Purity is the integrity of creation

Following is the weekly reflection of Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah for Sunday April 30-May 6, 2017:

Sunday 30.4.2017

Who and what is a Christian? A Christian is a person who believes in Jesus Christ who taught us new teachings and new values summed up in the commandment of love. In the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5), Jesus Christ showed us a new vision based on new principles. We meditated so far upon the following:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, the kingdom of heaven is theirs" (Mt 5:3).

"Blessed are the meek, they shall have the earth as inheritance" (Mt 5: 4).

"Blessed are those who mourn, they shall be comforted" (Mt 5: 5).

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for uprightness, they shall have their fill" (Mt 5:6).

This is all new teaching. Even today, in our society, it is a new teaching. These are the Christians who learned new teachings, who bear new teachings to their societies, who take positions according to this new teaching and who behave according to it with everyone in their societies.

Amidst troubles and blood, you ask: who are you? What is your identity? This is your identity, a bearer of a new teaching, whether you face death or life.

Monday 1.5.2017
Today we continue our meditation on the Sermon on the Mount, about the "Beatitudes". We meditate on the verse: "Blessed are the merciful, they shall have mercy shown them "(Mt 5: 7). In our society, yes, there is love and mercy. In all religions there is mercy. Within the services of the state, there is also mercy.
But sometimes, in religion, mercy disappears; not because of the religion but because of the believers who adapt their religion to their own measures, to the measure of their interests, cruelty and their deviation from their own humanity.

In the state also, mercy disappears in what the state calls "security", Israel-Palestine being such an example. Security people are trained to be people of death, to be cruel, merciless and fill the prisons with political prisoners and torture.

Yes, security is necessary. It is even a mercy for the whole society but some of its ways are not human. Political prisoners and torture are not human. When the guardians of security are trained to have no mercy, to be cruel and to torture, they themselves become implicit danger to the society. Security is necessary but inhuman cruelty is not. A human being must be able to find human ways to deal with others in all circumstances.

Tuesday 2.5.2017

"Blessed are the merciful, they shall have mercy shown them".

Our world is a cruel world of wars and terrorism. Our world needs mercy and people who are merciful. Wars are becoming the norm of life because some say that their security is the only source of life or death to others.
Relations between peoples should be built on equal dignity of all: not the small and weak nor the big and strong peoples.
The strong of this earth should reform themselves in order to reduce the logic of cruelty and violence. The strong of this earth should stop injustices imposed upon weak peoples be it military occupation or fomented civil wars.
God is merciful and human beings are in God’s image. Humanity needs God; it needs strong peoples who know God, and who know that God is merciful.

Wednesday 3.5.2017

"Blessed are the merciful, they shall have mercy shown them".

Mercy is searching all those who are near and those who are far so that nobody remains in any need, and their dignity will not be violated. To care for the other is to care for oneself. To have mercy for the other is to have mercy for oneself. A merciful person is an imitator of God Creator who watches all his creatures.

A merciful person is a person who seeks the human beings everywhere, in any circumstance in order to make them rise from their fall or from any distress, and to share all what God has granted them. Sharing gifts is also an act of mercy. Human beings should share without vanity, without seeing oneself above the other. Have mercy and remain equal to your brothers and sisters in dignity.

A merciful person looks to the high, to the mercy of God, to the love of the Creator in order to enrich oneself and all the society with a stronger presence of God and his mercy for all his children.

Thursday 4.5.2017
"Blessed are the pure in heart, they shall see God" (Mt 5: 8).

Who are the pure in heart? Who are pure before God so that God raises them, and makes them deserve to see God? The pure ones are those who kept the original purity of humanity as God created them, and so they kept capacity to see God.

Jesus said: "No one has ever seen God; it is the only Son who is close to the Father, who has made him known" (Jn 1: 18). Jesus made God known to us, and enabled us to see. We see as much as Jesus gives us to see, and as much as we strive to remain pure and able to see. While implementing all our obligations towards the earth, we can see God.

The pure in the heart are the ones who did not cover themselves by another creation made by themselves out of egoistic exigencies, passions of money or body or vain glory. The pure in heart do not make themselves "god", pretending that all the creation is theirs alone.

Purity is the integrity of creation in the person; it is the capacity to remain in the presence of God and to see Him.

Friday 5.5.2016

"Blessed are the pure in heart, they shall see God"

The pure in heart know themselves. No evil disturbs the serenity of their soul, no rejection, no hatred of anyone nor undisciplined passion. The pure in heart, in all their actions, are present before God. Therefore, they become filled with love and all goodness. The ones who walks before God, God walks with them, takes them by the hand , and makes them rise enabling them to see Him.

To see God is possible, Jesus said it. He said: eternal life, life with God, begins in this earth, in this life, not only after death. He said: "Eternal life is this, to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (Jn 17: 3).

Jesus also said: "I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever, and revealing them to little children" (Mt 11: 25). The little and the wise are those who see that God alone is great and know themselves to be what they are: human beings; therefore they do not put obstacles between them and God. As innocent children, they throw themselves in the arms of their father.

Saturday 6.5.2017

"Blessed are the pure in heart, they shall see God"

The pure in heart are those who safeguarded in themselves the integrity of creation when there were no barriers between them and God, when the Book of Genesis described the initial human condition through this metaphor: "The man and his wife heard the sound of God walking in the garden in the cool of the day" (Gn 3: 8). It was a time when God walked with man.

There was a time when God "saw that everything he did is very good" (Gn 1: 31). Until today, all what God created, nature and human beings, is very good. A human life consists in knowing oneself, in purifying oneself in order to be able again to be "very good" as God created us, able to be very close to God able to see him.

Humans with their caring for all the exigencies of the earth, living in full on earth in spirit and body can live with God Creator. They live on earth and at the same time, their life is higher than that the earth, by being close to God, the Creator of the earth. This is purity. This is the pure in heart that can see God.

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