Conventual Franciscans at the Synod for the Middle East

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Two Lebanese Friars of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual are present for the work of the Synod on the Middle East. One is Friar César Essayan, who was just elected Custos of the Friars in the Orient and Holy Land on October 7, 2010, and the other is Friar Jalil Canli Hadaya, Judicial Vicar of the Apostolic Vicariate of Beirut for the Latins, and the pioneer who brought the Order to Lebanon.

During the general gathering of October 14, Friar César gave the following intervention:

The Word of God, so dear to our Father Saint Francis, is the place for meeting face to face with Christ. It is there, in meditation and contemplation, that I join He who is “my Lord and my God”. He who reveals Himself to me and reveals myself to me and invites me to become “the new man”, which Saint Paul spoke to us about in his letters. This is coming into communion with God the Creator and Savior.

Unfortunately, our Christians do not know Christ and His Gospel well. They often use the wrong words to speak about God, and concepts filled with other beliefs. The examples of this are many and all converge on the same idea: we have false images of God. Therefore it is a fundamental issue to return to the Word of God. Because our whole life depends upon, whether we want this or not, our concept of God. And if God is relationship and communion in Himself, our divisions become the source of doubts, suffering and the faithful cannot but distance themselves from a Church that refuses within itself, forgiveness, reconciliation and communion.

Is it not time to walk together for the good of the People of God that are entrusted to us? What would it cost us to co-ordinate our efforts? Would it not be possible to also create indicatives common with our Orthodox brothers? Like for example, ‘Middle Eastern’ common initiatives for the young on the model of [World Youth Day]? Only when [young people] feel that the Church embraces and encourages them through the Pastors will they be able to be witnesses that God expects them to be.

Therefore, this is not a question of speaking about our Christians but about ourselves: up to what point are we willing to take the risk of the Gospel which invites us to love our enemies (who are our brothers)?....

“Have no fear”, Christ repeats and this Synod does as well, “for I am with you until the end of the world”.

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