of the spirit so that their happiness becomes the happiness of the soul in God. The second is to stay with people, whether through different services in the community or through prayers of intercession with which they accompany the joys and sorrows of the people.

Since Lord Jesus came and said, ''The Kingdom of God is in you'', and throughout history many people indeed have tried to discover this Kingdom in themselves and in their relations with each other and with the world. Monks, nuns and hermits have sold everything and gone looking for the treasure within themselves in order to turn their life on Earth into a life with God.

Friday 19.7.2019

The second way to ‘sell our possessions and distribute everything to the poor’ may seem easier, but it may be more difficult. We retain all what we possess on Earth, we keep bearing all our responsibilities in the building of society but we make ourselves free from all bonds. We come out from ourselves, from our egoism. We are on Earth. We live with our wealth, earthly joys and preoccupations but nothing on earth remains a bond that limits our freedom. We remain on Earth and with all people on it to serve ourselves and all our brothers and sisters. We will be happy to live with God and people. We will not be afraid of God like Adam who had to hide between the trees in order not to encounter God. (Genesis 3:8)

Our wealth goes back to its original nature: it belongs to God, to us and to all our brothers and sisters. Selling everything means no egoism but freedom and sharing. It is also continuing to carry all our responsibilities in society.

Not everyone is invited to follow the first way i.e. to follow hermitical or monastic life but all are called to follow the second way, to find the hidden treasure in themselves until they find it. If they find it, they find their freedom, and become able to see God and all people as brothers and sisters. They will live on Earth, free of all its servitudes. They will also become intercessors before God for the Earth and all people on it while contributing to its building with everyone.

Saturday 20.7.2019

A treasure is hidden in a field. The field is the human being himself, his character with all his capacities of life and death. In the field one finds good soil, with plants and trees, and rocky soil as well. So is human soul. Among evil and bad, it has a special power which can rise very high above oneself, until seeing God. With this vision one can enrich one's own life and society; one can bring more goodness and love in relations between peoples, instead of wars and relationships of death.

The hidden treasure in the soul, either remains hidden and useless, or man opens his eyes and sees what he bears in himself; he bears heaven, a kingdom which is not from this Earth, though on this Earth. He has a power to change this Earth. It is a power to change conditions of life, to move mountains and ‘make rough roads smooth.’ (Matthew 21:21; Luke 3:5) It is a power to see God and shed on Earth light and abundant life.

When man finds the hidden treasure in himself, joy fills him. This is the first fruit of the Kingdom of Heaven, joy. With joy, he has an abundant life, all what he needs, and walks towards his perfection.

When he found the treasure, he sold everything he had. He became free from all bonds. The worries and the building of the Earth remained the essence of his life. But the hidden treasure found in himself is a power to turn the worries into a kingdom on Earth in which God is present, with his justice and love, a kingdom which “does not need the sun or the moon for light, since it will be lit by the radiant glory of God” (Rev 21:23).

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