So, it was a cool night together. We had remembered funny old stuff. Read the rest of this entry »
The second one is a cold snow storm coming from Europe.
Both of them hit Lebanon at the same time…
and the result… Guess what!
Have you heard about this before? me either.
Imagine you live in a town where all people are convinced that the yellow snow is the true color of snow. No, it’s not. The color of snow is white, but the dust has made it yellow.
The same thing with sex. Most people think that lust is normal and that lust is the true “color” of sex. But it’s not. The color of sex is love, but the original sin has made it stained with lust.
I am amazed by the teaching of Pope John Paul II about the BODY. I hope everybody can read it.
Orig. published March 2006.
I live in a region that was deeply affected by war. In 1983, 63 Christian villages have been destroyed and all their inhabitants have been displaced. Ten years later, people started coming back. The development in the Christian villages is too slow and sometimes totally absent. The young are obliged to emigrate and in winter time, just 10% of the people remain in their villages.
Six families have benefited from the amount of money the Ave Maria has sent:
One of them is an 8-year-old boy, Karim, whose family is extremely poor. This boy is suffering from an unknown disease that is eating his body, little by little. His flesh is filled with sores. He reminds me of Lazarus. You can see in the picture his foot filled with sores, as well as his face. He lost his arms. A friend took a picture for me and the boy. I had stomach ache when I saw him. Karim is able to understand, to talk, but he cannot walk. He cannot sleep as well. His mother takes care of him. This boy cannot be left alone. I gave his mother 100,000 LBP worth 66 US$. It seems a little money, but in fact it is worth 20 pizzas here in Lebanon (20 pizzas cost 300 $ in the US). The minimum wage here is 300,000 LBP, so 100,000 LBP is 32% of the minimum wage here. Again, I thank you and encourage other people to help the poor (to adopt children if you can).
The Season of Great Lent is a time to fast in order to be able to regain our vision which has been distorted by our disordinate desires, personal sins, bad habits, etc… It is a time to regain sight: to see the face of our Lord and the needs of our neighbors. It is like a trip on a boat from one side to another side, from old life to new life, from death to life, from dark to light.
On Ash Monday, the Maronites in Lebanon and the whole world gathered at churches and received the sign of the cross with ashes on their front. When the priest makes the sign of the cross on your front, he says, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return”.
Orig. published February 2006
After a long meeting with 5 priests, I took a ride up to the mountains.
This place is just 20 minutes away from the Mediterranean Sea.
I have a T-Shirt with the picture of Greg.
Greg, my bestfriend from Cadillac-MI, sent me his picture when he was a child. Now, he has 4 kids.
I assure you that I have all the pictures of all the good people I met in the US. They are here in my heart.
Orig. published February 2006
Today, I woke up seeing the whole town white. The bricks of all houses were white because of the snow. It is very cold. I had to drive on the road at 6:45 am to say Mass for the nuns. After Mass, I took a ride under the snow. That reminds me of Michigan. I miss MI. Then the road got slippery, so I went back to the monastery.
At 10:00 am, I welcomed the body of a 6 month-old child. He was like an Read the rest of this entry »
On Friday February 10, 2006, I came to a non-Christian town. I entered a house where 10 non-Christians gathered together to hear the Good News: The father and the mother + 2 children- Another man with his wife + 2 children – and two guests.
A little boy asked me saying, “Tell me about Jesus”. I began to evangelize. Little by little, the 14-year-old girl said, “How beautiful Jesus is.” I gave them copies of the Bible. We read from John chapter 4. I talked about the Samaritan woman. They asked many questions. The little children opened up their hearts talking about their nightmares, fears, and struggles. I had to offer them Jesus who can set them free. After 3 hours of discussion, they invited me to eat dinner with them. I ate with them. After dinner, I blessed their house, gave them holy water and left their town. I drove at night back to the parish, the snow at both sides of the road, I had to drive carefully. Suddenly, I had to push the brakes thinking I was going to hit someone, a being, but it was not a person. It seemed to me like a ghost. That was scary. But I knew I would be under attack because of evangelization.
Today, I called these 10 thirsty non-Christians. They said I should come and tell them more about Jesus. I think soon they will accept the Lord and receive Baptism.
Praise to God. The harvest here is so big.
Orig. published: Feb 2006
Renewing vows on the feast of St. Antonius
It was on January 17, the feast of St. Anthony of the Desert, when we (the members of my Maronite Order) renewed our vows.
Ohh. I am a big sinner. I think this ceremony should be cancelled. Who can be faithful? Only God is. We are all a bunch of sinners. Though we are loved by God.
