Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bishop Ibrahim: How to build the Church

We asked Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim, Bishop of the Melkite Catholic Church in Canada, how he was able to build the Cathedral in Montreal which cost $10 million dollars. The answer came with a story of a visit he made to the pastor of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the area Fr. Arsanios. The late priest said to Most Reverend Ibrahim that when he wanted to build the church, he was faced with an impossible task: the Church council objected to the project that would cost $6 million when they had only $36,000. The bank told the priest that a loan was not justifiable. Then Rev. Arsanios said to the bank and the council: My father is very rich – He will supply. The remark about “Our Father in heaven” ringed in our ears. “Since I felt that faith I have never lost it – I am never worried.” The impeccably enthusiastic bishop said last night at Jesus the King Church. Here he was teaching the flock! Everything we have is a gift from God, he resounded. “Everyone is given talents which can and should be invested to serve the other – Not only bishops or priests are called to the priesthood; for we all have a share in the priesthood of Christ” echoing the authentic teaching of the Church expounded in Vatican II. Then, in a moment of sheer greatness - the greatness of humility, he turned to the parents and to the young youth who came to hear him and said in a bold voice: It is true that the Church needs the youth, but it is also true that the youth need the Church. “Without you the Church will have no future, but remember too that without the Church you will have no future.” A silent moment went on as if I was gazing into eternity! Then Bishop Ibrahim gave the final word that every young Christian must remember and every parent must teach his children. He said “We are not a social club but the Apostolic Church that fed many generations for 2,000 years – There is absolutely no comparison between what each one of us can give and what the mother of all has given and continues to give!” This was a word that we all needed to hear. Bishop Ibrahim built the Church by establishing many activities for the young and the younger then built the Cathedral. He said his dream is to build the Melkite Church, a strong Church, everywhere there are Melkites in Canada, that will carry the great tradition into this land. This was indeed a word that we all needed to hear. It is up to this community to remember his word, cherish it, and invest her talents to enthusiastically build the Church. By the way, enthusiasm comes from the original “en” which means “within” and “Theou” which means “God.” The enthusiasm which Bishop Ibrahim expressed meant he carried within him “God!”

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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