11.30.2017

Called to be Jesus

By Sr. Natalie Sayde Salameh

Called to be Jesus, the fulfillment of the Father’s will,
Called to die to the world, and my selfishness to kill.

Called to be love, in a world full of hate,
Called to be a beacon, who points to Jesus, the Gate.

Called to be light, in a world full of darkness,
Called to channel His grace, in great measure and starkness.

Called to be poor, so that others might be rich,
Called to mend fences, and this world to re-stitch.

Called to be weak, so that others might be strong,
Called to be peace, so that all may get along.

Called to be a chaste, in a world impure,
Called to live humbly, in a way quite demure.

Called to be justice in a world of deceit,
Called to be a lamb among wolves that howl and beat,

Called to be gentle, in a world which considers us weak,
Called to be hope, in a world dark and bleak.

Called to be faithful, in a world of infidelity,
Called to be a safeguard, against our vile enemy.

Called to be obedient in a world which sees us oppressed,
Called to be free and from sin dispossessed.

Called to be merciful in a world which shows none,
Called to be God’s mirror which reflects His Son.

Called to be forgiveness in a world that holds grudges,
Called to be upright in a world that lies and judges.

Called to be the Body that is broken and the Blood poured out,
Called to be Truth in a world full of doubt.

Called to be Jesus, the true light of our souls,
Called to love Him beyond measure, even when dragged over coals.

Called to be Jesus, so let us live up to our calling,
We need not fear He will catch us as we’re falling.

He will pick us up and lead us to heaven,

But in the meantime we are called to be the seed and the leaven.

11.23.2017

Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians


Our U.S. Bishops have asked for a “Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians” on Sunday November 26 to help people to reflect on the importance of religious freedom and being in prayerful solidarity with the plight of our suffering brothers and sisters in the world. 


The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light in our Saint Maron Chapel Convent (856 Tucker Rd Dartmouth MA) is open on Sunday November 26 from 2:00PM to 5:00PM. We will have exposition of the Most Holy Mysteries. We invite you to stop by and join us for prayer in our chapel. #SufferingInSolidarity 
Please consider dropping by for a few minutes or an hour of adoration.


Also, if you are are interested in resources to share on Christian persecution and religious freedom such as homily notes, prayers, recommended Aid agencies and materials for your parish, families, schools or youth and young adult ministry please visit www.usccb.org/middle-east-Christians 

"We must not resign ourselves to thinking of a Middle East without Christians, who for 2,000 years have confessed the name of Jesus, and have been fully integrated as citizens into the social, cultural and religious life of the nations to which they belong." -Pope Francis, 21 November 2013

11.17.2017

The Gift of Perpetual Profession of Vows


by Sister Therese Maria Touma, MSCL
 
“To do your will, O my God is my delight and your law is in my heart.” (Ps 30:8-9)

As I am preparing for my Perpetual Profession of Vows as a Maronite Servant of Christ the Light, I was grateful to receive a letter from a monk and friend of our community. In these encouraging words I was given the opportunity to further reflect on the gift of my religious profession. I read these words with joy and gratitude and saw them as a sign of God’s benevolent providence and love. In particular, I was sent three insightful words to ponder that are signified by the letters of the word vow:

V= Vision

As a religious I am reminded that I need vision not just to see the world from my eyes but “the ability to seek and look upon things that others don’t see, things that God reveals to us, and to see differently.” In order to see as God sees with his merciful eyes, I need to gaze upon Jesus, the lover of all people. In continuously contemplating and seeking Jesus, “the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrew 12:2), I will find all the virtues and graces I need to love like Jesus and live religious life in union with God.

O= Openness

If I am not open to listen and to be obedient, to receive the word of God and live it, to sacrifice my own will, I cannot truly imitate the obedient Christ, who humbled himself and personified obedience to the Father unto his death (Phil 2:8). As our friend wrote “Obedience resides not chiefly in the ears of our body but in the “ears” of our minds and hearts.” The key for true openness lies in opening the ears of my mind and heart to hear God’s voice, and to grow in interior freedom in order to completely offer myself, my entire will, as a “holocaust” of love to God. Our Maronite Servants’ Typicon #17 affirms: “Religious obedience is the fruit of love, and of an interior freedom borne of our divine relationship in following Jesus.”