I am in the back holding a sheet of paper. after prayer, we had a really good lunch. Mmmmm.
We have found the Messiah (John 1:35-42)
Despite the noise of politics, the financial preoccupation, the anxiety over the future, the fear of terrorism, let us retire today to meet the Lord Jesus in this passage of the Gospel of John. We may find here a light of hope in the midst of darkness:
1- Jesus walks by:
Jesus passes by our lives. He sees the things that are going on in our lives, nation, world. But this time, he walks by knocking at each one’s door, holding with him a promise: A promise of Peace, Glory, the Holy Spirit. If you hear his voice do not harden your hearts.
2- “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”:
This is the voice of a Christian who discovered the Mystery of Jesus Christ. Read the rest of this entry »
The weapons of our battle
Saint Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians that the weapons of our battle are not of flesh but of spirit. We do not force people to believe in Christ. We do not blow up ourselves in order to expand our religion. We do not fight evil with bombs and explosions. I do not force my parishioners to welcome Christ in their hearts. The weapons of our battle are spiritual. These weapons are enormously powerful, capable of 4 things:
1- destroying fortresses (strongholds);
2- destroying erroneous thoughts (arguments);
3- destroying every pretension raising itself against the knowledge of God (proud);
4- taking every thought captive in obedience to Christ.
That was the mission of John the Baptist: calling everyone to repentance so that everyone might understand the message of Christ. Without repentance we can never understand the will of God in our lives. John the Baptist was preparing the way for Christ in destroying fortresses, erroneous thoughts, Read the rest of this entry »
White Christmas in Lebanon
We had white Christmas in Lebanon. That’s where I live. It snowed on December 24 but it didn’t stick. The snow in the picture is just 20 minutes away from where I live.
We had 6 Masses in the parish. We heard hundreds of confessions. The bells ring everywhere. There were even some non-Christians attending Mass. One of them asked me to bless him with the chalice (with the Blessed Sacrament).
The Birth of the Savior & the Birth of our Independence
Christ has been born in the world. The Light has come. The Truth has been revealed. Life came to us. The Word became flesh. Salvation has been born. Freedom has begun.
Christ the Savior was born in the world and no power has been able to stop God’s plan of Salvation. No one has been able to stop the encounter Read the rest of this entry »
The Miracle of the WORD
2000 years ago, God has said His WORD. He said everything He wanted to say in Jesus Christ. He sent His only Son to the world, to save the world. He showed us the power of the Word, the need for the Word (for salvation), and the way everything can be fulfilled through the Word to overcome evil. Do I believe in the power of my word? Do I know how much my word is needed in my community? Where can my word be fulfilled overcoming evil?
The power of the word:
The word has the power to destroy or to build: The word “I hate you” is totally different from the word “I love you”. Each word has a different effect on the person who hears it.
The word has the power to create a certain atmosphere: Swearing at home can create a very tense atmosphere in the family. Speaking calmly can create a peaceful atmosphere at home.
The word has the power to transform those who receive it: Your word can transform despair into hope, desolation into consolation, slavery into freedom, darkness into light, sickness into healing. The centurion asked Jesus to “only say the word and he shall be healed.”
The word has the power to destroy evil: Pope John Paul II has never used weapons to overcome the evil of communism. Rather, he used his word. With his word, he liberated Poland and the Soviet Union collapsed.
The Maronite Patriarch has never used weapons to overcome the evil of the Syrian regime. Rather, he used his word. With his word, he liberated Read the rest of this entry »
REVELATION TO JOSEPH
This Sunday is the Revelation to Joseph Sunday. The truth is revealed to Joseph after doubts concerning his beloved Mary. Joseph was in front of a great Mystery (the Virgin is with child) and a great vocation (to become a father of the Son of the Father in Heaven).
We learn 7 things from Joseph:
1- The Righteous man: Joseph was a righteous man, committed to God’s commandments. He had no fear or shame of his commitment. Joseph is an example to every man: Do not be afraid to be a man of prayer, in union with God, surrendered completely to God’s Will, avoiding evil and doing good.
2- The pure love: Joseph had a pure & honest love towards Mary. His love was not controlling. He respected her. A controlling love leads to despair, illusion, envy, and in some cases to crime. There are many people in this world who are stuck on the road because of their controlling love. They love the other for selfish reasons.
3- No exposure to the public: Joseph did not want to expose Mary to public disgrace. It was very easy to Joseph to bring his fiance to the priests where she would be condemned to death. When our partner, our wife, our husband, our girlfriend, our boyfriend, our neighbor, our brother, etc… relapses or fails, sometimes we are too quick to judge. We emphasize his/her sin and we make his/her story the discussion of the day. The Church teaches that talebearing destroys our neighbor’s honor. It is a sin against justice & charity.
