In his pastoral letter for Christmas, Patriarch John X of Antioch sent a message of hope, consolation and trust. The Divine Infant brings hope and trust, and we are called to welcome Him with the gifts of our good deeds in favour of those in need.
“In the night of the present times, here comes the Child in the cave as a Ray of light that darkness cannot overcome,” wrote Patriarch John X. “He comes to us in days where the whole humanity moans under the yoke of the pandemic and looks up to the Master of hope that He may remove with His “easy yoke” all its burdens.”
This “Child Who could not find a place on the couches of thrones, and so He chose the womb of the Virgin as His throne.”
“He came and took all humankind in His arms, and has been doing so at all times, since Adam. He comes today as a little child in the heart of the cave.”
“Today, we are called to welcome the Child in the cave with the gold, frankincense, and myrrh that we give to our poor, worried, and displaced brother, whose face reflects the countenance of Jesus.”
“Today, we are called to embody the gifts on Nativity in works of benevolence and charity that emanate the fragrance of satisfaction and gratitude before the Lord.”
“Today, we are called to receive Him in our hearts that shine as pure as gold when they look at the neighbour in need. Thus, by their compassion, they attract the mercies of the Lord of Heaven, the Child of the cave.”
In his message, the Patriarch of Antioch prays for the peace and health of the entire world and for the medical staff, also remembering the departed.
“We ask the mercies of the Divine Child to the entire world. We ask Him for mercy to those who died in this pandemic. We ask Him, the Physician of souls and bodies, to accompany our brothers the doctors, and other medical and service personnel in facing this difficult circumstance. We ask Him to help and console the broken hearts and to lift this plight from His world.”
Patriarch John also remembered the kidnapped Archbishops of Allepo, John Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi.
“We set before the whole world with its international and local organizations, their case, which is a mere sample of the ordeals that befall the people of this East. We pray for their release and their return with every kidnapped and missing person. The bitterness of the kidnapping is only aggravated by the bitterness of obscuring the file and leaving it for oblivion, or simply ignoring it, unfortunately even overlooking its very occurrence.”
“We pray for the Child in the cave to touch with His heart this wounded world and to hold in His tender embrace the souls of the departed, who preceded us towards His mercies, in the hope of resurrection and eternal life. We ask Him, at the beginning of the New Year, to grant peace to His world and mute with the power of His silence the noise and threat of wars.”
Photography courtesy of Facebook / Antioch Patriarchate
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