By Natalie Salameh
On Sunday, May 18, Mother Marla Marie addressed the congregation of Our Lady of Lebanon Church in Washington DC, and updated them on the various developments that have occurred in recent times to the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light. Many parishioners remembered Mother Marla Marie, and recollected how she had begun her mission in that very parish in 2008 as the foundress of a new community of religious women for our Maronite Church. The parishioners were delighted to see the growth of our community, and the fruits of their prayers.
On Monday, May 19, the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light were able to enrich and deepen their knowledge of the Maronite tradition by attending class with Chorbishop Seely J. Beggiani, former rector of our Maronite seminary.
Chorbishop Beggiani was gave the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light greater insight into our Syriac spirituality, with a particular focus on Syriac sacramental theology. In the East, we call the “sacraments” of the Church, “mysteries.” As Chorbishop stated, the fact that the Maronites call the sacraments, mysteries is indicative of the spirituality of our Syriac Church Fathers, such as St. Ephrem. In our Syriac Spirituality, God is “Mystery”. But God, the Infinite and Hidden One, wants to be known by us, as far as He can be known. According to St. Ephrem, God is revealed in His creation and His scriptures, because He has poured Himself and His love into the objects of His creation, and so holy things surround us.
For instance, we learned that the symbolism of our rite of Chrismation comes from Jesus being anointed by the Holy Spirit before the beginning of His public ministry. We are therefore chrismated (anointed by the Holy Spirit) in order to begin our lives of public witness and ministry of the Gospel. We were very grateful to Chorbishop Beggiani for taking time to explain and teach us about the Mysteries of our Maronite Tradition, so that we, in turn, may be able to share this wealth of knowledge with our people in our mission of catechesis.