Pope Francis' Christmas Mass and Message to the City and to the World (Urbi et Orbi).

“I take up the song of the angels who appeared to the shepherds in Bethlehem on the night when Jesus was born. It is a song which unites heaven and earth, giving praise and glory to heaven, and the promise of peace to earth and all its people.” In his traditional Urbi et Orbi Christmas message, Pope Francis dwelt on the announcement of the angels to the shepherds of Bethlehem: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours (Lk 2:14).

“Above all else,” the Pope said, Christmas calls us “to give glory to God, for He is good, He is faithful, He is merciful.” He prayed that all people would come to know “the true face of the God the Father, who has given us Jesus.” And he encouraged everyone to glorify God by spending their lives “for love of Him and of all our brothers and sisters.”

The majority of the Holy Father’s message was taken up with the theme of “Peace to mankind.” Pope Francis reminded us that “true peace . . . is not a balance of opposing forces,” a façade hiding conflicts and divisions. Rather “peace calls for daily commitment . . . starting from God’s gift, from the grace which He has given us in Jesus Christ.”

He called to mind children who are victims of wars, the elderly, battered women, the sick. He made particular mention of those affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria, and called on the Lord to help all sides of the conflict “to put an end to all violence and guarantee access to humanitarian aid.” Recalling the power of prayer, he expressed his happiness that followers of different religions were all praying together for peace in Syria; he also invited non-believers “to desire peace with that yearning that makes the heart grow: all united, either by prayer or by desire. But all of us, for peace!”

In his remarks he also spoke about the Central African Republic, asking the Lord to bring peace to that country. He looked to South Sudan, praying that the Lord would “foster social harmony” in that land. Pope Francis invoked the “Prince of Peace” to lead people to give up their arms and “undertake the path of dialogue,” mentioning especially Nigeria and the Holy Land. And he prayed the God would “heal the wounds of the beloved country of Iraq, once more struck by frequent acts of violence.”

The Holy Father also asked God to “protect all who are persecuted for your name” and prayed for peace and consolation for the displaced and for refugees, especially in the Horn of Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. And he expressed the hope that “tragedies like those we have witnessed this year, with so many deaths at Lampedusa, never occur again.”

He prayed the “Child of Bethlehem” to “touch the hearts of all those engaged in human trafficking,” which he called a crime against humanity. Pope Francis also recalled the many children who are victims of armed conflicts, especially those forced to become child soldiers. Finally, Pope Francis called on God to protect the earth, “frequently exploited by human greed and rapacity.” And he asked God to help and protect victims of natural disasters, especially those in the Philippines, the victims of the recent typhoon..

Pope Francis concluded his message with an appeal to allow our hearts to be touched by God: “Dear brothers and sisters, today, in this world, in this humanity, is born the Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. Let us pause before the Child of Bethlehem. Let us allow our hearts to be touched, let us not fear this. Let us not fear that our hearts be moved. We need this! Let us allow ourselves to be warmed by the tenderness of God; we need his caress. God’s caresses do not harm us. They give us peace and strength. We need his caresses. God is full of love: to him be praise and glory forever! God is peace: let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day, in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world. Let us allow ourselves to be moved by God’s goodness.”

After concluding his Christmas Message, the Holy Father imparted the Urbi et Orbi Blessing to the faithful gathered in Saint Peter's Square, and to all those listening to his words via all the modern means of communications. Having delivered his Blessing, Pope Francis wished everyone throughout the world a Merry Christmas:

"To you, dear brothers and sisters, gathered from throughout the world in this Square, and to all those from different countries who join us through the communications media, I offer my cordial best wishes for a merry Christmas! "On this day illumined by the Gospel hope which springs from the humble stable of Bethlehem, I invoke the Christmas gift of joy and peace upon all: upon children and the elderly, upon young people and families, the poor and the marginalized. May Jesus, who was born for us, console all those afflicted by illness and suffering; may he sustain those who devote themselves to serving our brothers and sisters who are most in need. Happy Christmas!"