W= Whole

In surrendering myself with confidence in his mercy, I am called to offer my whole self, body and soul, and all else to God. A beautiful excerpt that stood out to me from the letter on the significance of perpetual profession: “Thus you entered the state of perfection, when you made the offering and sacrifice of your whole self: the good of your body, by chastity; the goods outside your body, by poverty; and the good of your soul, by obedience. Your perpetual profession seals that offering for good. And by this, you will undo the damage of sin in a remarkable way.”

I am humbled by God’s invitation and in awe of this call to offer myself completely to God in religious profession as a Maronite Servant. In my spousal union with Christ, and through living out my vows in service to the Church, I am continuing the work of salvation in bringing souls to Jesus. This gift of consecrated life is a needed witness in our wounded world!


Join the sisters in giving thanks to God for the awesome gift of consecrated life in our Maronite Church! Please pray with us for an increase of vocations to our community and that young women will open their hearts to generously accept the invitation to follow Jesus as a religious sister. The Church needs more consecrated sisters to serve alongside our priests, and to share the healing light and love of Christ. We appreciate you sharing about our community especially with young women who are searching for their calling in life. For those ladies (ages 18 to 35) who are reading this and are interested in taking time away to discover God’s will for your life we invite you to consider joining us for a Discernment Retreat on April 6-8, 2018 at our Mother of the Light Convent in Dartmouth, MA. Please contact Sister Marla Marie for more information 508-996-1753 or sister@maroniteservants.org.  To learn more about our community and mission visit www.maroniteservants.org.

11.10.2017

LEBANESE CITIZENSHIP AND CHRISTIANITY IN LEBANON


 LEBANESE CITIZENSHIP AND CHRISTIANITY IN LEBANON 
As many of you know, at this moment in history the status of Christians and the very presence of Christianity in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East is under great pressure. It is important for Lebanon, with the largest percentage of Christians of any country in the Middle East, to maintain a vibrant and significant Christian presence and witness. Our Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Peter Rai, is asking those in a position to do so, to step forward and make a difference by helping to secure the role that Christians can play. 
On 24 November 2015, the Lebanese Parliament ratified the Lebanese Nationality Law which gives descendants of Lebanese immigrants the right to acquire or reacquire their Lebanese citizenship. “The Lebanese Nationality Program” is an initiative launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants for people of Lebanese heritage around the world in order to apply for Lebanese Citizenship and to benefit from their business, financial, consular, personal, social and political rights as Lebanese, wherever they are. In particular, this initiative is relevant for the large Lebanese communities in different countries all over the world. Through this law you can now find your story, connect to your roots, and claim you Lebanese citizenship. 
Among other advantages of acquiring or reacquiring your Lebanese citizenship and registering marriages and births in Lebanon, you will be able to vote for your preferred Lebanese politician, inherit property, reclaim any inheritances due you, and be exempt from the payment of taxes to Lebanon. More importantly, by obtaining your Lebanese citizenship, you will be helping to preserve both Christianity in Lebanon and the true cultural diversity that has always been a source Lebanese pride. Obtaining your Lebanese citizenship will not compromise or jeopardize in any way your American citizenship. 
This law is in effect for only 10 years and expires in 2025. 
You are eligible to participate in this program if your name or the name of any of your male ancestors is registered on the 1921-1924 emigrants’ or residents’ census or on the 1932 emigrants’ census. The 
application process has been simplified and can be started by checking your eligibility and completing and submitting the form found at the link, http://lebanity.gov.lb. To apply and check your eligibility, start by filling in the online application. A professional team will review your application and will notify you within 5 business day of your eligibility. Once you are considered eligible for Lebanese citizenship you will be asked to submit supporting documents such as Lebanese civil registry extract of your ancestors and marriage and birth certificates. Once your application is submitted you will be able to track your application through a mobile app. You will be notified about the status of your application at each step of the process. The process is free of charge and requires 6 to 12 months to be finalized. 
If you need assistance in applying and completing the forms, contact your pastor or the Project Roots coordinator in your parish or contact the Christian Lebanese Foundation in the World/Project Roots through their email, info@projectroots.net, or via telephone 917-755-0499. Help with applying for citizenship can be obtained through the following site, http://www.projectroots.net/registration-requests.html. 
As descendants of Lebanese immigrants, it is your right to claim your Lebanese citizenship and we encourage you to do so. We must work hand-in-hand to connect with our homeland and preserve our heritage. Let us step forward and make a difference. 
Sincerely yours in Christ, 
+ Gregory Mansour 
Bishop of the Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn 
+ A. Elias Zaidan 

Bishop of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles