Patriarch Cardinal Sako from Rome to Christians: “hold on to your faith and homeland”
Media Center of the Chaldean Patriarchate
His Beatitude Patriarch Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, addressed the Iraqi Christians from the tomb of St. Peter in Rome:
My Beloved Sisters and Brothers,
In the midst of today’s society that mixes values, looking for money, control, and power, all what the Bible describe as “the spirit of the world”, I invite you all to read carefully and “in depth” your faith, in order to discover what Christ awaits from your daily life “to be guided by the Spirit” (Galatians 5: 16-25). The Bible defines our Lord with two words: “God is love” and invites us to live in love freely and joyfully, as Jesus’ disciples were doing. We must express this love with joy, simplicity, mercy and peace. This can be achieved when we live in harmony with ourselves and with each other, and when we are undivided, but rather equipped with awareness, patience and perseverance.
My beloved, I call upon you to keep your faith and joy even at the difficult circumstances, and not to allow anyone or anything to “steal” your treasure or to blow out your joy. Trust in God with full submission of yourself, your Church and your country, since He is your Father, and you are in His Holy Hands. This is your Christian vocation and your mission, so your life turns into grace, blessing and bear fruits abundantly.
On 22 June 2018, Pope Francis said, during his meeting with the 109th General Assembly of the R.O.A.C.O (Riunione Opere Aiuto Chiese Orientali) Organization for the Assistance of the Eastern Churches: “The Eastern Catholic Churches represents a living testimony for the apostolic descendants or roots?, and therefore they are called to rediscover their prophetic presence in the places where they are heading to as pilgrimage”. So, let us go forth towards faith, love, trust and hope”.
On this occasion, I invite all churches and Christian political parties to meet and dialogue in order to unite their stances according to Jesus’ teachings, and to hold on to their homeland and their Iraqi identity, because divisions are not appropriate for those who have the spirit of God.
A Special Word for the Chaldeans
Meditate on the greetings of Pope Francis, when he said: “I salute the Iraqi people, and embrace all the Chaldeans”. Salute il popolo iregano e bbraccio tutti I caldei. Be at the level of this heartfelt salutation addressed to you by Pope Francis. Similarly, when we visited Pope Benedict XVI, at his headquarters, He asked me: “How are the Chaldeans? I am praying daily for peace in Iraq”.
You are fortunate that the Church is concerned about you, so take care of yourselves, love each another and cooperate. Stop criticizing, and if there is sort of criticism, there are channels to convey your suggestions … I assure you that despite all the harsh conditions we experience, there are spots of light and signs of hope that we should recognize and work together to enlarge it.
Hold on to your faith and your Chaldean identity, but without fanaticism. Get out of the “regional” mentality, as it is enough to be sons of the civilization of Babylon and Assyria, to be Christians and Chaldeans, the descendants of Abraham, the Father of Faith.
Wake up and prove your love, unity and persistence in reviving your country and the Chaldeans, by deeds not by words. Also, support the Chaldean League morally, intellectually and financially to play its cultural, humanitarian and social role. Bear your historical and national responsibilities, and let the Church assume its other responsibilities.
Personally, I will spare no effort in serving you to the end. I embrace all of you and ask God to enlighten and protect you all.
I invite all Christians to meditate on St. Ephrem prayer: “O Lord, make the harmony between people to take place in our time, so that they may be truly one nation, gather your children around you to give thanks to your righteousness”. If all the sons of light were united, their brightness is enough to combat darkness.
His Eminence will address a letter to all Iraqis.