Here is a reflection written by Redemptorist Father Fadi Sotgiu Rahi on the suffering of Syria. It was written in the lead-up to Saturday’s feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.
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Here we are on the threshold of the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, in which our Lord Jesus Christ redeemed us and gave us salvation and eternal life.
The Cross of Christ was a condemnation but with His power and the help of God the Father and the strength of the Holy Spirit, he changed the condemnation into a grace and cancelled death giving life to the whole of humanity.
In the East the people are suffering and carrying the cross every day.
Today also the countries of the East are suffering and carrying their cross. The cross has always been something positive for some and negative for others. Jesus’ disciples were desperate seeing him walking on the via Crucis and on the cross.
The Apostles, the first martyrs, the Syrian Saints carried the cross in the footsteps of their Master Jesus Christ. The East itself, Christianity, is living today the cross of emigration, of war, of death, of devastation and the blood of its Syrian Christian martyrs, daily watering God’s field to cultivate a more profound faith in the next generations. The suffering of the Syrian people today is known by the whole world, while in Syria some fight by witnessing with their own martyrdom, others by denying their faith, still others by wearing the Muslim veil so that they can be saved from the terrorists. Abroad Syrians suffer for their relatives who stayed in Syria and because of the daily news that they learn from the mass media.
I remember very well the accounts of my grandfather on the greatness of the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross in Syria, especially in the city of Maalula, where last week crosses and churches were burnt by radical Muslims.
In the last weeks the whole world looks at Syria and prays for peace. However, unfortunately, the bombardments, the massacres in this country are justified by people who say they are with God, that they do what they do in the name of God.
God so loved the world that to be able to save it, He immolated His own Son. How can one kill a man who has been created in His image and likeness? Whoever organizes war or simply supports it is undoubtedly a person who has no dignity or conscience because he does not know God.
All of us are children of life because we have received life through the cross; we are children of God because we are free; we are friends of Jesus also in suffering. However, our faith notwithstanding, we are brothers in humanity and because of this we try to live in peace to be able to be ambassadors of peace and to say ENOUGH of WAR in Syria, in the Middle East and in the world.[Translation by ZENIT]