1994, Articles, Raiati

Sacred Patience / 16.10.94

Patience is not cowardice in the face of reality, or neutrality towards defects. The believer seeks to change the world. However, his preaching may take too long, and people may not listen to him if he testifies and talks. In fact, there is the factor of time, and we cannot possibly dictate the truth to the others. Why do those whom we try to guide insist on their sins? There is something Paul called “the mystery of lawlessness”, for no one knows when grace will come upon the one we pray for, or when  he will accept it. The spirit has both “wheat and weeds”, and you cannot always uproot weeds.

Apparently, most people remain in the evil state which they have been accustomed to while growing up. Moreover, true repentance is scarce, and all that you can do is to wait and love. This means that, in the parish and in the world, you live with people of different degrees of piousness and devotion. Hence, you have to accept them the way they are, for they are your brothers. And maybe their only chance of getting back to righteousness is to see your sense of fraternity and your tolerance of what annoys or shocks you about them. Some people may hurt you constantly because of a deep-rooted enmity or a pathological jealousy. They would be nervous when they see, and they might seek to humiliate you out of hatred and injustice. If you resent their attitude or return like for like, you will cause the rancor and trouble to increase. But you are capable of healing them through meekness and patience. God has chosen you to be the healer of that person who hurts you, just because you know his wound. God is the great healer, for He has the greatest patience. He awaits our return, He calls us to come back, but He does not compel us to be virtuous. He gives us time, hoping that the sin would “disgust” us one day, or that we would opt for Him and realize that our comfort lies in Him. Patience is based on hope. In confrontations, you need kindness and peace to tolerate impoliteness, abuse, maliciousness and intentional oppression. Accepting others as they are and with all their sins, starts by admitting that you cannot change anything about people if they did not change themselves. The New Testament teaches us about the patience of the Christ and saints. This is patience in Christ. If you are in Christ, you have no spite, petulance, indignation, slapping, or reaction. You would rather retreat and recognize the truth in order to get out of the darkness in you.

Patience is not about saying that you are doomed to live with this or that, but rather thanking God that you live with whomever you live with, for if you were patient with them, you will save yourself and them, and you will be kind so that they can see God. God has made a time for the salvation of mankind, followed by the Kingdom, and He also prepared a way for every one of us to be saved. You shall accompany the other throughout all the steps he needs in order to understand and rejoice.

Translated by Amani Haddad

Original Text: “الصبر المقدّس” – Raiati no 42-16.10.94

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1994, Articles, Raiati

Nude Clothing / 17.07.94

I wrote about demure clothing in churches, especially at weddings, but in vain. Now I wonder whether our young and middle-aged ladies are neglecting this aspect of their chastity which requires demure clothing in all places. In fact, purity is necessary not only in religious buildings but also in all venues and on the streets. The pretext, of course, is that our weather is hot, although men also suffer from this hot weather, and nobody died because of the heat. And when we ask “why this nudity?”, we hear the shocking answer “this is fashion”, as if women are doomed to slavery to fashion.

We are not against women’s beauty. But does beauty mean that women have to be provocative for those who look at them? They are certainly aware that they are exposing their beauty, and they are seeking to draw attention as well, which includes causing obscene imagination for men. Aren’t women responsible for their male companions? According to what I heard from some young ladies, I know that mothers sometimes urge their daughters to wear indecent clothes. So our ethical situation is worse than I thought.

It is not a matter of fashion, because people are saying that there is a different fashion trend this year. Thus women wearing short clothes are following last year’s fashion. So this clothing style is based on an intention to be provocative, and on the perception that sexual arousing is a good thing that gives body pride for the young lady and lets the young man be subjugated so that she feels he is a slave to her. Is this a kind of revenge for the chastity that men have required from women since the dawn of time to control them? Studies show that men wanted to dominate women; then women tried to reverse this situation and take control. Do relationships between humans have to be shaped as master-slave? Did women feel that they are in bondage, and they wanted consequently to make men slaves to them?

