(from Beirut) “How can you talk of peace when some are fuelling wars in the Region? What are the consequences of the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen? Only death, hatred, and violence! Where is the democracy that some wanted to bring? We see nothing but desolation. Despite everything, I believe we can still hope and live in dignity and respect”. Father Paul Karam, President of Caritas Lebanon, said this yesterday as he met a group of delegates from some Italian Diocesan Caritas on their solidarity visit to Lebanon promoted by Caritas Italy. “Lebanon – the Maronite priest said – can no longer pay the bills of other people’s wars unleashed on our borders” – a clear reference to the conflicts in Iraq and Syria which have pushed into the Country of the Cedars over one million Syrians and countless Iraqis, who add their numbers to the decades-long presence of Palestinians. It is estimated that one third of the Lebanese population is made up of refugees, with serious social, political and economic repercussions for the country. And their numbers are rising. According to Father Karam, “in the first half of 2017 alone, 170 thousand children were born to refugee families. These children have no rights or citizenship, they are born invisible”. Father Karam explained that Caritas “is trying to do its utmost to meet the needs of both local and refugee populations with dedicated projects, also thanks to the support of other bodies such as Caritas Italy. The Lebanese have increasingly been the focus of our projects. Indeed, recent studies have shown that about 35% of Lebanese people live below the poverty line. And the conditions of Palestinian refugees are also worsening”. To revive its aid programs, Caritas Lebanon has launched a Lenten campaign based on three actions, to “help, donate and support, where material aid goes hand in hand with sharing and spiritual support. Let us not be fooled by large buildings, by shopping malls full of lights, by building sites that churn out luxury apartments”, the President of Caritas said. “Many of these, approximately 60%, are owned by businessmen from the Gulf countries. Here in Lebanon, the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer. The middle class no longer exists. Young couples struggle to get married, to find a home and a job. Were it not for the remittances of the approximately 18 million Lebanese of the diaspora, Lebanon today would be on the verge of bankruptcy. Families live on the aid they receive from their relatives abroad”.

https://agensir.it/quotidiano/2018/2/21/lebanon-father-karam-caritas-the-country-can-no-longer-pay-the-bills-of-other-peoples-wars/


Teachings of Christ

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)

Ascension

You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, * granting joy to Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit; * through this blessing they were assured * that You are the Son of God * the Redeemer of the world! (Troparion)

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

When You fulfilled the divine plan for us * and united things on earth with things in heaven, * You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, * in no way departing from us but remaining inseparable, * and crying out to those who love You: “I am with you, and no one is against you.” (Kontakion)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not lose sight of these — keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul." (Proverbs 3:21,22a ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved. 

St. John Chrysostom