The Soul Alone with God Alone - Retreat Reflection

 By Sr. Natalie Sayde Salameh

The Sisters strive to radiate the light of the Christ.
The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light recently completed their annual week-long silent retreat (May 14 – 21) at the Mother of the Light Convent. The theme of this year’s retreat was “In the Footsteps of St. Sharbel in our Syriac Spirituality”, and was preached by Fr. James Doran, Administrator of St. Joseph Maronite Church in Waterville, Maine. A theme of the conferences was the Syriac concept of lhoodoyo or yihidoyo (translated: the alone or the solitary).
In Syriac spirituality, the term lhoodoyo or yihidoyo refers to “the soul alone with God alone”, this concept of standing alone before the Divine Light in order to arrive at complete inner stillness or quietude. The soul is completely, utterly and resolutely single-minded in its pursuit of the Hidden One. Creation, and all things created, are simply shadows or reflections of the One being sought, and therefore should lay no claim on any of our affections or attachments.     

Naturally, of course, this quest for solitude with God by our ancient Syriac and desert fathers was always coupled with reticent lips, that is, with silence. The fathers stressed not merely external silence such as freedom from surrounding noise, but more importantly, inner silence from the many thoughts and distractions that flood our minds. We see this so beautifully depicted in the life of our great solitary, St. Sharbel.

Why all the solitude and silence? What is the goal of this yihidoyo? To put on the Great Yihidoyo, God himself in the Person of Christ. The answer lies in our Divine Liturgy.

In our Maronite Divine Liturgy, the priest performs a beautiful rite after the Intercessions, known in our Maronite missals as the Fraction, Signing, Sprinkling, Mingling, and Elevation. The priest is given the option to perform this rite in English, Arabic or Syriac. The words used in Syriac for the Signing portion of this rite are quite profound and mention the only Son using this Syriac word of yihidoyo. As the priest dips the Body of Christ in His Precious Blood, he prays:

bshem abo + hayo lhaye. (In the name of the Father +, the Living One, for the living;)
wdabro + yihidoyo wqadisho yaldo dmeneh wakhwoteh hayo lhaye. (and of the only Son+, the Holy One, begotten of him, and like him, the Living One, for the living)
In this excerpt, Christ is the Great Yihidoyo, beloved by the Father as His only Son, and the radiance of the Father’s eternity. The great solitaries, St. Charbel being just one of them, sought in their silence and solitude to put on the solitary likeness of Christ, to become (plural) yihidoyoe. This is a most profound and important concept that we must all learn and apply in our everyday lives, lay or religious, married or celibate. Our sole attachment, our sole preoccupation, our sole goal, our sole desire should be to seek in single-mindedness the face and will of the Hidden One, observed and discerned in His creation at every moment of every day.


Pilgrimage to Fatima Shrine in Holliston, MA

Pilgrimage to Fatima Shrine in Holliston, MA

To commemorate the Centennial  Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima, the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light facilitated and led a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Holliston, MA on Sunday, May 21st. The Shrine is maintained by the Xaverian Missionaries in the U.S.A. We were joined by families from St. Anthony of the Desert parish as we prayed the rosary at a beautiful outdoor shrine. This Shrine has an enormous rosary made of very large stones, held together by a chain donated by the U.S. Navy. On each of the large stones, appears the “Hail Mary” prayer written in different languages. Following the rosary, we gathered together in the  Church where Fr. Rocco offered Exposition and Benediction of the Holy Mysteries, and we offered Maronite Evening Prayer (Ramsho).


Say “Yes” to Mary Day of Prayer – Celebrating Fatima’s 100th Anniversary

By Sister Natalie Sayde
On Saturday, May 6, the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light participated in a morning of recollection on the key theme and message of Our Lady of Fatima. This year is the Centennial anniversary of the apparitions, and the morning was presented and facilitated by the “Living The Fatima Message” Group at Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River. 
The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light were asked to be exhibitors at this event, where we were able to meet many people and show case our charism. The morning was absolutely beautiful, and included adoration and confession; the recitation of a living Rosary in a number of different languages; a Rosary-making workshop; a play put on by Mrs. Elizabeth Montigny on the life of the Blessed Mother as depicted in the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.
The keynote speaker was Fr. Thaddeus Lancton, MIC,  (Divine Mercy Shrine, Stockbridge, MA) who spoke on the fundamental message of Our Lady of Fatima as being a call to penance and conversion. Mary echoes her Son, who began His preaching ministry with the call to “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Mt 3:2).
Fr. Thaddeus described how in one of the apparitions, Mary showed the three children a vision of Hell, and how the children were absolutely horrified by the sight. Mary said, Pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to make sacrifices for them.” (Our Lady, August 19, 1917). Following this vision, the children began not only accepting the daily penances that came to them in the form of ridicule and persecution, often by their own families as a result of these apparitions, but also taking on additional sacrifices. After what they had seen in Hell, they said that all they had to endure here on earth seemed light in comparison to the suffering and torment of that dark place.
This is fundamentally Our Lady’s Call, to say “Yes” to God in our everyday lives in what He chooses to send us, rather than rebel against His will. Fr. Thaddeus gave some very tangible examples of what penances Mary had in mind. For example, if we’re stuck in a traffic jam, to accept it and offer it as a sacrifice to God, rather than curse and rage. If our spouse is doing something to annoy us, to respond with patience and love, rather than with our usual anger and sharp retorts. These are the sacrifices that Mary wants from all of us, and through them all her Immaculate Heart will triumph.

“Jesus wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. I promise salvation to those who embrace it.” (June 13, 1917)


You became the Mediator

SEDRO (from the Thursday Safro prayers)
O Christ,
we give you thanks, for by your resurrection you became the Mediator between God and man.
We were enemies, weighed down by a debt which has no equivalent
and which we had no hope of repaying.
Our sins weighed us down,
and we had neither the strength nor the means to erase them.
But your mercy came to us,
your love cleared a path for us.
You stretched out your hand toward us
and became man to bear all our sins,
cancel our entire debt,
redeem us at the precious price of your blood,
save us through the marvelous instrument which is your cross, and to grant us, through your resurrection, the hope
of our own rising and the promise of every blessing.
Without you there would be no mediator;
the light of hope would not have shone in our night
and it would not have arisen from our despair.
We would still be deep in sin and the most miserable of men!
But thanks be to God who, through you,
saved us from death.
Praise be to your love which atoned for our sins;
to you be glory and praise,
now and for ever. Amen.