Below, is the complete text of Pope Francis' Urbi et Orbi Message for Christmas 2013:

Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours (Lk 2:14)

Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the whole world, Greetings and Happy Christmas!
I take up the song of the angels who appeared to the shepherds in Bethlehem on the night when Jesus was born. It is a song which unites heaven and earth, giving praise and glory to heaven, and the promise of peace to earth and all its people. I ask everyone to share in this song: it is a song for every man or woman who keeps watch through the night, who hopes for a better world, who cares for others while humbly seeking to do his or her duty. Glory to God!

Above all else, this is what Christmas bids us to do: give glory to God, for he is good, he is faithful, he is merciful. Today I voice my hope that everyone will come to know the true face of God, the Father who has given us Jesus. My hope is that everyone will feel God’s closeness, live in his presence, love him and adore him. May each of us give glory to God above all by our lives, by lives spent for love of him and of all our brothers and sisters. Peace to mankind

True peace - we know this well - is not a balance of opposing forces. It is not a lovely “façade” which conceals conflicts and divisions. Peace calls for daily commitment, but making peace is an art, starting from God’s gift, from the grace which he has given us in Jesus Christ. Looking at the Child in the manger, Child of peace, our thoughts turn to those children who are the most vulnerable victims of wars, but we think too of the elderly, to battered women, to the sick… Wars shatter and hurt so many lives!

Too many lives have been shattered in recent times by the conflict in Syria, fueling hatred and vengeance. Let us continue to ask the Lord to spare the beloved Syrian people further suffering, and to enable the parties in conflict to put an end to all violence and guarantee access to humanitarian aid. We have seen how powerful prayer is! And I am happy today too, that the followers of different religious confessions are joining us in our prayer for peace in Syria. Let us never lose the courage of prayer! The courage to say: Lord, grant your peace to Syria and to the whole world. And I also invite non-believers to desire peace with that yearning that makes the heart grow: all united, either by prayer or by desire. But all of us, for peace.

Grant peace, dear Child, to the Central African Republic, often forgotten and overlooked. Yet you, Lord, forget no one! And you also want to bring peace to that land, torn apart by a spiral of violence and poverty, where so many people are homeless, lacking water, food and the bare necessities of life. Foster social harmony in South Sudan, where current tensions have already caused too many victims and are threatening peaceful coexistence in that young state.

Prince of Peace, in every place turn hearts aside from violence and inspire them to lay down arms and undertake the path of dialogue. Look upon Nigeria, rent by constant attacks which do not spare the innocent and defenseless. Bless the land where you chose to come into the world, and grant a favourable outcome to the peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. Heal the wounds of the beloved country of Iraq, once more struck by frequent acts of violence.

Lord of life, protect all who are persecuted for your name. Grant hope and consolation to the displaced and refugees, especially in the Horn of Africa and in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Grant that migrants in search of a dignified life may find acceptance and assistance. May tragedies like those we have witnessed this year, with so many deaths at Lampedusa, never occur again!

Child of Bethlehem, touch the hearts of all those engaged in human trafficking, that they may realize the gravity of this crime against humanity. Look upon the many children who are kidnapped, wounded and killed in armed conflicts, and all those who are robbed of their childhood and forced to become soldiers.

Lord of heaven and earth, look upon our planet, frequently exploited by human greed and rapacity. Help and protect all the victims of natural disasters, especially the beloved people of the Philippines, gravely affected by the recent typhoon.

Dear brothers and sisters, today, in this world, in this humanity, is born the Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. Let us pause before the Child of Bethlehem. Let us allow our hearts to be touched, let us not fear this. Let us not fear that our hearts be moved. We need this! Let us allow ourselves to be warmed by the tenderness of God; we need his caress. God’s caresses do not harm us. They give us peace and strength. We need his caresses. God is full of love: to him be praise and glory forever! God is peace: let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day, in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world. Let us allow ourselves to be moved by God’s goodness.

Pope Francis is the 4th Most Powerful Person in the World for 2013

What do the president of Russia, Pope Francis and the hoodie-wearing CEO of Facebook all have in common? They’re all featured on Forbes’ 2013 ranking of the World’s Most Powerful People, an annual snapshot of the heads of state, financiers, philanthropists and entrepreneurs who truly run the world.

With 7.2 billion people living on our planet, the list represents the collective wisdom of top Forbes editors, who consider hundreds of nominees before ranking the planet’s 72 power brokers — one for every 100 million on Earth. Their power is measured along four dimensions.

