Rorate Caeli

The Pope in Lebanon: The secret of true peace is answering Christ's call

In Christ you will find the strength and courage to advance along the paths of life, and to overcome difficulties and suffering. In him you will find the source of joy. Christ says to you: سَلامي أُعطيكُم – My peace I give to you! (Jn 14:27). This is the true revolution brought by Christ: that of love.

The frustrations of the present moment must not lead you to take refuge in parallel worlds like those, for example, of the various narcotics or the bleak world of pornography. As for social networks, they are interesting but they can quite easily lead to addiction and confusion between the real and the virtual. Look for relationships of genuine, uplifting friendship. Find ways to give meaning and depth to your lives; fight superficiality and mindless consumption! You face another temptation, too: that of money, the tyrannical idol which blinds to the point of stifling the person at the heart. The examples being held up all around you are not always the best. Many people have forgotten Christ’s warning that one cannot serve both God and mammon (cf. Lk 16:13). Seek out good teachers, spiritual masters, who will be able to guide you along the path to maturity, leaving behind all that is illusory, garish and deceptive.

Bring the love of Christ to everyone! How? By turning unreservedly to God the Father, who is the measure of everything that is right, true and good. Meditate on God’s word! Discover how relevant and real the Gospel can be. Pray! Prayer and the sacraments are the sure and effective means to be a Christian and to live “rooted and built up in Christ, and established in the faith” (Col 2:7). ... “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:35). This is the legacy of Jesus and the sign of the Christian. This is the true revolution of love!

... The vocation of Christ’s disciples is to be “leaven” in the lump, as Saint Paul says: “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Gal 5:9). Be heralds of the Gospel of life and life’s authentic values. Courageously resist everything opposed to life: abortion, violence, rejection of and contempt for others, injustice and war. In this way you will spread peace all around you. Are not “peacemakers” those whom in the end we admire the most? Is it not a world of peace that, deep down, we want for ourselves and for others? سَلامي أُعطيكُم – My peace I give to you! (Jn 14:27), Jesus says. He overcame evil not with more evil, but by taking evil upon himself and destroying it completely on the cross through a love lived to the very end. Truly discovering God’s forgiveness and mercy always enables us to begin a new life. It is not easy to forgive. But God’s forgiveness grants the power of conversion, and the joy of being able to forgive in turn. Forgiveness and reconciliation are the paths of peace; they open up a future. 

Dear friends, a number of you are surely asking in a more or less conscious way: What is it that God expects of me? What is his plan for me? Wouldn’t I like to proclaim to the world the grandeur of his love in the priesthood, in the consecrated life or in marriage? Might not Christ be calling me to follow him more closely? Think about these questions with confidence and trust. Take time to reflect on them and ask for enlightenment. Respond to his invitation by offering yourselves daily to the Lord, for he calls you to be his friends. Strive to follow Christ wholeheartedly and generously, for out of love he redeemed us and gave his life for each one of us. You will come to know inconceivable joy and fulfilment! To answer Christ’s call to each of us: that is the secret of true peace. 
Benedict XVI 
September 15, 2012


  1. NIANTIC6:57 PM

    Very wise and powerful advice the whole world should hear. Spoken from a heart full of love and concern for all people no matter where they are physically or spiritually. The Vicar of Christ. Thank you Holy Father!

  2. Stefano7:25 PM

    And when Christ sends His Mother as a last resort, to save the world with a request that only the Pope can accomplish, the Pope should respond with eagerness and not Plan B.

  3. Thanks be to Lord our God, that our Holy Farther speaks so clearly and absolutely to the point. Pray, that many 'inclusive' bishops and priest would hear these words and bring them to the heart of the faithful. This is as if the manifest for present day for all the catholics and christians in general.

  4. [Our Lord Jesus Christ] overcame evil not with more evil, but by taking evil upon himself and destroying it completely on the cross through a love lived to the very end.