I agree that women do not think in such a complex way. But isn’t this pattern of thinking inherent in us? Aren’t they mounting this challenge as if they were saying: you wanted to enslave me, and now I want to enslave you? Dare to resist if you were a man. If the young or middle-aged lady said: “this is not how I think”, then this would be a disaster. And if she thought and resolved, then it would be a total disaster. The disaster lies in the fact that many people consider that the body is separated from the personality, which means that it does not represent a human relationship anymore, and it became a spot of contact between flesh and flesh, or eyes and flesh.

The greatest disaster is that we hear some non-Christian citizens saying: nearly-nude women are Christians, and Christian women are characterized by indecent clothing. Where do some of our women stand on the Lord’s words: “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart”? How do our indecent young ladies want men not to commit adultery in their eyes? Don’t we have a girl or lady that would say: I am a person having a soul and a body; my contact with people is, first and foremost, a spiritual one that would be damaged by arousing instincts? If my soul was gracious and sublime, I will be loved. Then, I would know that the person who is fond of me appreciates my qualities. His heart would be attracted to me; and if our hearts met, our bodies will definitely meet within a pure relationship that we, the Christians, call “marriage”. For us, marriage is not about surrendering to a body; it is an act of accepting the body of a girl to whom we are engaged in an eternal commitment.

Beauty paves the way for the meeting; but debauchery is not a meeting. Whoever wants only a body knows that there would always be a more beautiful one. As for those who seek a union based on uniqueness, on internal magnificence and on one sincere commitment, they would be more faithful. All generations have tasted beauty, but they have also tasted the soul. Why would this generation be contented with bodies and clothes partially hiding them? Has the soul vanished and nobody has patience anymore to wait for a sublime meeting? More surprising is the fact that some married women are not more decent than single ones. After vowing to make her body a means of communication between her and her husband, which means that her body would be only for her husband who seeks the heart lying inside, why would the married woman expose her body to voracious eyes as if she was available to all, and not to one partner only? I want to be convinced.

Translated by Amani Haddad

Original Text: “الأزياء العارية” – Raiati no29 –

Translated by Amani Haddad

Original Text: “الأزياء العارية” – Raiati no29 – 17.07.94

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1994, Articles, Raiati

The Majority and the Minority /19 June 1994

Some people are keen on being present in other’s eyes, in their admiration, while very few seek to be present in God’s eyes and satisfaction. Some people are eager to be respected for what they show and spend, while others try to respect people through their politeness, attention, and care, without looking for any reward or credit. Some cause distress, hurt, are arrogant and impose their authority and power; whereas some hide until God’s wrath ceases, and pray for others if they failed to advise them. Some offer affection, while others seek affection and they would blame and punish others if they did not give them as much as they want.

Some are present if they are forgotten, and most are present if they are revered, praised and supported. Some fear God, and most are frightful. Some exercise the power of love, while most exercise the power of vigor. Some are wealthy by their poverty, and most are poor by their wealth. Some believe that the more far they are, the closer they get to God, and many think that their manifestation enables them of existing.

Some people eat a lot and drink due to the fear of death, and few do not eat or drink much because they fear God. Few pray for they believe in salvation, while most do not pray deeply because they are content with themselves. Few see beauty everywhere, and most perceive the prevalence of ugliness. Most reveal weaknesses of others to avoid seeing their own, and few hide the weaknesses because they know nothing is hidden before the Lord. Few do not talk much for fear of gossip, while most gossip because they refuse to reform themselves. Most are furious because they do not love, while few love in silence. The irate has no peace, and the meek has a purified soul. Some might think that their furor can help them prove their rights, while some live in an everlasting sympathy for they believe that it can heal their souls and protect others from their anger.

The majority brags because they have no deepness, whereas the deep people opt for silence for they are looking for repentance. The majority entices to control, while the minority chooses to be decent because they look for divine satisfaction. The majority wants to attract everyone’s attention, whereas the minority tries to avoid glory. Many organize sumptuous banquets to be known for their generosity, while others have few banquets, because they hate excessiveness. Many people believe that lavishness makes them more respectful, whereas those who do not spend much save their money for those who are in need. The majority gives to be known, and the minority gives to be known by God.

Many discuss to be known for their intelligence, while those who are really intelligent do not discuss much. Many show their knowledge so that others know they are cultivated, while those who have extensive knowledge do not talk much, and are rather reticent.