First criteria is whether the candidate has power over lots of people. Pope Francis' rank is 4 as he is the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, or about 1/6th of the world’s population. His predecessor Pope Benedict XVI was the fifth most powerful person in 2012 according to the same ranking.

Next, the financial resources controlled by each person is assessed. Are they relatively large compared to their peers? For heads of state GDP is used, while for CEOs, their company’s assets and revenues. When candidates have a high personal net worth, it is also taken into consideration. In certain instances, other valuable resources at the candidate’s disposal are taken into consideration like oil reserves.

Lastly, the active use of power is checked. President Vladimir Putin scored the highest points in 2013 because he so frequently shows his strength at home and on the global stage . President Barack Obama, president of the most dominant country in the world, comes in at No. 2, followed by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China, and Pope Francis. The fifth most powerful person in the world also happens to be the most powerful woman: Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, down from No. 2 last year.

To calculate the final rankings, Forbes editors ranks all candidates in each of these four dimensions of power, and those individual rankings are averaged into a composite score. 

Pope Francis' Weekly General Audience on Wednesday, December 18, 2013

At his weekly General Audience, Pope Francis turned his attention to the Feast of the Nativity. “This our encounter,” he said, “is taking place in the spiritual climate of Advent, made even more intense by the Novena of the Holy Nativity that we are living in these days, and that leads us to the Christmas holidays.” The Holy Father reflected on the Nativity of Jesus, “the feast of confidence and hope, that overcomes uncertainty and pessimism.” The reason for our hope, he said, is this: “God is with us, and God still trusts us.”

“God has willed to share our human condition to the point of making himself one of us in the Person of Jesus, who is true man and true God.” But even more surprising, he said, is that Jesus becomes man not in “an ideal world, an idyllic [world], but in this real world, marked by so many things, good and bad, marked by divisions, wickedness, poverty, arrogance and wars.” In this way God shows that He is merciful towards humanity, and filled with love for us. “He is God-with-us: do you believe this?” Pope Francis asked the crowd. When they responded “Si!” the Holy Father continued “But let us make this confession: Jesus is God-with-us! All together: Jesus is God-with-us!” And he thanked the faithful for their enthusiastic response.

The birth of Jesus, the Pope said, brings us the good news that we are loved “immensely and individually” by God – and God not only helps us to know this love for each of us, but also gives and communicates this love to us.

Pope Francis concluded his Audience by pointing out two considerations we can take away from these considerations on the Nativity of Jesus: The first is that God reveals Himself not as one who remains on high and dominates the universe, but as one who humbles Himself. This shows us that in order to be like Him, we must not put ourselves above others, but must humble ourselves and serve others. He had strong words for Christians who refuse to humble themselves: “It is an ugly thing,” he said, “when you see a Christian who doesn’t want to humble himself, who doesn’t want to serve, a Christian who struts about everywhere: it’s ugly, eh? That is not a Christian: that’s a pagan!”

The second consideration is that, if Jesus has become one of us, than whatever we do for a brother or a sister, we do for Him. “Jesus Himself reminds us: He who has fed, welcomed, visited, loved one of the smallest and poorest of people, has done it for the Son of God.” Pope Francis concluded his catechesis with greetings for the various groups who attended the Audience in Saint Peter’s Square, noting in particular pilgrims from England, Australia and the United States. He also had a word of thanks for members of the group “Up with People” for their musical entertainment during the audience.

Below, is the complete text of the English-language summary of the Pope’s remarks, followed by his greetings for English-speaking pilgrims:

Synthesis: Dear Brothers and Sisters: In these last days of Advent we prepare ourselves spiritually to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Christmas is a feast of joyful hope, for God has become one with us in the person of his Son, true God and true man. He showed his love for us by becoming part of our world, with all its conflicts, its suffering and its poverty. Jesus is truly Emmanuel: God among us. This is the great “gift” which he brings: a divine love which heals and transforms our hearts, overcoming all uncertainty and pessimism. Our joyful contemplation of the mystery of Christmas should make us realize that, as God has become one of us, we too are called to become like God: humble, close to others, especially the poor, and ever attentive to their needs. This Christmas, let us ask Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, to help us see in our neighbor the face of Jesus, God made man. May we be in this world a ray of that light which shone forth from Bethlehem, bringing the joy and peace to the hearts of all men and women.

