I’ll start my speech by the Word of Christ, as His Word is the source of strength and salvation of us, the poor of this lost world: "There is no need to be afraid, little flock" (Luke 12:32).
Our present pain is associated with our Christianity and with the mystery of our Passover (i.e., Easter). Our suffering, if joined to the suffering of our Savior Jesus, "Man of Sorrows", will turn out to be a blessing and salvation to us and to others.
And the current challenges are faced with more faith, hope, and prayer and solidarity and wisdom. Be brave in front of what you are facing, do not be afraid: you have deep roots in Iraq, do not give up for frustration and despair, confident that, "all who draw the sword will die by the sword" (Matthew 26:52) and evil does not last! You are the small mustard seed, the Lord will not let you fall. He is with you today, tomorrow, and after tomorrow, and forever.
We are your shepherds and, with our full responsibility towards you, we will stay with you to the end, [we] will not leave you, whatever the sacrifices. I repeat: do not be afraid; stay strong as you are with your faith and your hope and love. We thank God for your safety, as, no matter what, your life has no price.
God’s blessing be upon you.
Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako
[Chaldean Catholic Church - Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Baghdad]
July 20, 2014
[Source: English translation made available earlier today at the Patriarchal website. Punctuation slightly altered.]