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

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." (Proverbs 3:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

According to the text, `We are the body of Christ and each of us is one of its members' (cf. 1 Cor. 12:27), we are said to be the body of Christ. We do not become this body through the loss of our own bodies; nor again because Christ's Body passes into us hypostatically or is divided into members; but rather because we conform to the likeness of the Lord's flesh by shaking off the corruption of sin. For just as Christ in His manhood was sinless by nature both in flesh and in soul, so we too who believe in Him, and have clothed ourselves in Him through the Spirit, can be without sin to Him if we so choose.

St. Maximus the Confessor, Second Century on Theology, Philokalia, V. 2