    These are consoling words for Christians who live in a region where evil -- up to and including murder -- is committed with increasing fury, all in the name of a false prophet, a true anti-Christ. Thank you, Holy Father!

  5. JTLiuzza9:54 PM

    Perhaps it's just my browser but this is what I'm seeing:

    سَلامي أُعطيكُم – My peace I give to you! (Jn 14:27)

    Not trying to post this comment I just thought I'd let you know.

  6. Yes, that is correct - it's from the transcript, it's in those parts in which the Pope pronounces certain words in Arabic.

  7. Remember Malta, 1565.80 werfolce

  8. "True peace is answering Christ's call."

    Very nice but the Holy Father is preaching to the choir. The Faithful know what he's talking about but regarding the others, suddenly the light is going to go on? Hardly.

  9. Anonymous2:58 PM

    The Holy Father is feeding his flock, thats his job. Also on that point many in that crowd will be simply Catholics who are lukewarm and are perhaps there just to see the pope, His words may just be what they need to kick start their conversion. I have always thought that Pope Benedict is always best when addressing young people.

  10. Lebanon3:11 PM

    The following, written by a Sunni who is from the Lebanese city of Tripoli, presents the reality of Lebanon...that is, thanks to Islamic encroachment, Lebanon's Christians have, for the sake of survivial, fled Lebanese cities and even Lebanon itself.

    "What has been done to Christians in Tripoli was obscene."

    — Alia Ibrahim, a Sunni Muslim.

    The Pope's visit and Tripoli's big loss

    By Alia Ibrahim

    Saturday, 15 September 2012

    Pope Benedict XVI had barely set foot on Lebanese grounds when demonstrators started burning a KFC restaurant in Tripoli, my hometown, in protest against the inflammatory anti-Islamic movie, the innocence of Muslims.

    They were no more than a couple of hundreds chanting “we don’t want the pope…no more insults to Islam.”

    Some of these guys may have been among the vandals who just hours earlier had torn down the posters spread in some neighborhoods of the city welcoming the Pope.

    I swallowed my disgust, not without a pinch of bitterness, and forced my self to think that this was another reason why this papal visit is so important and why its timing is so crucial.

    There was a long list of social, political and even security related points I had in mind to defend my argument about the vitality of this visit and in ways that by far exceed the border of this country.

    In light of last week’s events, I decided to write about Tripoli.

    To say things bluntly, most of those who oppose the Syrian revolution, amongst them a big chunk of Syria’s minorities, Christians included, say they fear the ascension of Islamists.

    A very viable argument: at the end of the day, nobody wants to see their city taken hostage by a bunch of angry bearded violent men who attack embassies and set restaurants on fire.

    I know something like that can happen because I saw it happening to my own city.

    But there is a long list of reasons why a city like Tripoli got to where it is today, and why some of its Islamists feel they can do what they did and get away with it.

    I don’t want to go on talking about the details of how al-Tawhid took over the city turning it into the “citadel of Muslims” as so clearly states the Statute imposed on it main entrance that no one dares removing, despite that fact that the city’s Mufti Sheikh Malek al Shaar, whose mother is Christian by the way, says it has to be removed.

    I don’t want to talk about how much security agencies – Syrian and Lebanese mostly but not exclusively - have over three decades contributed to creating and sustaining small groups of fanatics that could be used for all kind of agendas.

    I don’t want to talk about the charities from the Gulf that invested in making Tripoli a more conservative city at the expense of its open mindedness and its creativity and even its prosperity.

    I don’t want to even talk about the lousy politicians who have done nothing and have sometimes used the poverty and ignorance of the deprived parts of the city to secure their status, or about the deficient society that didn’t fight back in defense of its identity.

    I want to talk about one of the biggest losses Tripoli has endured over the last three decades: the Christians, who were once, even in the darkest days of a sectarian civil war, at home in it.

