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, October 28, 2016

My Joy with the Beloved

On Sunday October 23, I had the joy of participating with my beloved wife in two special events organized by Fr. Ibrahim El-Haddad and his team at Jesus the King Melkite Catholic parish.
First: In the noon Mass, Fr. Ibrahim prayed for the past parish council of which I was a member. We prayed with the parishioners for our beloved families and friends everywhere and received the Sacrament of penance or reconciliation followed by the great Sacrament of the Eucharistic body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Homsy choir performed some of the most majestic hymns in English, Greek, and Arabic and, for me, the choir leader who knew my preferred hymns made sure the choir sang the Lord's Prayer (Our Father) in the way that his dad of blessed memory devised it. At the end of the Mass too, the Great Kyrie-Eleison was performed with such triumphant tone that you would think that the angels in heaven were also singing with us.
Following the Mass, my wife and I were invited, along with other past parish council members and their spouses to Mazza restaurant where we were greeted by the elegant owner, who is also a member of the Melkite Catholic Church and an active member on the Board of Jesus the King Knights of Columbus Council. There we were joined by a group of choir members including the choir leader and his highly-active wife who participated in the preparation of the event and served everyone. Many other parishioners joined us as we enjoyed together this get-together day. Although most attendees of the dinner party had to register and pay, they did it with joy and generosity which, I believe, is characteristic of the people who lived in, or are originally from, the Middle East. In spite of loud speakers, I enjoyed  the folkloric dance "Dabke" in which many people, young and old including Fr. Ibrahim, participated. The fellow who performed musical tones along the recorded ones left a good impact on his listeners.
It was an early well-prepared dinner, that started with a prayer to God by the mouth of the parish pastor Fr. Ibrahim and continued with a voice message from Most Reverend Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim who is in charge of all Melkite Catholics in Canada. In his message, Bishop Ibrahim encouraged us and everyone in the community to continue the really-good work done over the past 20 years or so with Fr. Georges Farah principally who oversaw the purchase of the church and made significant contributions to our understanding of the meaning of life, and since the beginning of 2015 with Fr. Ibrahim El-Haddad, Fr. Michel Chalhoub, and Fr. Youhanna Hanna.
And I remembered the annual festival started by Fr. Georges Farah, the Catholicism Series which continue to be presented by Fr. Youhanna Hanna in addition to Fr. Youhanna's prayerful assistance to the sick which continues uninterrupted, and other talks by Fr. Michel Chalhoub, the weekly lectures in the hard questions of theology and philosophy that Fr. Georges Farah gave us, and the weekly lectures that I gave to the young adults and since 2008 to older generations too.
Following the voice message by Bishop Ibrahim, Fr. Ibrahim El-Haddad spoke of the good work and collaboration that he received from the past parish council members which continues today with his support. Fr. Ibrahim has also engaged teams of young adults to help the priests in teaching the children of the parish according to a program prepared by the Church authorities and, as far as I know, approved by Bishop Ibrahim. It is quite important that every bishop and priest provide the communication means to preserve our young adults and kids in the faith received from the Apostles.
Congratulations to the parish, the team who worked hard and the parish head for whom we thank God.
It was a day of joy with many of the beloved ones.

Monday, October 24, 2016

A Mother

“Humility is the mother of all virtues - purity, charity and obedience. It is in being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent. If you are humble, nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. If you are blamed, you will not be discouraged. If they call you a saint you will not put yourself on a pedestal.”
- Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is a saint because of her courage to take the adventure of following Christ. She was born in Skopje, now capital of the Republic of Macedonia, and raised within Kosovo Vilayet in the Ottoman Empire. We see in her story the effect of upbringing in a simple one family and of daring to go on pilgrimage to the shrine of the Black Madonna where she often prayed as a young woman. At the age of 18, Agnes who would become Mother Teresa made a more daring step - we could say she stepped out of Plato's cave - to the "New World" of England as she left her mother and sister. Her father had already passed away. As she landed in Rathfarnham in Ireland to join Loreto Abbey, the words of Peter to Christ rang "Lord, To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6: 68). She wanted to learn English, but the Lord destined her to use all her gifts for the destitute and   marginalized in India. From Macedonia all the way to India did not end there for she must tour the world to offer the services of love to the little ones and create homes for the unwanted. In 1937, she took her solemn vows and served as a teacher at the Loreto convent school near Calcutta until in 1946 Teresa experienced what she called "the call within the call" and in 1948 she began her missionary organization which Rome approved in 1950 calling it "the Missionaries of Charity". But where is her humility? She trusted God like a child as she continued to pray before the Blessed Sacrament although for 50 years she never felt his presence."Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18: 3). The most important message she gave was probably her acceptance speech of the Nobel Prize in 1979: If you listen to the entire speech you will notice how this woman and mother defends the unborn children. For more on her life see
Today I received a call from a beloved cousin in Lebanon. After expressing my joy for the great Mass we had yesterday at Jesus the King Church followed by the social party organized by Fr. Ibrahim El-Haddad and his team as well as the encouraging messages by Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim and Fr. Ibrahim (later on this), she told me about the miracle that she had in begetting her only boy through the intercession of another woman and mother, Saint Rita of Cascia, who was also the beloved saint of my beloved mother. Rita loved her husband even though he was unfaithful and loved her children praying for their salvation. On Saint Rita see: and 

Who is a woman? She is not simply the external beauty that men see, but the internal beauty that expresses her love to the beloved with tears. St. Paul expresses the mystical union of the Church to Christ as the relationship of the body to the head (1 Cor. 12: 27). The committed woman attracts her lover to possess her. Yet she receives his seed in order to beget his child.  A woman is the foundation of home because of the bond that bonds her to her children. A woman strives to beautify everything around her as they reflect the inner beauty that comes from God. She enjoys the family and celebrates the success of everyone of them putting herself at the service of others. Her tears flow when in joy or in pain as well as when she loses a beloved member of her family and friends. It is proven physiologically that oxytocin, a hormone released in sexual mating, works for bonding man and woman and more so for bonding the woman to her children. See

Fr. Henri Boulad, S.J. wrote that woman is the perfection of Man based on a proper reading of Genesis 2 in view of the development of life. Dr. Scott Hahn, founder of St. Paul Centre of Biblical Theology, portrays the first covenant of self-giving in the story of  Adam and Eve. And who else can tell us about the woman who is mother of all? Listen to Archbishop Fulton Sheen here:
It is a responsibility for Christians to open their ears to God's words for he always "knocks on the door" (Revelation 3: 20).

It is a message to Americans who are voting for the nominee for the presidential elections:
Who of the 2 candidates supports planned parenthood, abortion, and same-sex marriage?
Abortion, divorce, and same-sex marriage contribute to a childless society which means that there will hardly be any new generations that will grow, work, and pay taxes to support the infrastructure projects needed by society to survive.

Pray for America and the world!

Today's Quote

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


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