With Ash Wednesday yesterday marking the start of Lent, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I has invited Muslims to join Christians in their Lenten fast, reported Fides.
In order to obtain “as soon as possible the gift of peace, stability and a dignified lifestyle for our country and for all the Middle East,” the patriarch wrote to his “Muslim brothers and sisters” urging them to join Christians in fasting for a few days during the Lenten season.
“The season of Lent,” the patriarch said in a statement, “is a propitious time for repentance, conversion and reconciliation, with self, with the Lord and with others.”
“Let us take this opportunity,” he added, “for prayer, reflection, discernment and examination of conscience, and to restore harmony considering that division is sinful.”
In addition, Patriarch Louis Raphael exhorted the faithful of the Chaldean Church and all Iraqis to “love the country, just as we love our mother and father,” and “to work to strengthen our unity in diversity, rather than pursue sectarianism.”
“Diversity itself is part of the plan of God,” he reaffirmed.