The Minister General of the Order, Michael Perry OFM, has recently returned from visiting our friars and the people they serve in war-torn Syria. He recognizes the hope of the Resurrection and the power of the Spirit at work there among a faithful people.
“In the resurrection of Jesus, we receive the final confirmation that love and only love is the final victor, and the ultimate vocation to which we are called.
I witnessed this in the lives of our brothers and sisters living in Damascus, Aleppo, and Latakia in Syria these past days. In the midst of death and destruction on a cataclysmic scale, the Christians of Syria who have lost loved ones, homes, and livelihood refuse to submit to the temptation of abandoning God, their faith, and their commitment to pursue a path towards reconciliation and reconstruction.
We stand as believers and followers of Jesus giving witness to an alternative vision of life, an alternative way of living in this world, guided by the Spirit of God.
We recall that it is this same Spirit of God who is present at the moment of the creation of the world. This same Spirit is present in the events of the annunciation of the birth of the Messiah to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. It is the Spirit who accompanies Jesus throughout his life on earth, inspiring his preaching and teaching, his simple acts of kindness and love.
It is the Spirit who accompanies Jesus along the road to Golgotha, witnessing Jesus’ suffering and humiliating death on the cross. It is the Spirit of God who remains with Jesus through death and burial, demonstrating unwavering love for the only beloved Son who gives his live in love in order that the world might be reconciled to itself and to God. And it is the Spirit who raises the Son to life anew (Rom 8:11)
This Holy Spirit who was present in every moment in the life of Jesus, from life to death and to new life, is also present in our world today. The resurrection is the definitive sign of God’s fidelity to the Son, to each of us, and to all of creation.
We have need of this message today more than ever: God loves us, is walking with us, healing our wounds, calling us to live reconciled lives with all people, called to be messengers of love, mercy, and peace.”