Monthly Archives

October 1999

1999, Articles, Raiati

Organ Transplant / 24.10.1999

Is organ transplant ethically allowed? When a transplant happens between two living people, it would be an act of love if the removal of the organ doesn’t cause a real and direct danger on the donor. He should also not take a cost or price in exchange because this means that we are selling something from our body and this wouldn’t be an act of love. A living person might decide to donate an eye out of his two eyes or a kidney for a relative or friend. However, if one of the kidneys was ill and the healthy kidney was given, the donor might die.

The common question concerns heart donation (and the heart donation surgery was successfully done in Lebanon recently). Donation happens within few hours after death. I can say that there is no religious obstacle regarding this issue, and there is no need to argue saying that the body will rise in the last day. Man might be burned or eaten by whales or completely destroyed. However, he still rises in the last day. A corpse is something different than the spiritual body that we will turn into. The removal of the eye, kidney or liver from the body will not change anything in the human entity that is looking for eternal life.

For the apostle has said:”you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else… So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable… it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body”. Paul the apostle also continues by saying: “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable” (1 Corinthians 15).

We believe that the earthly body will be transformed because it inherits the divine glory, and this means that it doesn’t remain a biological entity exposed to food and reproduction (people will neither marry nor be given in marriage). If the whole body vanishes in earth and is still sent by God in a miraculous unknown way, then what prevents the donation of an organ that will be transferred into another person that will also vanish in earth eventually?

On the contrary, I recommend organ donation as a mercy towards those with ill bodies. They are our brothers, and we are able to save them from large disabilities or from death. Human sharing continues this way. You make people that need help become thankful and give them happiness.

Donation requires the presence of a written will. Without this will, it would be a violation of the sanctity of the dead. If you had this in your will (donation), you shall become an offering. This is better than the money you leave for the inheritors. You would be ending your life with obvious love.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “زرع الأعضاء” –Raiati no43- 24.10.1999

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1999, Articles, Raiati

Friendship / 10.10.1999

When the Lord met Judas on the Mountain of Olives, where the disciple said to Him while kissing Him: “Greetings, Rabbi!”, the Lord told him to do what he came for. This is an ironic answer by Christ resulting from His pain because of the fake kiss, for a friend does not betray. And when Christ met Peter after the Resurrection, He asked him: “Do you love Me more than these?” Here it seems like He is blaming Peter for his ingratitude and reminding him that a friend cannot be ungrateful. And when He realized that Peter has repented and when the latter revealed his repentance through love, the Lord restored the apostolic dignity which Peter had lost.

Friendship is a special aspect of love resulting from a union between two souls. It starts with harmony between two persons, and stabilizes when they are convinced that they share the same values which stem from God, for without God there could be no real and sincere affection. Without God, there would benefits, politics and exploitation; and those who exploit each other are a gang. Members of a gang betray each other. In this regard, the church is very tough regarding Judas during the Holy Week, for it calls him the betrayer.

Love links us to all people, serving them all regardless of any affection. We offer love to those who are in need of it, but we might forget them. As for friendship, it is a kind of love representing the fruit of a profound harmony in terms of vision, preferences and the common quest for a righteous issue.

Friendship is gratuitous. Neither of the two friends will feel that he owes the other. If a friend offers you a great affection and blessings, he would be thanking you for accepting and would not expect compensation. A friendship’s greatest affection is that it gives without recompense, for it does not imply sex or power. It is similar to God’s love for us. It does not involve judging the other’s thoughts or examining their intention, for it “believes all things.” And since it has no intent except in itself, it symbolizes purity and candor.

Its most significant comfort lies in the fact that it gets you out of your isolation. You might feel as if you are oppressed and exiled from others’ hearts. In such times, only your friend would be there for you. One of a friend’s main qualities is that he would defend you if you were attacked. Your friend should also act as the following description states: “Your friend is the one who is sincere with you and not the one who believes you.” Why does your friend tell you the truth? because he wants you to be fully right and not to be wrong. If he wants to mend you, he does not underestimate you like your enemies, but he would rather do it in a humble way for he does not consider himself better than you. He mends you for he knows you more that you do, and you cannot see your own self for it is veiled by blinding desire.

Your friend is the one who accepts you as you are, with all your weaknesses, but he undertakes before God to make you improve. And because you know his virtues, you will improve without worry for you have a resort you can count on in hardship. He does not expect any compensation, for you share everything. He has entered your heart so that there would be no difference between you and him, or between his money and yours. Also, when one of you borrows money from the other, you will know that if you spend your money or if he does, it is the same.

In view of the greatness of friendship, it should be nourished by attention and care, so that it becomes heaven on earth.

Translated by Amani Haddad

Original Text: “الصداقة” – Raiati no 41. 10.10.1999

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1999, Articles, Raiati

Mercy / 03.10.1999

The Gospel reading for today is a part of the Sermon on a plain, as described by Luke, which is parallel to the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Mathew. The part that constitutes the Gospel of toady starts as follows: “Just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” If you want goodness, justice, compassion and love for yourself, give the other all these. Hence, you are making him equal to you, just as God has made you equal to him. Before you love him, try to avoid all that harms him: mistrust, gossip, lying, slander, hatred and so on.

Afterwards, you show him goodness. Do not await anything from him. Expect abuse from many people, expect them to be unfair. Take the initiative and love them, so you shall advance and they shall be healed. Do not care if someone hurts you, for if you were highly sensitive, you will be hurt incessantly. Instead, you will feel sad for the other, and you will wonder why he did what he did.  Rare are those who can remain steadfast. If someone hurts you, do not forget that, first of all, he has hurt himself and has sinned. The Christ died for him, thus he is invaluable. You shall have one concern: to bring him back to the Lord so that he can be healed. His unfairness does not make you lose anything. Your value lies in you or in the Christ, and it can never be taken away from you despite all the harm you would encounter.

          No one can ever overthrow your peace. Only you can cause yourself to be in trouble, and only hatred can send you down to hell. You have to act and you must act, but by righteous means. Not by slander. You can argue, and defend your positions courageously and forcefully, yet in a peaceful manner. You oppose the other’s arguments, but you do not refuse him. You hate sins, not sinners; for God loves the sinners as He loves the righteous.

          You are a healer for those who hate you. You shall not take part in hatred. The solution is not to reject those who have hurt you, for this will erase neither your sadness nor their rancor. It is your responsibility to show your enemy the path back to God. For this reason, you shall neglect your hurt pride and get him reconciled not only with you, but also with himself and with God.

          Always remember that the liars and those who have an eager desire for money and distinction abhor you because of your fondness for the truth, for you threaten their interests. Being unable to kill you or fearing the punishment of crime, they have an alternative way to kill you; slander that drives you to despair of them and of life. If your sadness led to the rupture of your relations and to isolation, you would be giving them the chance to reach their goals and continue their transgressions. It is only through mercy that you can vanquish hatred and anger.

          This conclusion marks the ending of the Gospel reading: “Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” Jesus here sheds light on one of the aspects of God. It means that God is very lenient and that He welcomes all His sons. You shall not expel anyone away from your heart. Make it as wide as God’s heart.

Translated by Amani Haddad

Original Text: “الرحمة” – Raiati no40- 03.10.1999

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