May 16, 2008
Your Eminence, Cardinal Rigali;
Bishops Aboujaoude, Shaheen, Mansour, McFadden, Thomas, and Bura;
Monsignor Lischaa, Father Mouawad;
Beloved clergy, religious and laity;
Distinguished Civic and Ecumenical Leaders;
I want to thank all of you, especially your pastors, Monsignor Lischaa and Father Mouawad, as well as all who have made the Divine Liturgy and this Banquet such a graced moment for us. We are truly blessed to be able to share this time together and to dedicate ourselves once more to our beautiful Maronite Church and to our beloved Lebanon.
I know that you have been closely following the sad news that has come to us these days from Lebanon. At times, Lebanon’s problems seem insurmountable, yet there is always the loving hand of Our Lady of Lebanon guiding her people to a just compromise and true peace.
Pope Paul the Sixth often repeated the phrase: “If you want peace, work for justice.” Yes, if we want peace in this world we must work for what is just, what is true, what is noble, and consider treating our neighbors as we ourselves would want to be treated. This is what makes us good citizens of the place we live and what makes us true sons and daughters of the God who is Love.
Lebanon has lived dark days, but in the past it has lived even darker ones. It is our hope and prayer that a new day awaits Lebanon where all confessions and all Lebanon’s children live in that peace which is promised to those who work for justice. May Our Lady of Lebanon accompany us by her prayer.
Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir
(Reprinted with permission.)