Greetings: I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience including those from England, Australia and the United States. I thank the members of “Up with People” for their musical entertainment. Upon you and your families I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!

Watch the video:

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Face Death From Cold and Disease

A fierce winter snowstorm has heightened the misery and appalling living conditions facing most of the more than one million Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The President of Caritas Lebanon, Father Simon Faddoul says it’s certain that many Syrian refugees will die from cold and disease this coming winter and all of them are suffering right now. He spoke about their desperate plight.

After the UN, Caritas Lebanon is the main non-governmental provider of aid to the estimated 1.1 million Syrian refugees who have fled to Lebanon to escape the civil war in their homeland. Father Faddoul describes it as “a very gloomy situation” for many of these refugees, saying they live “in horrible conditions.” 

Although the Syrian refugees face a variety of living conditions in Lebanon, ranging from rented apartments, to tents, to uninhabited buildings or shacks. Father Faddoul says large numbers of them are living in makeshift shacks or even more unsanitary conditions: “ I know and visited a family of 10 who are living in a cowshed,” he says, amidst the dirt and with no infrastructure whatsoever. But regardless of the quality of their shelter, “they are all suffering… and it’s a very sad scene.”

Father Faddoul says the arrival of the first winter weather has exacerbated those sufferings, especially for the children and the elderly, because so many of the Syrian refugees lack proper winter clothing and there is “a lack of oil and gas” for heating. He also points out that there is a huge increase in deforestation levels in Lebanon because the refugees are cutting down so many trees to burn the wood and keep warm during the bitter cold. 

Asked whether the influx of refugees from Syria is still continuing, Father Faddoul replies that every day between two and three thousand Syrians are crossing over the border, putting a further strain on the already over-stretched resources of Lebanon. And he concludes by warning that with the coming of the winter cold, the refugees’ already “extremely difficult” living conditions are likely to worsen and will definitely lead to loss of life. “Certainly many will die from cold and disease.”

ميلاديات: الحبل بها بلا دنس
بقلم الأب جورج كيروز

الحبل بلا دنس بعدٌ آخر في مسيرتِنا نحو الميلاد.
العذراء وُلدتْ بدون خطيئة. المهم في الموضوع، إيمانُنا بأن أمَّنا مريم، الصبية الوادعة، الهانئة، البسيطة، المتواضعة، صارتْ أمًّا لله الكلمة المتجسد، بفضل ما سكبَه الله فيها من ملءِ النِّعَم السّماوية.

بهذا تكشفُ لنا هذه الحقيقة، الحبل بلا دنس، البعد الآخر في مسيرتِنا نحو الميلاد، ميلاد الرب يسوع في الجسد. طريقُنا إليه، لا يمكنُ له أن يمرّ إلاّ من خلالِ تنقية ذاكرتِنا من عوالقِ الماضي الأثيم. دعوةٌ إلهية اليوم، لكل نفس، كي تعيدَ النظر في مقدار النقاء الداخلي الذي يتيحُ لها إمكانية الرؤية الواضحة لتحقيق الله مشروعَه الخلاصي للبشرية.
هل نؤمن بأن لكلٍّ منّا دورًا بارزًا في هذه المسيرة؟

لمجرد انفتاحِنا على عمل النعمة، نبدأ بمسيرة تغير داخلي، وهذه التحول هو تصاعدي، يسيرُ بنا نحو الاتحاد بيسوع المولود من العذراء في الجسد، ونحن نلدُه بالإيمان للعالم، على قدرِ ما يولدُ في كلٍّ منا بداية.

يا عذراءَنا الحبيبة "يا مريم البريئة من دنس الخطيئة الأصلية صلي لأجلِنا نحن الملتجئين إليك".عيدا مبارَكا على جيمعِنا.

Pope Francis' Sunday Angelus Message on December 08, 2013

The Immaculate Conception of Mary is “inscribed in God’s plan; it is the fruit of God’s love which saves the world.” These were Pope Francis’ comments during his weekly Angelus address for the second Sunday of Advent which coincides with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. 