    I grew up in a Tripoli that celebrated Christmas and Easter and where people could enjoy a drink but still be friends with their more religiously committed neighbors.

    Less people covered their hair, but those who didn’t, back then, never heard the obscenities that any unveiled – or even sometimes veiled - girl gets to hear those days walking even along the city’s upscale and liberal – whatever that means- neighborhood.

    1 of 2...End of Part 1

  11. Lebanon3:12 PM

    Part 2 of 2

    My best friend, as well as my mom’s, my favorite teacher, my father’s partner, our family doctor and even the owner of the shop we kept for special occasions: they were all Christians.

    Now they are all gone.

    Most of the young have immigrated and the old in their big majority have either followed their children or relocated in the nearby “safer” cities.

    A friend who now lives in the U.S. told me that he and his wife were the only young people attending the Christmas mass in Saint Maron church.

    His own parents were there, along with a few other local couples, but mostly it was foreign domestic workers making the biggest chunk of the audience.

    I recalled the days when I attended scout meetings in this church, and the many times I waited on its stairs for someone to finish their prayers.

    It breaks my heart that my daughters will never know the Tripoli I knew and will never have the friends I met in it.

    Yes, cities can fall to fanatics, but only because the moderates let them.

    There are too many reasons we could put the blame on, war, poverty, ignorance, corruption, extremism, the Israeli occupation, the Islamic revolution in Iran, Sept. 11 but we are responsible, too.

    Each and every one of us.

    What has been done to Christians in Tripoli was obscene.

    I still recall the stories of the young men whose feet were put in barrels full of wet concrete and then thrown alive in the sea, and the time that acid used to be thrown on girls wearing short skirts, but violence didn’t spare anyone.

    Muslims, too, received their share of killings and torture, and in bigger numbers given the fact that then too they were a majority.

    But then the war stopped, the Christians left, the Muslims let them, and we all lost.

    Fanatics aren’t the majority in Tripoli, they aren’t even the biggest minority, and among those, many would think twice before breaking the laws if they even doubted they could go to prison for breaking the law, or that the state is strong enough to stop them.

    A man died in Tripoli’s demonstration today, and over 20 were injured, the situation looked even bleaker in other cities across the Arab and Islamic world. All that in the name of religion and because of a stupid film with a dubious origins that seems not to even exist.

    The story completely overshadowed events in Syria and it almost feels like the killing had stopped there and that hundreds of people didn’t lose the their lives just this last week.

    This is what makes the Pope’s visit now, his rethoric about diversity and co-existence and his calls to the Christians to stay in their land so important.

    Moderate Christians and Muslims have every right to fear an Islamic rule in Syria, but united they can beat this possibility.

    The real problem in Tripoli is that it needs to stop being the citadel of the Muslims and go back to what once it used to be.

    (Alia Ibrahim is a Senior Correspondent in Beirut at Al Arabiya.)

  12. I think it is well to remember that, according to the discussion in the synod of bishops from the Middle East, it was admitted that the greatest attrition of Catholics and Christians in the region is less due to Muslim violence than to contraception. It is notable, too, that all our remarks here have it that the 'moderate' muslims and Christians must beat the 'extremists' but in fact they must beat secularism, which is ravaging them just as it is ravaging us, and if they admitted that, if we admitted that, it would de-fang the 'extremists.' And how will they fight secularism without granting the possibility of a Muslim religious state, in countries where Muslims are in the majority? Presently we only call that idea 'fanatical,' when, for traditionalists!, it is not fanatical; in places where Catholics are in the majority, it is our right, too. We, that is, the energetic among us, at least, still fought for the Restoration right up to the Council, and we should be fighting for it today, and that clear vision of our ultimate goal would give coherence to our political struggle here in the US, too. In the Middle East, we Catholics are presently politically pinned to secularism, to the false modernist notion of religious liberty, and I would like to say, if you shoot me for it, that these new dead fell under that cause, not under Catholicism's. Viva Cristo Rey.


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