The majority is proud of their deeply rooted families, while few recognize the grace of God on them and their families. The majority is fanatic about their families because they are fanatic about themselves, and the minority is modest about their lineage. Most people are tribes, and have tribal feuds, and few yearn for divine compassion. The majority wishes to have a high rank in life, and the minority seeks divine forgiveness to be present in the Kingdom only. The majority is superficial, and the minority is deep. The majority lives in illusions, and the minority asks for the reality. The majority is motivated by the glare of their world, and the minority longs for a glare from above. The majority is made of bodies, while the minority is made of faces. The majority is nurtured by the desire, while the minority is nourished by austerity. The majority is trivial, and the minority lives in the world of meanings. The majority is from the world, and the minority is from God.

Translated by Amani Haddad Original Text: “الأكثرية والأقلية”

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1994, Articles, Raiati

Bribery / 09.01.94

Sacred laws are very strict for he who buys his ordination for money, so that he would “put to sale a grace which cannot be sold, and for money ordain a bishop, or chorepiscopus, or presbyters, or deacons… let him who is convicted of this forfeit his own rank; and let him who is ordained be nothing profited by the purchased ordination or promotion; but let him be removed from the dignity or charge he has obtained for money” (Canon 2 of the Council of Chalcedon in year 451).

The ethical rule states that anyone should deserve a position in order to obtain it. The second rule stipulates that anyone in charge of a job shall fulfill it and content themselves with their salary. As for the ones who earn low pay, the society as a whole is responsible for them, as well as philanthropists. They should not ask for a certain amount of money as a condition to carry out the job, for it is a duty based on the concept of serving the citizens who have a right to be respected by those in charge of delivering the work; a right that must not be compromised. Whoever accepts a position within the governmental sector – whether it is a high-ranking position or a law-ranking one – has a responsibility to serve all people, especially the poor who should not be extorted and whose interests should not be ignored.

Every service is provided gratis, and the political community provides for those who are at its service. The government may default, especially in times of hardship. This situation requires us to strive for raising salaries or curbing price hikes. Society is based on justice, and this includes being fair to those in positions of responsibility. Before this war, we knew judges who lived in poverty, died and left nothing. Humanity also knew senior rulers in the past whose families did not inherit anything from them after their death. Those are greats in the church and in the world, who lived in severe austerity and did not defile themselves by ill-gotten money.

If you encounter an employee who fails to meet your rightful demands, you should urge upon them or their superior, to fulfill their duty. You can wait, but you should not sin. There is no worse than the senior or junior employee who is tempted to be bribed and who relies on gifts, for the gift weakens the will of the person in charge who accepts it, and makes them do a dishonest action. It is because some actions harm one of the citizens that they are forbidden by laws, in any field of community life. And employees who do illegal actions are aware that they are harming someone or the government which represents the entire society.

The judge who seeks a gift or who is promised to receive one will issue a judgment that is unfair to one of the parties. And the physician who gives a false report harms the institution to which the fake patient belongs. And those who give a wrong statement harm at least themselves for they undermine themselves, become cowards, and do not teach people honesty.

Ministers, deputies or politicians in general, fail to love their country if they accept bribery, because they would say what they wanted them to say, and they would keep silent on an unjust law and an unfair political position. Desire of money can lead to high treason.

Without virtue, who can defend the oppressed? Who protects the country from infringements if it weren’t for groups of pure people whom money does not tempt? Who would say we want in the church a righteous and pure bishop who would be a great teacher, if bribery was spread among those in charge? Who is the orthodox man who would ensure the safety of his family if spiritual judges are tempted to receive gifts? How can a judge consider a lawsuit carefully according to the laws if one of the litigants promised to offer him money?

“The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil”, as Paul taught us. It ruins the society, the church, the government and the conscience. With your integrity, you can encourage those who are in charge to be honest also. Lebanon will be established only by pure people. The Lebanese will have no value if they did not learn that some things should not be done, and sometimes “there isn’t a way out”. The truth on which we insist in every responsibility is God Himself.

Translated by Amani Haddad

Original Text: “الرشوة” – 09.01.94- Raiati no2

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