- December 7, 1999
Apostolic benediction to our beloved Metropolitan (N) and on our spiritual children: the venerable chor-episcopii, esteemed priests, the reverend deacons and the respectful faithful...
Once again, God has given us the grace to celebrate Christmas—the Holy Feast of the Birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. St John the Apostle testifies: "In the beginning was the Word,... In Him was life, and that life was the light of men" (St. John 1:1,4). During his public ministry, our Lord Jesus Himself said, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (St. John 8:12). By His Incarnation He saved the world and enlightened us. He showed us the true way to life eternal. By word and example He taught us to live in peace and harmony by loving one another. He said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you that you also love another" (St. John 13:34). Yes, love is the key to life. Where there is love, there also will be forgiveness and peace. This means that when we love another, we are at peace with one another as well as with God. Our Lord has called us to quit a world with hatred and cruelty, and instead to follow him with the virtues of forgiveness and compassion to have a new civilization based on love. Our Lord Jesus, the Word Incarnate, came into this world to establish peace between God and man and between man and man. Before the Incarnation of our Lord the world was without peace; by His Incarnation, He brought peace to it. By His birth, He has also given us the blessing to be peacemakers following His example. This is the joy of Christmas. It fills our hearts and minds with peace.
With the feast of Christmas, we are approaching a new Millenium too. Our Lord commanded His disciples, "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you" (St. John 20:21). So, we have to continue and fulfill His mission in the troubled world. Let this be our goal for the new millenium. Let us spread the message of peace through love to all nations and peoples of the world. Let us all become worthy of the Beatitude of our Lord, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (St. Matthew 5:9).
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and happy New Year. May the peace of our Lord be with you this Christmas and throughout the New Year. We extend our Apostolic Blessings to you. May the grace of God be with you.
Our Father Who art in heaven, ...
Issued at our Patriarchal
house in Damascus, Syria
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|Last Update: December 26, 1999