On this Feast, the Holy Father said, our gaze turns to the “beauty of the Mother of Jesus, our Mother!” It is with great joy, he continued, that the Church contemplates the words of Saint Luke “full of grace” (Lk 1:28). Mary, moreover, guides us as we journey towards Christmas, teaching us “how to live this time of Advent waiting for the Lord.” Pope Francis went on to say that the Immaculate Conception was inscribed in God’s plan; it was the fruit of God’s love whereby the world was saved. 

After leading the crowds in Saint Peter’s Square in praying the Angelus, the Pope expressed spiritual closeness to the Church in North America, which is celebrating the 350th anniversary of its first parish: Notre-Dame de Québec.

The Holy Father concluded his Angelus address by wishing everyone a happy feast of Our Lady, and a good lunch.

Watch the video:

Feast of Saint Saba

Monastery of Mar Saba in Palestine

Born in Cappadocia (modern-day Turkey), St. Saba is one of the most highly regarded patriarchs among the monks of Palestine and is considered one of the founders of Eastern monasticism.

After an unhappy childhood in which he was abused and ran away several times, St. Saba finally sought refuge in a monastery. While family members tried to persuade him to return home, the young boy felt drawn to monastic life. Although the youngest monk in the house, he excelled in virtue.

At age 18 he traveled to Jerusalem, seeking to learn more about living in solitude. Soon he asked to be accepted as a disciple of a well-known local solitary, though initially he was regarded as too young to live completely as a hermit. Initially, St. Saba lived in a monastery, where he worked during the day and spent much of the night in prayer. At the age of 30 he was given permission to spend five days each week in a nearby remote cave, engaging in prayer and manual labor in the form of weaving baskets. Following the death of his mentor, St. Euthymius, St. Saba moved farther into the desert near Jericho. There he lived for several years in a cave near the brook Cedron. A rope was his means of access. Wild herbs among the rocks were his food. Occasionally men brought him other food and items, while he had to go a distance for his water.

Some of these men came to him desiring to join him in his solitude. At first he refused. But not long after relenting, his followers swelled to more than 150, all of them living in individual huts grouped around a church, called a laura.

The bishop persuaded a reluctant St. Sabas, then in his early 50s, to prepare for the priesthood so that he could better serve his monastic community in leadership. While functioning as abbot among a large community of monks, he felt ever called to live the life of a hermit. Throughout each year —consistently in Lent—he left his monks for long periods of time, often to their distress. A group of 60 men left the monastery, settling at a nearby ruined facility. When St. Sabas learned of the difficulties they were facing, he generously gave them supplies and assisted in the repair of their church.

Over the years St. Saba traveled throughout Palestine, preaching the true faith and successfully bringing back many to the Church. At the age of 91, in response to a plea from the Patriarch of Jerusalem, St. Saba undertook a journey to Constantinople in conjunction with the Samaritan revolt and its violent repression. He fell ill and, soon after his return, died at the monastery at Mar Saba. Today the monastery is still inhabited by monks of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and St. St. Saba is regarded as one of the most noteworthy figures of early monasticism.

Pope Francis' Weekly General Audience on Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Pope Francis’ catechesis at the General Audience on Wednesday was focused once again on the Creed, as he continued his reflections on “the resurrection of the body.” “I want to present some aspects regarding the relationship between the Resurrection of Christ and our resurrection,” he said. “He is risen! And because He is risen, we too shall rise.”

Below, is the English language summary of Pope Francis’ catechesis: 

Dear Brothers and Sisters: we return to our reflection on “the resurrection of the body”, as we look at three aspects of the relationship between Christ’s resurrection and our own. First, the Gospel reveals to us that our faith in the resurrection is bound to the person of Jesus Christ, who himself said “I am the resurrection and the life”. Like us in all things but sin, Christ gathers us to himself so that we may accompany him in his journey back to the Father. The Risen Christ gives his disciples the Holy Spirit as a pledge of communion with God which has its fullness in eternity. The anticipation of eternal life is the source and reason for our hope. If cultivated and protected, it illuminates our lives as persons and communities. Second, Christ rose in his glorified body. Through Christ, our bodies will also be glorified and reunited with our souls at the resurrection. Therefore, our experience of the Risen Christ in the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, prepares us for the reunion of our bodies and souls in heaven. Third, while Jesus will resurrect us at the end of time, even now he wishes us to share in his resurrection. Through Baptism, we are inserted into his death and resurrection and begin to experience new life. The seed of eternity is planted within us. Hence, the image of eternity is imprinted on us and calls us to respect the lives of all people, especially those who suffer. In this way, we can experience the closeness of the Reign of God, towards which we all journey together. 