4- He planned to dismiss her quietly: Joseph did not surrender to the feeling of being betrayed or to the love of vengeance.
5- The openness & listening to God’s revelation: Joseph was opened to God’s explanation of what was going on. He listened to what the Angel told him in the dream. With his openness, Joseph understood the Mystery of the Virgin and his Vocation.
6- No suspicions: When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him. Love believes everything.
7- Welcoming Mary & Jesus: The Angel said to Joseph, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to your house.” Joseph welcomed Mary & Jesus in his house. That’s what we can learn from Joseph, to take Mary & Jesus to our hearts, family, life.
A reading from St. Ephrem the Syrian:
Joseph had loved the Son as a child and he served him as a god. He rejoiced in him as he rejoices in the Good One and he feared him as a righteous. How amazing?
Joseph says, “Who gives me this grace that the Son of the almighty be my son. I suspected your mother and planned to dismiss her. I did not know that in her womb was hidden a great treasure that enriched my poverty.
David the King was from my kin and he wore the crown. But I , myself, had been humiliated becoming a carpenter instead of a king. But the crown had been given back to me for I hold the Lord of Lords in my hands.
The Birth of John is Good News
THE BIRTH OF JOHN (Luke 1:57-66)
I- When John the Baptist was born, Elizabeth & Zechariah, the neighbors & relatives experienced 3 things:
1- God’s great mercy: For the neighbors & relatives, God’s mercy was great because He blessed the barren woman with a child in her old age. The mercy of God was great for this family.
For Elizabeth & Zechariah, God’s mercy was great not only to their family but also to the whole world, because God’s Promise was fulfilled and the Messiah was close to come.
2- Joy: The neighbors & relatives shared Elizabeth’s joy because she bore a son.
Elizabeth & Zechariah’s joy was greater, especially in the Presence of Mary, whose presence reminded them that the birth of John was a clear sign of the coming of the Messiah.
Read the rest of this entry »
The Word of God in practice
Yesterday, I put into practice the Word of God, the story of Mary’s journey to a town in Judea.
I am convinced that this new experience was the work of the Holy Spirit.
On November 30, I decided to go with another monk to a remote village, in the North. It is a big Christian town. I drove 110 miles. Here, it is like traveling through 5 States. It is like going from Michigan to Alabama, because the country is divided into cultures and sects: We went through the Druze region (state), the Sunni region, the Maronite, the Orthodox, the Sunni again, then the Maronite.
I told my friend not to bring with him food and if someone welcomes us we should stay with him/her. We arrived at noon.
We went imediately to the priest’s house as Mary did. (She entered Zechariah’s house, the priest’s house).
We talked to him. We told him about our vision: A camp for Mission.
He was very open. I went with my Christian friend to downtown. We met a different priest. He insisted to go and visit him. That’s what we wanted to do. We entered his house. His wife was there. We revealed to him our vision. He was very glad. We set up a time for our camp. It will be in July 2006.
His wife prepared a good meal. We had lunch with them. Then, the priest cried in a loud voice: “My house is Blessed.”
I remembered what Elizabeth said to Mary and what the Bible said when the Ark of the covenant stayed for 3 months in Obed’s house.
We were like Mary bringing Jesus to the priest’s house.
We left this town after we had put up a plan for the summer.
posted by Fr. Antonio
My Visitation to this world: My Mission
“Blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:45).
Blessed are you, if you believein God’s promise to you,in His promise to lead you to Holiness, Freedom, Love,in the Mission for which He is preparing you.
Blessed are you if you believed, followed Christ, and remained faithful despite difficulties, doubts, and temptations.Blessed are you if you take advantage of a little moment in which you felt the Presence of God and you followed up this relationship to God with Faith that He would fulfill His Will Read the rest of this entry »
The Announcement to the Virgin Mary
After the Announcement to Zechariah, Elizabeth conceived and she kept to herself for five months.On the sixth month, we have a new announcement, this time to the virgin Mary who would become the mother of God.
What do we learn from the Announcement passage (Luke 1:26-38)?
I would like to meditate on 4 things:
1- We have good news: The angel said to Mary: “Rejoice”. Wow. This is good news. “You will conceive and bear a son, Jesus.”When I go to Mass, I Read the rest of this entry »
To All Friends: Map Yourself
Not only to Maronites but also to my friends: Map yourself. Go to this link: http://www.frappr.com/maronitefamily
It’s easy and simple. Just click on “Subscribe to Map”.
