Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Message: Eparchal Bishop Mikael Mouradian

In his Christmas Message, the Catholic Eparchal bishop of the Armenian Church in the United States and Canada, Mikael Mouradian, speaks of the "dreadful and heart wrenching events" that have tainted this year's Christmas for Americans and the terrible civil war of 'brothers killing brothers' in Syria. The following is the full text of his message: “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers, Reverend Sisters, Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ, Christmas is one of the oldest feasts celebrated in our Christian faith. Meanwhile, for all of us, it is an opportunity to practice various ethnic customs and religious traditions, such as exchanging best wishes and gifts, attending family dinners, taking pictures around the manger and the Christmas tree, and visiting relatives and loved ones… However, this year, the happy atmosphere of Christmas festivities is intermixed with dreadful and heart wrenching events. Recently, in the United States, people were shocked by the massacre of children of Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut, where twenty innocent children and six teachers were targeted by a brutal and despicable murderous crime. On the other hand, in the Middle East, especially in Syria, our compatriots, for two ongoing years now, have been suffering along with their neighbors in this terrible civil war of “brothers-killing-brothers”. The tragic end and severe consequences still remain uncertain. In order to be able to experience this Christmas more fruitfully than the previous ones, we have to adhere strongly and deeply to our Christian faith and values. “While keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2), let us accept Christ as the center of the universe and of all time. In order for this year’s Christmas to have a unique mark on each one of us, let us live and partake of Christmas in its entire Christian richness by following, in every way we can, the faith of the Virgin Mary, Our Heavenly Mother. Her cousin Elizabeth, mother of Saint John the Baptist, testified to Mary’s steadfast and magnificent example when she said “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:45) Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of the Year-of-Faith, in his apostolic letter Porta Fidei (Gate of Faith), commenting on the faith of the Mother of God, wrote: “By faith, Mary accepted the Angel’s word and believed the message that she was to become the Mother of God in the obedience of her devotion ... With the same faith, she followed the Lord in his preaching and remained with him all the way to Golgotha. By faith, Mary tasted the fruits of Jesus’ resurrection, and treasuring every memory in her heart, she passed them on to the Twelve assembled with her in the Upper Room to receive the Holy Spirit (Porta Fidei #13) My beloved in Christ, my wish-- as we all are members of Christ’s body, the Church-- is to welcome Christmas and live this ...Christmas season in the same unshakable faith of Mary. Let this miraculous Christmas be an opportunity to keep Christ in our hearts and meditate on the words of the Bible so our faith may be nurtured and strengthened. Thus our life will be renewed by returning to our Lord Jesus Christ, the world’s sole Savior. As the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, emphasizes, “Live in whole and perfect faith in Christ, proclaiming Him with deep conviction.” Let us express our faith by participating in our Armenian Rite and our religious traditions. This becomes specifically possible in the Holy Mass and Holy Communion, the source and the pinnacle of our Christian life. May all of us accomplish and witness our faith; consequently, beauty will reflect in our daily life. May the Blessings of the child Jesus descend on you all. I impart my heartfelt wishes upon you so you may live this Holy Christmas season with steadfast and firm faith for a New Year full of peace and joy. + Mikael Mouradian Eparch of Our Lady of Nareg In USA and Canada...

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