القديسة بربارة و حكاية القمح المسلوق...

من العادات والتقاليد أن نأكل القمح المسلوق في عيد القديسة العظيمة في الشهيدات بربارة . وذلك لأن حبة القمح لا تُثمر ولا تأتي بسُنبلة إلا إذا ماتت . وكما قال السيّد المسيح له المجد " إن لم تمت حبّة الحنطة فإنها تبقى وحدها ولكن إن ماتت تأتي بثمرٍ كثير . وهكذا الشهيدات والشهداء القديسون بإستشهادهم وقبولهم الموت ورفضهم نكران المسيح إنما أعطوا بعملهم هذا نموا للإيمان المسيحي وبغزارة . كحبة القمح التي إن ماتت فقط تأتي بثمر كثير .
لوحة زيتية  من سنة 1620 تمثل القديسة بربارة و هي تهرب من والدها

ولدت القديسة بربارة في أوائل القرن الثالث للمسيح ، كان أبوها ، و إسمه ذيوسقورس ، غنياً جداً ووثنياً متحمساً يكره المسيحيين و يزدريهم ، أما والدتها فقد ماتت و هي طفله صغيره ، و كانت بربارة ابنته الوحيدة جميله جداً و ذكيه فخاف عليها أبوها فبنى لها قصراً عالي الأسوار ، جعل فيه كل أنواع البهجة كي لا يكون لها كسجن ، تقيم فيه ووضع لها خداماً و حراساً و أحضر لها أساتذة مهرة ليعلموها علوم ذلك العصر حتى تنشأ على حب آلهتهم و أتاحت لها وحدتها عادة التأمل و التفكير و قادتها كثرة التأمل إلي البحث عن الإله الحقيقي الذي خلق السماء و الأرض و النجوم و أنبت أزهار الحقل...... ألخ

فأخذت تبحث على من يشرح لها أسرار الألوهية و كان بين خدامها أناس مسيحيون أخبرها أحدهم عن الديانة المسيحية و عرفها بها وشرح لها الكتاب المقدس و تجسد المسيح و إفتداءه للبشر، و عن بتولية العذراء مريم و جمال البتولية فآمنت و إعتمدت و تناولت جسد الرب يسوع المسيح و دمه الكريمين و من ذلك الوقت خصصت بتوليتها للرب على مثال العذراء . حدث هذا و أبوها لا يعلم و قد كثر خطابها من الأسر الكبيرة و الغنية و كانت ترفضهم ، و أخيراً أخبرت أباها بأنها لا تريد أن تتزوج لأنها أصبحت مسيحية و نذرت نفسها للرب يسوع، فغضب أبوها غضباً شديداً خاصة بعد أن رأى بأنها قد حطمت الأصنام في البيت ووضعت صلباناً بدلاً منها فاستل سيفه ليقتلها و لكنها هربت منه فلحق بها عند صخرة كبيرة فانفتحت الصخرة و جازت بربارة فيها ثم أطبقت ، و لما عرف أبوها مكانها أمسكها و جرها من شعرها ووضعها في قبو مظلم ، و بينما كانت تصلي ظهر لها الملاك و قال لها : " لا تخافي لأن الله سيكون نصيرك".

و في اليوم التالي ذهب أبوها و أخبر الوالي (مركيانوس) بأن إبنته أصبحت مسيحية فأرسل لها الوالي و طلب منها أن تترك المسيحية و تعود إلي عبادة الأصنام فرفضت ، فأمر بجلدها فجلدوها و جروا جسمها على قطع من الفخار المكسر وجرحوها و علقوها في الفضاء و رأسها إلي أسفل و ضربوها و رشوا على جسدها الجريح ملحاً لكي يزيدوا آلامها و لم تستسلم فأعادوها إلي السجن، و في اليوم التالي وجدوا أنها قد شفيت من جروحها ، فسألوها كيف شفيت ؟ فقالت لهم :" إن الذي شفاني هو الرب يسوع المسيح". فثار الحاكم و أمر بأن يعذبوها و يعروها من ثيابها و يطوفوا بها في الشوارع حتى يبصق عليها كل من يراها، أما هي فصلت و تضرعت إلي الله أن ينقذها من هذا العقاب ، و أن يستر جسدها حتى لا يراه الناس ، و ما كادت تنهي صلاتها حتى شاهد الناس أن جروحها قد شفيت و أضاء حولها نور بهر العيون حتى أنه لم يقدر أحد من الناس أن ينظر إليها ، فخاف الحاكم و أمر بقطع رأسها