The Announcement to Zechariah
After sin entered the world, the relationship between God & Man was broken. Man began to run from himself. He became afraid, unable to see or comprehend his Creator. He would blame God for his misery, his problems, and the evil in the world.
God did not leave humanity alone. He began to reveal Himself gradually. The story began with a promise to Abraham: “Leave your country, your kindred and your father’s house for a country which I shall show you; and I shall make you a great nation… and all clans on earth will bless themselves by you.” (Genesis 12:1-3). Read the rest of this entry »
The Christians of Chouf
In 1983, 63 Christian villages were partially or completely destroyed in the chouf region. All people found themselves refugees. 10 years later, they began their way back to their lands. Very few came back. It is a mission to confirm these Christians and help them stay in the land of their ancestors. Watch
American group in Lebanon
During Mass, I was surprised to see 30 American students present in the church. I felt I was in Michigan. Most of them were Non-Catholics. I gave my homily in Lebanese, then I switched to English. Later after Mass, people told the mass was heard in the town (big speakers). I didn’t notice that.
Mary & St. Sharbel in the midst of a spiritual battle
The evil hand that has been controlling Lebanon for almost 30 years tried to assassinate many leaders or journalists who spoke out against terror.
It is the war between the “beast” & the children of God.
In the 80’s, Camille Chamoun, a former Maronite President, survived after an assassination attempt with a car bomb. After the incident, Camille Chamoun took a picture of Our Lady of the Hill out of his pocket saying to the media: “It is mary who saved me.”
On October 1, 2004, Marwan Hamade, a Druze Deputee, survived after an assassination attempt with a powerful car bomb. after the incident, he took a medal out of his pocket saying to the media: “This miraculous medal of Our Lady (Catherine De Laboure) saved me.”
On July 12, 2005, Elias El-Murr, an Orthodox Defense Minister, survived Read the rest of this entry »
persecution & mission
Deir El Kamar has a long history of persecution. It is the biggest Christian town in a non-Christian region. In 1860, all of its inhabitants were massacred. Back then, the conflict was incited by the Ottomans (turks). In 1983, 64 villages were completely destroyed. Many people were killed. The rest of the inhabitants of these villages took refuge in Deir El Kamar. Deir El Kamar was spared after 100 days of siege.
Now, there is peace. Christians & Non-Christians have been reconciled with one another.
Read the rest of this entry »
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit, and from heaven direct on man the rays of your light. Come, Father of the poor, Come, Giver of God?s gifts, Come, Light of men?s hearts, Kindly Paraclete, In your gracious visits to man?s soul, you bring relief and consolation, it is weary with toil, you bring it ease. In the heat of temptation, your grace cools it; if sorrowful, your words console it. Light most blessed, shine on the hearts of your faithful, even into their darkest corners; for without your help there is nothing good in man, and nothing is innocent. Wash clean the injured soul. Soften the hard of heart, warm the cold of heart, and direct the wayward. Grant the seven holy gifts to your faithful, for their trust is in you. Grant reward for their virtues; grant them death that ensures salvation; grant them everlasting bliss. Amen.
Fr. Antonio Feghali
Notre Dame of Louaize
P.O. Box 31
My Phone number:
There are 7 hours in difference between the US & Lebanon:
If it is 8:00 am in the US, it will be 3:00 pm in Lebanon
If it is 5:00 pm in the US, it will be midnight in Lebanon.
Please don’t call me after 4:30 pm in the US.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Here in Lebanon
I just came to Lebanon. I left the US on Sept 19 at 7:00 pm and arrived in Lebanon on the 20th at 7:00 pm local time.There are 7 hours of difference between the US & Leb. My family welcomed me. It is a party to my nephews and niece. Yesterday, Sept 21, I visited my General Superior, the new abbot. We talked about my new responsibility and … also what I had done in the US since 2001. Read the rest of this entry »
Father Antonio is a Maronite religious priest who is a co-author of the blog Spiritual Friendship. He is a good and holy priest who is making great effort to rebuild a church shrine in Lebanon.
To me the blog Spiritual Friendship has been very much like a fine restaurant that is a well kept secret. To read of the work he is done, and what he is doing – even in the day-to-day events – is to get a better feel for how Catholics in the Middle East live. It puts a human face and experience to what most of us think of as “on the other side of the world”.
His blog is, in my opinion, too well kept of a secret! I wish more people read about it – to do so is to see miracles unfold. With that in mind, he has agreed to cross-post here on TBC. I am going to begin to help him get old archived posts cross-posted here. In the course of a year, we will be going through almost three years of posts. I think it will be worth it.
Pray for his work, and – if possible – consider a donation.