CWN - Several Catholic Church leaders in Syria beg the US and other Western governments to stop supporting rebel groups, in a Catholic World Report article by Alessandra Nucci.

“Please help us to pull our country back from the abyss of the fundamentalist regime in which they are trying to immerse us,” says Archbishop Jean Clement, the Melike Catholic leader in Aleppo. Church leaders contend that support for rebel groups benefits the cause of Islamic jihadists.

“Just stop selling arms to the terrorists,” pleads Father Mtanios Haddad, a Melkite now serving in Rome. He elaborates: "Three things are needful: stopping the trade of arms from America (destined to the terrorists) closing Saudi Arabia’s wallet (which funds the terrorists) and closing the frontier with Turkey (through which come the terrorists)."

Eastern Catholics fear that Americans (and others in the Western world) have been given an inaccurate understanding of the fighting in Syria. “I think that those who control the information in the West have a political agenda,” complains Chaldean Catholic Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo.

Speaking for his Melkite flock, Archbishop Clement says: “The idea that one day a fundamentalist Muslim state might be imposed on their children is an unbearable nightmare to them.” Speaking then to the West, he continues: “This is why we turn to our brethren in the West and pray that they may help us prevent this from happening.”

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Teachings of Christ

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33 ESV)

Encounter

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

Random Proverb

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." (Proverbs 11:24 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The "principal characteristics" of the zealot according to knowledge are the following: "fervent love for God and neighbor, gentleness, religious tolerance, forbearance, graciousness of manner."