فتقدم أبوها و طلب من الحاكم أن يقوم هو بقطع رأس إبنته فسمح له بذلك فأخرجها أبوها خارج المدينة و قطع رأسها بضربة من فأسه ، حينئذ إنصب عليه غضب الله إذ أظلمت السماء و تكاثفت الغيوم و إنقضت عليه صاعقة أحرقته و أحرقت مركيانوس الحاكم الظالم معه ، و ذاع صيت بربارة بين الناس و كثرت العجائب التي نالها الناس بتضرعاتها و إتخذها الناس شفيعة لهم و خاصة في أمراض العيون و إشتداد الصواعق و المهن الخطرة و شيد على إسمها كثير من الكنائس في العالم .

Holy Gospel on the Feast of Saint Barbara

First Letter to the Corinthians 7:36-40. 
If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly towards his fiance’e, if his passions are strong, and so it has to be, let him marry as he wishes; it is no sin. Let them marry. But if someone stands firm in his resolve, being under no necessity but having his own desire under control, and has determined in his own mind to keep her as his fiance’e, he will do well. So then, he who marries his fiance’e does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better. A wife is bound as long as her husband lives. But if the husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, only in the Lord. But in my judgement she is more blessed if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint Matthew 25:1-13. 
‘Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, "Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him." Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, "Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out." But the wise replied, "No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves." And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, "Lord, lord, open to us." But he replied, "Truly I tell you, I do not know you." Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

ميلاديات...الى العذراء مريم
بقلم الأب جورج كيروز

نجمة الصبح، برج داود، تابوت العهد. قبلت وجه الله. أرضعتْه... من أنفاسِها أخذ أنفاسَه. ومن نبضاتِ قلبِه تكونتْ في حشا أمِّها حنة...
عذراؤنا!!! عذراؤنا مجدُنا، ملجأنا الحصين، مدرستُنا في الإيمان... طريقُنا إلى قلبِ الله. طريقُ الله إلينا...
يا نسمةَ طهرٍ وعفاف، يا بسمةَ رضى تنشريها على ضعفِنا، يا تفهُّمًّا دائمًا لإهمالِنا، أنتِ... أنتِ بلسمٌ يشفي جراحَنا.
كوني يا أمّنا تأشيرةَ دخولِ القلوب إلى بعضِها، كوني لنا البيتَ الآمن الذي فيه، نلتقي بيسوع، وبعضُنا ببعض...
لتكُنْ صلاتُنا إليكَ هذا الصباح، صُبحًا ينير نهارَنا...

Pope Francis' Sunday Angelus Message on December 01, 2013

Pope Francis said on Sunday that the day will come when nations will live in peace. He said it will be a great day in which weapons will be dismantled and transformed into instruments of work: “What a great day it will be”. And this – Pope Francis said – is possible. Let’s put a bet on hope” – he continued – on hope for peace, and peace will be possible.

Speaking to crowds of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus, the Pope recalled the passage from the prophet Isaiah who speaks of a time when swords will be broken into plows and nations will live in peace.

And reminding those present that this Sunday marks the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of a new liturgical year, the Pope pointed out that this is a season that renews “the horizon of hope”. He encouraged the faithful to rediscover the beauty of being on a journey towards the encounter with Jesus and called for the gift of peace.

And as the first Sunday of Advent this year also falls on World Aids Day, the Pope did not fail to make a strong appeal so that all patients may have access to the care they need. 

“We express our solidarity with the people affected by HIV/Aids, especially children, and we express our closeness to the many missionaries and health operators who work in silence. We pray for everyone, even for physicians and researchers. May every sick person, without exception, have access to the care they need".

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