Monthly Archives

September 1995

1995, Articles, Raiati

Economy / September 17, 1995

Our Fathers call for frugality in order to be able to spend on the poor. Saving for charity purposes is not the one that the Gospel forbids, for proper saving implies austerity and love. From this perspective, God calls us to economize in everything. At a time when newspapers pervade every aspect of our lives, we cannot spend a great deal of our time reading them since this prevents us from reading books, which are deeper and more meaningful for they comprehend human history and the best among them have the power of purifying. We should also limit watching and listening to audio-visual media without eliminating it, since it has some benefits, but it is also a waste of time. In fact, the mass media are based on political guidance from Great Powers. Through the media, the Powers exploit us for their own advantage, until they control us sooner or later, and our minds are inculcated with this gradually.

Moderate eating is also an essential component of our humanitarian endeavor and our liberation from the bondage of pleasures, in order to dedicate our lives to God and His poor.

In addition, we should limit parties in which dinner starts late at night. In fact, banquets, which are common in some communities, can last for three or four hours, without true communication between people, with clothes being objects of pettiness and seduction, and with waste of precious time. Of course, building friendships is a must. However, in such instances, there is no sentimental meeting between you and your friends. And if you want to share feelings with them, you do not need all this time. Some people attend many parties in one week, thus they lack time for real emotional exchange. Undoubtedly, these recurrent long occasions are an escape from real life. Full of talks, these occasions lead to gossip and several desires that distract the heart from other righteous things.

These errant parties do not comply with the Lord’s commandment: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation”. The Lord is asking us to be vigilant; and vigilance is achieved through economy and frugality.

One of the key aspects of austerity is to economize in talking, which is to abstain from speaking ill of anyone and to avoid all that hurts people.

All this can help us lead a life away from opulence and the concept of consumer society. We shall economize in everything to offer what we have and what is in our hearts to the others. We shall open our hearts for God so that He prevents us from gossip and profusion, and makes us silent, speaking in a good manner, and caring for all people in order to give them gentle words and service. If God dominates us and offers us a quiet love, others “may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven”.

A virtuous ecclesiastical community is one composed of people who talk little and serve a lot, so that people will feel that Christ is among us, alive in what we say and alive in what we do.

Translated by Amani Haddad

Original Text: “الاقتصاد” – 17.09.95

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1995, Articles, Raiati

Gossip / 10.09.95

Gossip is a talk about others aimed at divulging their misdeeds and defaming. It is a widespread sin that involves telling lies about someone and putting their reputation at risk. People believe what they hear and their good opinion of others is damaged, which leads to despair, for they would be convinced that virtues are rare. Consequently, they would cease dealing with the person whose image has been ruined.

This is the sin of the tongue which the Apostle James wrote about: “If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body… The tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.” He then added that the tongue sets on fire the course of nature and it is set on fire by hell.

One may die if they knew that people became against them and that they talk about their weaknesses. Gossips offend themselves first of all, for they do not see their transgressions to overcome them. They look instead at the misdeeds of others, though revealing a misdeed does not rectify it. Virtue should begin with the tongue. When you notice someone’s trespasses, you shall pray for them and reproach them kindly so that they repent; and beware of falling into the sin you attribute to them.

Against this sin God said in the Psalms: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered”. If God covers the sins of people in order for them to repent, you should as well prevent your tongue from divulging their misdeeds.

It may occur to you that if you reveal others’ faults you are being zealous for virtue. On the contrary, you should talk about virtues of others for it consoles. Gossiping would be even worse if it was slander. Passing on true but offensive information hurts, and slander is far more prejudicial, for it can lead a soul to hell, and it undoubtedly leads the offender’s soul to hell.

It is essential that you do not believe everything you hear about someone. There is no need to make sure if the information was true. A better attitude is to ignore what we hear to prevent it from leading us into corruption. However, if we had to know the truth, a careful examination is a must. For instance, we need to know everything about people we hire or we deal with. If we knew about their transgressions, we should remain silent and take a position, rather than divulging the bad information. And if we were asked about a sin we know that someone has committed, we should not answer unless the asker has the right to know the truth.

A virtuous tongue paves the way for great purity.

Translated by Amani Haddad

Original Text: “النميمة” – 10.09.95

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