Letter From Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem

“One Must Put Into Effect the Four Pillars of Peace”

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JERUSALEM, DEC. 25, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is the letter that Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine, sent to the missionary agency AsiaNews on the occasion of Christmas.

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Christmas in the Holy Land is a continuously new experience: Each year we are pushed to deepen our faith and put it into practice.

To kneel down at the site of the Nativity is always a new experience. Here, God came down to be near to man in an act of love, a saving kind of love.

At Christmas God’s love stimulates us toward love of our fellow men, just as God became man because he loves us.

Christmas brings out the contrast between divine reason and that of man, especially when man causes others like him to suffer, be humiliated, and lose their lives. Christmas, on the other hand, is a celebration of life.

But it is useless to lose ourselves in complaining about and reporting such contradictions. One must put into effect, with greater effort and conviction, the four pillars of peace, as suggested by John XXIII in “Pacem in Terris”:

— truth: every war, every battle is prepared and based on lies;

— justice: the sacrosanct right to defend one’s rights goes hand in hand with accepting and recognizing the rights of others;

— love: love is a word absent in the language of diplomacy and politics; if every conflict is based on mutual hatred, love is a necessary path to restore peace;

— liberty: an oppressed individual or nation is filled with such thirst for revenge that peace is made difficult for generations to come.

To become peacemakers is not as simple as stating the above words. You have to live, breathe and preach these four pillars.

Christmas also gives us a sense of certainty from on high: Love is stronger that hatred, truth stronger than lies, justice stronger than violence and freedom more powerful than oppression. All this must be lived out and deeply believed and lovingly communicated by our words and actions.

In seeking peace for Jerusalem, I would like to recall what John Paul II cried forth during his Holy Land pilgrimage to Bethlehem in 2000: “Today, right from Manger Square, we loudly proclaim for all times, all places and all persons: ‘Fear not: may peace be with you!'”

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