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FR. ANDRE MAHANNA said 3/11/2013 8:34:37 AM :
Saturday March 9- 2013 Vol 2

A Christian Perspective On The Violence In Syria And The Middle East:
Both Humanity And The Land Where Christ Was Born, Are Under Attack Of Evil.

As far as for a potential “Middle East Humanitarian Assistance Project”, any person who has great compassion and is moved by love and support to stop the unceasing violence there, would be a great person and is mostly appreciated.
However, beyond the material help or emotional support, It is my hope to grow with a clear spiritual vision of what is the Middle East, and why is it important for us to help realizing peace and reconciliation right in this “Tribal place” (as false prophets would miss-call it).
Such a vision should be born and is initiated by our belief as Christians in the World: Satan makes sure that the place of the Birth of Christ called the king of peace, of love and of reconciliation, will be always disturbed and tested by hatred, by violence by injustice and by death and wars.
Our job is first to help people who live in the Middle East see that their true enemy is the devil and not man, nor the neighbor. WE must assist them to realize that what they are going through depends in fact on the fact that they are good souls, good people and not “Tribal People as the devil and his army are trying to advertise. Their faith and love to Christ and their adoration to His Father and Holy Spirit in Truth and heart are the real and most efficacious weapon they could rage to stop bold shedding, evil and unjustified death.
We need to encourage these people to hold steadfast to their faith, to seek more and more true forgiveness, love, unity and peace.
Our mission is also to let all people in America and the world know that the Middle East represents the place where Heaven chose and once for all to enter into contract and covenant with earth. A covenant of peace and Immortality. A covenant for the purpose of salvation and freedom.
Heaven wanted to make sure Earth will respond to its initiative of peace, and it was that in the Middle East and exchange of gifts of security and trust took place to confirm the pact between both. As Saint Ephrem (373 A.D.) once said: “For Earth told Heaven: Lucky you, You have God; And Heaven Told Earth in response: Blessed are you for you have a mother. Give me your mother I give you God”. This at once eternal and historic commitment between earth and heaven took place in the Middle East for a reason. It is called the Holy Land for a reason, from there, all the blessings of heaven configured in Christ were given, and all grace on earth in the Virgin Mary was realized. The main purpose was and is still to give peace and to open up the gate to eternal life.
We cannot and we must not let these people over there live as if they are orphans. Their war is not against seen enemies it is indeed as Saint Paul said: Against the unseen principalities of this world. Consequently we must find a way to support them because they are like Peter: the rock on whose faith, hope and love the whole world depends. If they go under depression and evil, the whole world will fall under violence and death. On the other hand, If we help them to live in peace and accord, the entire world will flourish in joy and salvation.

Fr. Andre Y-Sebastian MAHANNA S.T.L.
March 9- 2013

Fasting According to the Maronite BOOK OF GUIDANCE
from the 11th Century (1059 A.D.)

March 7, 2013 Vol 1
The 10th chapter of the third part of the BOOK OF GUIDANCE speaks about the law for fasting. The first paragraph states that man is formed of body, of mind, and of soul. God, who is called “His Most Holy Name,” decided to educate man in all of these capacities for the sake of transferring him from his finite life into immortal life.

How does God do this? Through a combination of principles, one of which is that God imposes obligations, albeit for the purpose of showing His mercy. Consequently, God ordered the precepts of fasting and almsgiving on the body, the precept of faith on the mind, and the precept of prayer on the soul. God also provides guidelines for fasting and for almsgiving.

Regarding almsgiving, it is prescribed that man give 10 percent of his money, as is taught in the Bible. Yet on the precepts of fasting, man is asked to offer physical mortification and sacrifice by abstaining from food and drink for forty days out of the 360 each year (according to the author), nearly 9 percent of the days of the year.

Such an introduction lays the theological foundation for fasting as an obligation coming from God Himself, clearly distinct from being a punishment, a penance, or associated with sin. We are not making retribution for something we have done wrong. Rather, God is teaching us to detach ourselves from what is not perpetual so that we can see his goodness and, through the precept of mortification, accept his gift of immortal life. Consequently, the children of Adam are called mortals or “earthly beings.” This is why at the beginning of Lent, people are anointed with ashes and are told “remember man, you are dust and unto dust you shall return.”

Fasting defeats this verdict of death and disintegration; with fasting and in the sacrifice of Christ, we remember that we are dust and to dust we shall return, yet we will be born anew into Eternal Life. Fasting lightens up the body; it lifts the body from the heavy burden of the gravity of the earth to bring us closer to the world of the Spirit where the Word of God is the true food. As such, God’s precepts invite the human will to a responsible action, fasting, and defeats the mortality that is in our body. Through mortification of our senses and our body and our mind and our soul (through fasting, almsgiving, faith and prayer), God plants in us the seeds of immortality, His Nature, Divine.

Consequently, fasting is the antidote, the vaccination, to heal humans from their earthly desires, the original sin of Adam and Eve. They saw the fruit, they desired it, they ate it, it made them heavy, and they fell. God, in His great mercy, through the precept of fasting, undoes the curse of death as an end that takes us into the earth and transforms it, in the Fasting, Death, and Resurrection of Christ, into a gate to enter into Eternal Life.

Fasting is not about guilt, self-consciousness, and false penance. It is about seeing what is eternal and preparing our bodies to be a part of this eternity, with God. It is called the perfect fasting, for nobody looks at what is perfect and continues to do what is imperfect. This is the fasting of Moses, the Prophets, the Hermits, the Fathers of the Church, and the Saints. Through faith, obedience and trust in the precepts of God, they left earth and all its deceptive food and goods to join Heaven: the true EARTH.

Fr Andre Y- Sebastian MAHANNA, S.T.L.

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