Patrick Madrid podcast: the Vatican on Christian Persecution in Mideast, What it means to be fully human and Relativism according to Jean Vanier, and Reincarnation – all on this podcast with on the ground input from the Assyrian community.
The recently displaced archbishop of Mosul, Iraq was speaking with particular candor when I met him last fall in the Middle East.
He said, “People in the West say ‘they don’t know.’ How can you not know? You either support ISIS or you must have turned off all the satellites. I am sorry to say this, but my pain is big.”
Like so many Christians in Iraq and Syria who watched ISIS kidnap their leaders, burn their churches, sell their children, and threaten all others with conversion or beheading; the archbishop wonders how it is that these maniacs so easily took his home city this summer?
The people whose lives have been threatened or destroyed by ISIS just don’t understand how this pre-modern evil could run unchecked.It is a good question.
Mosul is Iraq’s second largest city and was once the home of Iraq’s most vulnerable and persistent Christian community, tracing their lineage nearly to the time of Christ.
Now there are no Christians left.
All of this happened under the watchful eye of West, and while you’d hope that the humanitarian threat alone would have motivated the West to act, you would be certain that Mosul’s strategic importance would do so.
Neither proved true.
Mosul was easily taken by ISIS troops, riding in on their decrepit pick up trucks with guns bolted to them. Her ancient streets have since been turned red with innocent blood, and the city has become a base for a jihad that rages wildly throughout the entire region and boils underground in scores of countries throughout the world.
The archbishop’s perspective represented the sentiment of nearly everyone I have met or have communicated with in the region. The people whose lives have been threatened or destroyed by ISIS just don’t understand how this pre-modern evil could run unchecked.
They wonder how it could be that it took the most powerful nations in the world, using airstrikes, over four months with the help of Kurdish forces to defeat a few hundred jihadists waging war in the town of Kobani, and how it is that ISIS has been able to openly run its “state” from a self-determined capital city called “Raqqa” without the daily threat of hundreds of unrelenting airstrikes. They also wonder how it is that Turkey’s border remains so porous allowing jihadist after jihadist to readily join ISIS.
The examples of Western inaction are unending.
At present, as many as 300 Assyrian Christians remain in captivity having been kidnapped two weeks ago as ISIS assaulted ten Assyrian, Christian villages along the Khabour River in Syria. That assault was conducted by a group of ISIS fighters travelling in a convoy of more than 40 clearly marked ISIS vehicles directly toward these vulnerable, Christian villages.
How is it possible that Western satellites didn’t spot a forty-car ISIS convoy in route to unarmed Christian villages in Syria, and if it was spotted how is that it wasn’t destroyed?
From a sermon by Saint Bernadine of Siena, priest
The faithful foster-father and guardian
There is a general rule concerning all special graces granted to any human being. Whenever the divine favor chooses someone to receive a special grace, or to accept a lofty vocation, God adorns the person chosen with all the gifts of the Spirit needed to fulfill the task at hand.
This general rule is especially verified in the case of Saint Joseph, the foster-father of our Lord and the husband of the Queen of our world, enthroned above the angels. He was chosen by the eternal Father as the trustworthy guardian and protector of his greatest treasures, namely, his divine Son and Mary, Joseph’s wife. He carried out this vocation with complete fidelity until at last God called him, saying: Good and faithful servant enter into the joy of your Lord.
What then is Joseph’s position in the whole Church of Christ? Is he not a man chosen and set apart? Through him and, yes, under him, Christ was fittingly and honorably introduced into the world. Holy Church in its entirety is indebted to the Virgin Mother because through her it was judged worthy to receive Christ. But after her we undoubtedly owe special gratitude and reverence to Saint Joseph.
In him the Old Testament finds its fitting close. He brought the noble line of patriarchs and prophets to its promised fulfillment. What the divine goodness had offered as a promise to them, he held in his arms.
Obviously, Christ does not now deny to Joseph that intimacy, reverence and very high honor which he gave him on earth, as a son to his father. Rather we must say that in heaven Christ completes and perfects all that he gave at Nazareth.
Now we can see how the last summoning words of the Lord appropriately apply to Saint Joseph: Enter into the joy of your Lord. In fact, although the joy of eternal happiness enters into the soul of a man, the Lord preferred to say to Joseph: Enter into joy. His intention was that the words should have a hidden spiritual meaning for us. They convey not only that this holy man possesses an inward joy, but also that it surrounds him and engulfs him like an infinite abyss.
Remember us, Saint Joseph, and plead for us to your foster-child. Ask your most holy bride, the Virgin Mary, to look kindly upon us, since she is the mother of him who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns eternally. Amen.
knocks at my door
seeking a home for his son.
Rent is cheap, I say.
I don’t want to rent. I want to buy, says God.
I’m not sure I want to sell,
but you might come in and look around.
I think I will, says God.
I might let you have a room or two.
I like it, says God. I’ll take the two. You might decide to give me more some day.
I can wait, says God.
I’d like to give you more,
but it’s a bit difficult. I need some space for me.
I know, says God, but I’ll wait. I like what I see.
Hm, maybe I can let you have another room.
I really don’t need that much.
Thanks, says God, I’ll take it. I like what I see.
I’d like to give you the whole house
but I’m not sure …
Think on it, says God. I wouldn’t put you out.
Your house would be mine and my son would live in it.
You’d have more space than you’d ever had before.
I don’t understand at all.
I know, says God, but I can’t tell you about that.
You’ll have to discover it for yourself.
That can only happen if you let me have the whole house.
A bit risky, I say.
Yes, says God, but try me.
I’m not sure –
I’ll let you know.
I can wait, says God, I like what I see.
by Margaret Halaska …O.S.F.
Yet at peace.
You pass my way.
Because you are holy
We are worlds apart.
Yet you touch me
By your plight.
You must eat.
You must drink.
Rest a moment
Under my tent.
Let me wash your feet.
Enter my heart
As a symphony
Stay the night.
Bring the star
To light my adobe.
Here in Spirit
Though you must hurry
On your way.
Journey on,O, Protector,
O Mother, O Child.
In your hearts,
Now, I wait
For you forever.
I tucked a little rattle
Under His blanket.
Perhaps, He’ll hear me
In the sounds,
Like a prayer,
In the rattling of beads.
©2013 Joann Nelander